dare to be different

Mundane

The word mundane may be used more often during corona times than in the year before when people look at their lives.

Living in the confines of your home 24:7 for an extended period of time with limited access to other humans, socializing, touch and so much more. I’m sure many can relate.

However, there are some who live a mundane lifestyle year-round. They never bend or flex. They don’t seek change and they exist within the normalcy of their mundane life.

The perfectly manicured lawn. The impeccably made bed. The spotless sink. The routine. The regimen. The mundane life.

Is growth possible when all is predictable? Is it possible to chase perfection in the mundane lifestyle or will you wait forever to reach perfection?

If I view my life from a distance I’m more gypsy-driven compared to mundane. I’m eager to chase change. I love a messy bed or a more lived-in look. If I was to mow the lawn I wouldn’t follow the perfect pattern, rather I’d chart my own path. I’d opt for a paper plate and utensils to save dish clutter. I don’t travel in a gypsy pack but I enjoy the carefree lifestyle over rigid and mundane.

Work tasks on my mundane list are mostly accounting tasks or repetitive duties that require little or no independent thought. I could make widgets but I wouldn’t enjoy being a widget maker. I can post accounting transactions but for the love of God I could not be a full time accountant.

When I had time to sit back in corona and evaluate my own circumstances I looked at my Crossfit regimen. Definitely mundane from a schedule or routine perspective but I always defended the choice noting the constantly varied workouts of the day. But then I looked closer and Mondays were leg days, Tuesdays were chest and back and so on. I had to shake up my life and challenge myself.

Enter running. I’m not a runner by design. I’m a thick fit but I am opting for trail runs with switch backs and diversity a couple days a week. I’m opting to use my bike. A road bike some days and erg another. Body weight exercises at home some days and some strength activities in between. It’s not perfect but it’s me stretching. It’s me breaking the mundane cycle. I don’t think I’m alone here. I think many have shifted their workouts to take advantage of online training options and variety within their environment.

I may circle back in time but to be true to myself I need to evoke change. Even if minimal it’s required for me. Variety is my spice of life. When I glance at the last 10 years of life I can say I have been evolving. Mastering the chaos in my world. Charting my path toward my golden years with freedom and variety to not only reduce the mundane in my life but to seek pleasures that stimulate my mind.

Some people just can’t be overly routine. Take a partitioned Murph routine in Crossfit. 5 pull-ups, 10 push-ups and 15 squats for 20 rounds. Talk about a hamster wheel. Every time I try to partition that workout I have to change it up at the end. 15 pull-ups, 30 pushups and 45 squats. I just can’t mentally push through the redundancy of the same pattern for 20 rounds. This is crazy to me and a mundane task I will try to overcome in time but it’s a noticeable trait I have. Change is my normal. It feeds my soul.

We have one life to live. It’s important to live our best life while continuing to grow as individuals. Growth doesn’t happen inside your comfort zone. It happens when you test the water or temperature just outside of your proverbial box. This was my recent view when I opted to step outside.

I am not a word wizard by any means however word usage can be fascinating due to the depth of their usage. I write as a constant form of change and exploration of life. Thanks for coming along for my ride/journey.

As I wrapped up this post the mail came. In comes a what seemed like barrel full of affirmative words on a tiny postcard sent by a dear friend. I was born to be an original. I couldn’t have said it better myself. No copies allowed. No mundane for this girl.

 

Until next time.

perspective

Empty Shelves

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The end of the school year was very, very strange for this teacher librarian. We left school on a Thursday night.  I had just started a book fair.  We had a Family Bingo Night event going on.  In between the four corners and the blackout round, the school system announced we would be moving to digital learning. Tons of phones going off with the texted news.  Thankfully, we had been practicing for something like this…a snow day here and there.  No problem.

Never would I have imagined that we would go through 42 digital learning days before finally calling the school year over. Endless Zoom meetings, Google Meets, video lessons, double checking teacher pages, responding to student discussion posts. It was exhausting.  It was annoying. It was boring. It seemed it would never end. As of last week, we are finally done.

The school year is over, but I didn’t get the sweet satisfaction of celebrating with the kids.  No “high fives” with the little ones who had finally learned to read.  No “Thank you, Miss Dr. Friese” from the kiddos who loved finding their favorite book series.  No cheering kids on at field day.  No smiles and waves as the 5th graders walked their triumphant parade through the hallways on their last day, Pomp and Circumstance piped on loop through the intercom system. No final send off of the buses, waves and tears as we jump into summer.

Instead, we donned our masks and gloves and handed out their belongings and all the end of year “stuff” in large white plastic bags.  Pop the minivan trunk so we don’t risk touching.  Wave through the windows at the little ones we haven’t seen in months.  Many kids didn’t even come to pick their items up.

It is a dull, aching sadness I can’t really describe. An emptiness.  The main reason I came to work each day stopped coming to school. The kids.  The energy from their smiles, the goofy misbehavior, watching the kids grow, it all stopped. I loved seeing their videos in lessons and missed their personalities, but it wasn’t the same.  I wondered (and still do): are they ok? are they reading? do they have enough to eat? are they safe?

In a strange twist, my library was also scheduled for renovation this summer.  So in the middle of this slow-motion mess, I had to take the entire collection off the shelves and pack it away.  In some ways it was good, since I had more time to take care of it than if I were teaching up to the last day.  But the sight of the shelves, bare and dusty, just added to the sadness of it all.  Someone said it looked lonely in there.  Yes, more lonely than you know.

A school building without the kids is just a shell.  It has no soul, no life.

Summer break is ready to begin.  I will spend part of it putting the media center back together after the renovation is done.  I am hoping we go back to school on time, and I want to be sure the library is all ready for students from day one.  Budget cuts will bring new challenges for me.  But as long as the students come back, we will figure it out.  Sure, we made it through digital learning.  But a school without kids is lonely.  For teachers like me, there is just no substitute.

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