I play this game all the time, but this new way takes it further. I think that I wanted to just appreciate the gains. I wanted to remember where I’ve come from. It’s so easy to get so entwined in the day-to-day. And I mean, it’s important to be present, but each present is connected by so many accomplishments and triumphs and it is also important to remember that we’ve done this, we’ve been there, and we can do it again.
This time twelve hours ago… I was rushing to get ready for a field trip to the Borderfield State Park with my students, mildly stressing about 15 permission slips I had not yet collected, and whether or not the details would all pan out. Why does everything feel brand new every single year? I would think, after all these years, I would relax into the things I know how to do, but I don’t.
This time last week… I was rushing to leave school, forgetting things, piling up bags underneath the charter bus, stressing to think “Should I have brought movies,” running back to grab them, and then settling down in my seat on the journey to HTH College Day. Peaceful, eating a sandwich, spilling dressing on my shirt but no one noticed or cared. Relaxing and enjoying the ride. I even took a nap.
This time one month ago… we had just finished our Spoken Word project, and then my best friend got married! And I got to be a witness (the Official Photographer witness), and it was a whirlwind of amazing, and strange, and wonderful.
This time last year… I was doing a family history project with my class. It didn’t go so well. PY and I were not living together. We were not engaged. Things were still tense between us. We started talking about moving in. I was sometimes frustrated that he didn’t give me enough attention, or seem to want to come to my house, like ever. I lived by myself in the attic home that felt like a tree house. I ate breakfast at my kitchen nook. I babysat Timmy on Tuesdays, Thursdays, and the weekends. I decided to start helping co-teach the Year 2 teacher leaders with S.
This time five years ago… It was my second year of teaching. We were doing the debate project. We had just started, I think. That year I was doing the PACT, so I remember getting the HTH videographer to come film one of my lessons about wind energy. I was in love with someone who didn’t love me back. I had just started my Stroke-A-Day painting with LB. I was living at the Howard house in North Park. I had just met PY and we started carpooling.
This time ten years ago… I was a Freshman in college. We had just finished a tournament, or maybe were about to go to one (weren’t we always?), and I had decided to leave PLNU and go to Mesa, and everyone just found out and it was super awkward. I was dating JKD, and everyone just found that out, too, and that was also super awkward. I was so far before all beginnings.
These have been busy times. I feel like in October, I overused my planner and scheduled something for every open space. By the middle of the month, I was exhausted. During the last week, I just took a week to return to neutral, and I discovered that my life is so much more involved this year than it was last year. I mean, I got married! We’re trying to figure all that out, and it’s complicated and new. Everything has to be negotiated. Eventually it won’t be so much work, but right now, every day, it’s a conversation. We’re not ready to just relax into rhythms, because we barely have any.
This year has been so tumultuous.
But in terms of crossing t’s and dotting i’s, I’m getting better. Such little mundane things that feel triumphant — like switching my car insurance so that Patrick can drive my car again, or making a phone call for a health insurance reimbursement check that got sent to the wrong address, keeping the dishes clean, inviting people over to share meals and conversation, finding deals at TJ Max and sometimes waking up and feeling OK.
I’d rather be here than a lot of places. I feel content, if a little frazzled. I think one can be content to be frazzled, actually.