What Ovid said thousands of years ago really rings true to me today. I have to think about, plan, and prepare for relaxation. It doesn’t just happen for me. It takes work, but it’s worth it.
When we stop to relax, we realign ourselves. Suddenly we aren’t the passengers in our life anymore – we are in control of the car. We get to decide where we want to go in life, and we create new openings for things to happen.
Think of your life right now as a road trip. Are you jumping on the highway, car loaded down with everything you think you might possibly need? Do you have reservations for each leg of the journey, each night and every waking moment?
And then you get a flat tire. Or an engine that just quits. Maybe even a fender bender.
And then what? Road trip disrupted. Detour.
It’s the start of the school year. For most parents, that is something to look forward to – life gets a bit easier when the kids are out of the house, we’re not twisting our brains to come up with an exciting adventure for the day, and the nagging of teenagers who would rather sleep in than do their chores is a thing of the past.
For teacher parents, though, it’s a double edged sword. We don’t get to enjoy quiet moments anymore – when the kids are home, we’re rushing back from our classrooms, trying to get a fabulous meal prepared while simultaneously driving kids to sports, walking the dog (who is the most excited family member to see you), switching laundry, unloading the dishwasher and answering emails. Exhausting.
The way to survive, I’ve learned, is to plan some fun. Sometimes it’s something easy – taking an evening walk with a good friend or sharing a cup of coffee downtown. Laughter and snacks with a good glass of Sonoma biodynamic wine gives me something to look forward to after a long day of teaching middle school; if I’m lucky, I’ll squeeze a weekend trip to Sonoma, Sutter Creek, or Santa Cruz, even. I’ve been thrown by that ‘lack of AAA Roadside Life Service’ way too many times. I’m a natural born planner, I live by a schedule, and spend most of my day following a lesson plan – I can even tell you what the plans are for the entire week ahead. But that’s only at school.
I’m back on the treadmill. It’s not a bad workout – I kind of like it, actually. As long as I can train myself to stop once in awhile, jump off, get into the driver’s seat, and take off. Take a rest. No plans, just looking for a friend, some fun, and a great glass of wine.
brendaAugust 28, 2012
I think you have ‘the plan’ to go native down pat. I have been a long time believer in the concept of mini-breaks. Having something to look forward to is essential to my psyche. As you said, it can be a simple as coming home finishing up with the mom and wife chores, and then sitting down with a glass of wine to write. The trick as you say, is to be aware of your psyche’s needs. I find it helps to take my emotional pulse (best description I could come up with) at least once a week. I hope you have a good year.Reply
Jennifer WolfeAugust 30, 2012
Thank you so much, Brenda. Taking our emotional pulse is something we desperately need to do, but sometimes gets pushed behind all the other needs. I’m trying hard this year to keep it balanced (as I always do, sometimes with more success than others). And I’m looking forward to a nice weekend at the lake starting tomorrow! Quiet time to write, be with the family, and just be.