This Thanksgiving break was truly medicinal. Seriously; I took on way too much the last two months and was at the end of my proverbial rope as classes came to a close a week ago Friday. I absolutely love my career teaching, but I have a tendency to think I can do it all, taking on more and more until I reach a point of no return. After that, stress and anxiety take control and I’m not much use to anyone. When will I learn?
Birmingham fall tableaux…
Having a week at home with Dan and the animals to look forward to has been what has kept me going through the past crazy weeks. I am so grateful for my sweet man and the peaceful life we’ve built together. There was plenty to do during the week ‘off’; leaves, leaves, and more leaves to pick up, a husband to help recover from surgery, a house to clean, a wonderful Thanksgiving feast to cook and enjoy, practicing for an upcoming performance, and some school work to tend to. Thanksgiving feast for two
We got to do our traditional post-Thanksgiving Christmas tree search at our friend R.D.’s tree lot, finding the perfect Douglas Fir for our home (with all of the requisite Christmas Vacation quips thrown in). I am so like my mother- Christmas is my favorite holiday, and I love getting into the spirit of the season, decorating and reminiscing. Lots of memories swirling around, but along with a few tears were many, many smiles.
I haven’t gotten everything on my ambitious to-do list done, but I think I achieved the main objective; to rest my body and my mind, recharging for the frantic remaining three weeks of the semester. I’m not saying that I’m stress-free and have reached a state of Zen, but I have definitely reduced my stress-level. Marley knows how to kick back…I need to hang with my dogs more often.
One blessed day of the break remains, a day already filled to the brim with plans; decorate the Christmas tree and the house, finish cleaning, bathe the dogs, practice, grade some papers, and check in with the office to make sure I’m ready for my 8am class Monday morning. I also hope to include some time to breathe in the experiences of the past week, to breathe in the quiet, to reflect on this week of celebrating gratitude.
Some dear friends and I joked recently about continually tripping over those lessons that the universe keeps putting in our way to learn. I am feeling those lessons nudging at me more and more; learning to set boundaries with my time and learning to set boundaries with others to protect myself and the life I have made that I love so much. I see growth in these areas, but I also see the holes in my defense mechanism. My soft heart (soft head?) often gets in the way of my good intentions of self care, and I too freely give my time and my energy to others. As my career duties ramp up, it will be crucial for me to stand up for myself and my boundaries.
It’s not at all that I can’t give of myself to others; that is something that brings me great joy. The issues are speaking up when I feel a boundary has been crossed and also carving out sufficient time away from the chaos to recharge my own batteries. Every experience is an opportunity to learn, and I keep feeling myself inching closer to another layer of self-revelation. I love that about life- there is always room to learn and grow, no matter our age…such a gift.