As the new school year begins, I've been reflecting upon my first three years teaching and thinking about the year ahead. I love what I do. Teaching isn't just a punch-the-clock kind of job. It's a vocation - a calling. Still, it's difficult and at times, emotionally draining. My biggest frustration has been the lack of balance between my working life and my family life. This is true for most people. And if you're a stay-at-home parent, you are working too. For you, the balance may be tipped so far away from yourself that you almost start to forget who you are.
Here are some ideas I plan to put into practice this year.
1. Do whatever it takes to eliminate unnecessary stress from my life. I've already started this one and found childcare closer to home which will eliminate the double-back morning rush of last year.
2. Surround myself with positive, like-minded people. Avoid people who are always negative or volatile.
3. Make a little "me" time each day, even if it's just some quiet time reading the paper or having a cup of tea.
4. Try to get some daily exercise. A brisk walk clears the head.
5. Get more sleep.
6. Remember to take vitamins.
7. Laugh as much as possible throughout the day and never take myself too seriously.
8. Listen to music that makes me happy.
9. Take up a new craft.
10. Hugs and "I love yous" with family.
Well, I'll stop there with ten. Here's a song that makes me happy: Chan Chan. I heard this song in the lobby of the hotel we stayed at in Ottawa and I was transported to Havana, watching those rusty old American cars roll down the street.
Here's something else that's good. I've mentioned this show in the past, but I've got to mention it again, because my husband and I find it utterly inspiring: Build a New Life in the Country. Watch the promo below. Does it resonate?
Once again, it's been repeated many times over on BBC Canada and yet, if it's on, we can't help but sit down and watch it. Basically regular people like us decide they've had it with the daily grind of commuting, etc. and they rebuild an old home in the country. We saw one of our favourites recently. A couple turn three old connected houses in St. Ives into livable space. The man is an organic baker and the woman is an artist/set designer who created the interior designs for the rooms in what would become a B&B called The Organic Panda. The couple were so hard-working and cool. We've bookmarked The Organic Panda with the goal of making it there one day for a holiday. Look them up. I've had trouble finding some of the cooler episodes of Build a New Life on YouTube, but here's a clip from one show where an English couple rebuild in Spain. I'd like to see newer episodes, but I'm sad that George, the original host is gone.
Oh look, one from Jan, 2010. That's pretty recent. Oooh, I want to move to Canterbury.