I am in the middle of Thanksgiving break, a break that I needed more than I think I ever have before. I’m enjoying just being home, doing house and yard chores, practicing, and answering some of the never ending school email. I’ve also made time to teach a couple of students at home, as I’ve been away so much over the past few weeks. Nothing really feels like ‘work’ when done in the comfort of home.
Recently Dan told me about batteries as we were discussing cell phone life, that it wasn’t good for them to be continuously topped off, as they begin to not hold their charge very well with that treatment. I could relate; this entire semester has been about pushing myself to and past my limits, expecting a rare day doing chores at home to recharge myself. It hasn’t worked very well, that’s for sure. I feel like I’ve pushed myself past my limits this time, leaving me drained in every way.
Yesterday Dan and I attacked the leaves, unbelievably still coming down this late in November. I knew I’d be teaching at 4, so all day I was checking my watch to make sure I’d have plenty of time to hop in the shower and warm up before my student arrived.
Our AirBnB guests checked in early, wanting to enjoy the views and peace of the top deck, so I offered to go ahead and teach at my office (just two minutes down the hill), as clarinet is not the most peaceful of sounds by which to enjoy the top deck. I texted my student about the change, only to discover that all along she had thought we were talking about next week. Now, while I absolutely love teaching and enjoy my students, something inside of me jumped for joy at the thought that from that moment forward, the rest of the afternoon and evening were mine with zero pressure to do anything but be.
I took a hot, relaxing, shower, put on comfy yoga pants, a soft tee-shirt, and fuzzy socks. I turned on the outdoor speakers and put on relaxing tunes and then headed out to the patio and the cozy lounge chair with my eighty-pound ‘lap dog’, Marley. I felt my typically constant level of stress begin to melt just a little bit. I felt like I could take a deep breath for the first time in quite a while. It’s amazing what some peace and solitude can do for a person on the edge. I felt gratitude fill my heart for my home, my life.
Perhaps at fifty-six (fifty-seven in January) I am finally learning the importance of making time to recharge, to reflect, to regroup. How blessed I am to have a career that allows me a few days to breathe, to re-set. I love being busy and productive, but I have come to realize the importance of stepping back to reflect and heal. I am learning that there is no glory in pushing myself over the edge. It doesn’t make me better- it just wears me down to a place where I’m not able to produce my best.
I still have a few precious days left, time to breathe and be. I hope to return to school and my students on Monday feeling refreshed, energized, and ready for the craziness of the end of the semester. I am grateful to be doing what I love every day- even when what I love stresses me out. Life is all about learning and growing; it is also about appreciating and loving the messiness of a real life. And I do.