Tea Instead of Vodka

What an amazing summer it has been. (And Winter & Spring… sorry for not writing more!) For teachers, summer is an essential reset time. Many end up doing plenty of lesson planning, curriculum research, and professional development sessions as well. I still have four weeks to get to all of that. 😉

I felt like I was really due for a break this summer. Last summer, the reality of making the mortgage on my own was starting to set in: I worked three jobs: curriculum writing for the district, tons of voice lessons, and was a section leader in a church choir. I still had a decent amount of down time, but it wasn’t ideal for summer break. Summer of 2015 I spent a lot of time questioning my career choice and almost quit teaching entirely, and my sweet dog Bartley got deathly ill over the Summer of 2014.

This summer has been about countless yoga sessions and dance classes, drinks with friends, a trip to Puerto Vallarta with the boyfriend and his family, bike rides, and so much cooking. There has been an over abundance of joy and relaxation, and I feel so incredibly lucky to have the space for all of the things I love. If you’ve been following me for a while, you know I’ve worked really hard to minimize the chaos and create space for joy.

The last few days, however, I’ve felt pretty down. I feel like there could be something big that I need to process, some huge ugly cry I need to have or something. Of course this is uncomfortable because I like being content. It’s lovely to be happy, but it isn’t really sustainable in my opinion, although many people think happiness is the goal. For me, contentment is the goal, and right now I don’t feel content. I feel restless, irritable, unmotivated, mildly depressed.

Several things could be the culprit: PMDD – it’s basically hardcore PMS and it’s SUCH a nuisance, but I can’t deny the reality of it – spending the weekend at a family reunion in which I had to see my mother who seems to have completely given up on life, and the fact that I’m still grieving the loss of my marriage. Or perhaps some combination of all three. I’ve also gained weight this summer and I’ve allowed my frustration with that to lead to negative thinking.

With depression, everything feels like it takes too much effort, and the end result won’t be worth it. I’ve never had a debilitating depressive episode, and I don’t even think what I’m experiencing qualifies as depression, it’s more of a depressed mood. But, the fact is for the last three days now, I haven’t had a desire to do anything. I’ve still done what I need to, but it has taken great effort, and the whole time my mind has been full of negative thoughts.

So, tonight I’m choosing hot peppermint tea over my more typical summer drink: ruby red vodka mixed with lime la croix – (so very refreshing!) I’m going to explore these various culprits, but also seek out connection with the people who love & support me – the boyfriend, my dearest cousin, my best friend, and of course the pup – and rely on my most dependable (& therapeutic!) companion: yoga.

There are things in life that I cannot control, like my mom’s current lifestyle and the way my dad chooses to deal with it. I can’t change the fact that my ex-husband hasn’t found the peace and success he deserves. All I want is for these people I care so much about to find their own way to contentment, but their journey is theirs and mine is mine. It’s hard to let go of what I can’t control, but it’s often so necessary. Above all, I want to remember that letting go doesn’t mean I don’t care, so I’ll let go of that guilt as well.

 

 

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Slipping Away

Summer is slipping away. To people who don’t teach, you’re probably thinking, “Oh don’t you complain about summer ending! At least you get a summer break – that’s a long lost memory to me.”

Yes, one of the only (non-emotional) perks to my job is the summer break. But no matter how hard I tried to explain to you just how essential the time off is, I don’t think you would understand. Please just try to believe me.

I can’t believe two weeks from today will be the night before I go back to work. Did I waste my break? No. But I did spend too much of it working (the month of June I did curriculum writing for the district), and too much of it deprived of me-time (Hungary) and to much of it worrying about my poor, perfect, sweet, sick dog. If given the chance to change the way I spent my summer break, would I? No. (Well, except for Bartley being sick. Of course I would change that.) It’s just unfortunate that these experiences ended up being so draining, and with no break in between.

So I want to play hard and work hard these next two weeks. There are things for school that, if left undone, I will torment myself over for the rest of the school year. But the opposite is true as well: Today I found myself making audible sighing noises by the pool, as I felt the breeze and sun on my skin, and couldn’t believe I’ve deprived myself of that amazing, rejuevenating, liberating feeling for so long.

I’ve been watching Bartley 24/7, practically, ever since we got back. In 10 days, he’s had 8 visits to 3 different veterinary clinics. Throughout it all, his health hasn’t improved, and in fact, it even worsened for a few days. We still don’t even have a diagnosis, although we have some best guesses. I think we’re finally reaching a turning point now that we decided to transfer him to an internist. The poor guy.  I was so proud of myself yesterday when I decided to let go of the veterinarian I’ve trusted for so long because I knew in my heart and mind that she wasn’t helping Bartley anymore.

Bartley is a fighter, and we will get through this, especially now that we have an expert fighting for him as well. He has already survived heart worms and distemper, not to mention the fact that he was rescued from a kill shelter the day he was to be euthanized, and then  was in foster care for a year and a half. The first four times I visited him, he wouldn’t let me pick him up. But he never barked at me – he walked right up to me and sniffed me, and his foster mom was astounded.

During the fifth visit to his foster home, I was walking him around the block, and a loud crash came from a construction site. Bartley tried to run away, and I instinctively scooped him up, and he collapsed into me. From that point on, he knew I was safety, I was his home.

So while working hard and playing hard and collecting points are goals of mine, at the moment, helping him get better is really all that’s on my mind.

A bit much, I know...

A bit much, I know…