I wonder how many of my blogs start with….”I haven’t blogged in a long time”? Droll. I’ll spare you.
But since it’s been so long, let’s review. (This may also be viewed as a confession, at the end of which I expect to be absolved).
I had this idea that I was coming back to Qatar for a rest from the extremely busy summer. Yes, I told my family that I’d be looking for a job right away. What I meant by that was, I’d start the process of looking for a job right away. What I meant by that was that I’d lay by the pool for a little while and think about what I might like to do next. Then I would surf the internet looking for online editing jobs, job postings and how to make a million dollars without leaving your home and other nonsense like that.
THEN, I would get serious about job hunting. But by then it would be October so I would wait until after the Eid holiday (which is in 1.5 days, but who’s counting?). Then I would take my poolside-bronzed body out and seriously look for a job.
But since there is ‘no rest for the wicked’ as they say, I came back to an email requesting that I fill in at Dave’s school for a late-hire teacher who needed to get his paper work in order in the U.S. before joining us. It’ll be 2 weeks…maybe 3. Well, he’s arrived, and he’s taken over and I’m hanging around helping him and the class transition to his leadership. That’s right 2-3 weeks became eight. Most people saw this coming. The eternal optimist in me refused.
As it was with the lovely kindergarten class I was in last year, I have come away with many wonderful experiences and insights. I have come away mostly with the sobering reminder that teachers have a sacred trust to nurture and discipline and encourage and tease out the best in the human beings that will be the next generation. Mostly, the hope is that they/we won’t screw them up.
Yet again, I fell in love with the class and feel so lucky to have had this time with them. It’s been a very positive experience.
Yet again, I have seen wonderful examples of teachers who are bringing out the best in the kids.
Yet again, I have counted down to my final day with a mixture of relief and sadness.
And yet again, the end has been a mirage all along.
The school has asked me to stay on for the rest of the year assisting in other classrooms and with other duties.
I’m thankful for the job, don’t get me wrong, it couldn’t have turned out better.
I’m actually glad I didn’t know this in the summer. It would have added some stress. Funny how it’s all really in your head right?
My summer, although busy, was very well portioned out. Rest. Busy. Rest. Mad scramble. Quiet. A lot happened but there were breaks. If, during the breaks, I worried about the busy times to come it would have spoiled the restful times.
Dave and I have been trying to play positive mind games lately. How energetic would you feel tonight if you didn’t have to go to work tomorrow? How energetic would you feel this morning if you weren’t going to work?
How much better would you feel if you didn’t take on the cares of the whole week on the drive to work the first morning? And why do I wake up at 5 a.m. on the weekend and get up anticipating the day, but have to drag myself out of bed during the week?
Mental health is so interesting – and important.
Here are some keys for my mental health.
Live in the moment. I know, it’s overused but it makes a significant difference in my day to really notice the moment happening right now, the faces, the challenges, my breath, the sky and sun, the noises, the quiet, all of it. It’s hard to worry about later, about being tired, about not having enough energy, patience or time when I’m focused on the moment. Be here now.
Gratitude. For all of the things (and more) that I mentioned that can be noticed in a moment. Gratitude for the busyness and for the spaces. Gratitude that there’s enough of both. When you’re counting the things to be grateful for it’s hard to remember what’s lacking. Relax, there’s enough.
Love people. Everybody. What else am I here for, on this planet, in this moment, at this point in time, at this school, in this country, if not to be the embodiment of Love? To love even those who are difficult to love. It’s good for them but it’s also good for us. Love the ones who are overshadowed by those who are louder and demand attention. Love the loud attention seekers too. Love your enemies. They might be the only ones who will teach you hard truths about yourself. And love yourself. Be kind when you are weak and patient when you are stupid. Be forgiving and cut yourself and others some slack.
Be here now, with gratitude and love.