challenges, perspective

Sleepless Shit List

Do you ever have a sleepless night? I do. Sometimes I’m worrying about a kid. Sometimes I’m thinking about a deadline. Sometimes I’m mad. I could even be excited for an upcoming trip. Anxious for a doctor appointment. Any number of reasons.

Today’s reason was just the normal bullshit that built up over the week. Anger would be the feeling or distraction. Wrestling with my kids to find solutions. Planing ahead.

Thinking about rainy day scenarios. Covid blah. Sort of like playing a game of chess with yourself inside your brain. Sounds fun right? Not exactly.

If I don’t sleep good my workout sucks in the morning. If my workout doesn’t flow my morning usually blows. From there the day goes down hill. Add in the crazy of a normal day and everything magnifies.

I am sure there are people in worse situations and that’s why I hit the reset rainbow button in the morning. Training my mind to see the rainbows and sunshine in the day vs focusing on life’s blunders.

Some days this works better than others. Today I decided to make a shit list in my head. Hopefully to tire myself out. Ironically I fueled it. Like gasoline on a fire. Poof. The shit list went from in my head to paper to the white board.

Who is on it? What did they do? How does one get off it? Is it even possible to get off the shit list? So many questions. The point is I have a shit list currently. Funny how my sleepless night turned into a shit list.

I tried to soothe my mind as the weekend approached. I put the AirPods in for a cardio session at the gym. I eased the anger a bit it not enough. I spent time with a loved one. It took the edge off but not enough. I mowed acres of grass. The fresh cut smell of grass was soothing. I found an escape even if temporary.

I circled back to my environment and the shit list was still there. Each of the top three independently made selfish decisions yet again confirming their status on the shit list. How funny to be awake and realizing what I dreamed in my sleep was factual.

So crazy. The shit list remains. Those on it know. Now it’s up to them to get off it. But will they?

author moments

Fear or Courage

When you fear something. It’s easy to turn away. Walk away. Do nothing. When you fear something you don’t forge ahead. You fear the outcome. The fear of the outcome halts progress of any kind. An example may be I fear the dentist so I don’t really like to go go, let alone go back for say a filling.

When you have courage you turn towards something. You don’t walk away. You lean into something.  You don’t let an obstacle like fear get in your way. You courageously move forward. No matter where the path takes you. Back to the dentist example going to get my filling takes a lot of courage despite me not knowing the outcome.

For me I always follow my gut and often overcome fear. I stay true to myself. Nine out of ten times I lean in. I face issues head on without fear.  Then there is always that one time that stretches my comfort zone. That time when the fear monster takes hold and keeps me in fear mode. One out of ten times.

Why? Many times it has to do with others. My actions may impact others. Maybe the timing isn’t right. Maybe the conditions in the air make this and that more challenging. They are all excuses of sorts. Environmental conditions shouldn’t control my mind. Neither should the people who put negative thoughts or thoughts of fear in my mind.

As I age I start to get the bulllshit meter out. I have to call my own bullshit as well as others around me. Sometimes it’s family. Sometimes it’s friends. Sometimes a coworker. All bullshit is the same. Breathe in the bullshit. Exhale the bullshit.

Over the past few days I’ve held on to bullshit of others. Burdens. Biases. Bullshit. Anger. Ignorance. So much blah. All wrapped up in a pretty nuisance bow. Once my mind gets a chance to rest I see the light. I use my courage to push through the bullshit and finish ten for ten instead of nine out of ten. It took some extra time but I didn’t let fear win.

Our minds are powerful. We have to coach and re-coach our minds time and time again. That’s called growth. Today I grew  a little. 

awareness

Safe Place

There’s at least one every year.

It usually starts with a drop-in from the counselor. “We need a safe place for _______________. Is it ok if we have the library as her safe place?”

The answer is always yes. Of course.

The reasons are many. For some, it’s a desire to run away. In my years in the public education system, we’ve had a handful of students who cope with things by physically running out of the school. Sometimes they make it to the street, down the road, into the woods. As you might imagine, a student exiting the building is cause for everything and everyone to stop what they are doing until the student is found. After the student is located, there is a process that begins…protocols, safety measures, and so on. One part of the protocol is identifying safe places for those students to go when they feel that urge to escape. My library is pretty big and I have no problem leaving students alone. So the counselor brings that student in and shows them where they can go to be undisturbed.

We’ve had other students who try to harm themselves. Much like our students who need to escape, the library is a place they can go to be alone and decompress. I have worked on the art of watching these kids without putting them under a microscope. We all know adults to just need a time out, but don’t need to be overly isolated. I strive to be that safe place where a student can be just alone enough to gather themselves.

At times it is students who can’t be in the room for whatever is being taught. We have families who don’t want their students exposed to stories about magic. We have other families who don’t celebrate certain holidays. In that case, we are the place that students can come to avoid that content.

And then there are the students with health conditions. From seasonal allergies to epileptic seizures, I am the place where students go when being outside for recess isn’t a safe option. I try to give these little guys things to do while they are inside. I hurt at times for these kids, since being outside is so vital to health and such a fun part of the school day.

I guess I am in the margins. A catch-all for students who need a place to just be who they are for whatever reason. A welcoming spot for anyone who is a little different. Do you have a place like that? Or maybe it’s a person?

perspective

New Year, New Song

It’s back to school, which means back to work for me. Summer was gone in a flash.

Each member of our school leadership team was asked to choose a theme song for the year. We got some examples to spur our thinking.

Music is one of my love languages – not just love, it’s any emotion, really. The lyrics, the melody of a song can convey meaning I can’t seem to put into words. Playlists can transport me into different eras, remembrances, states of mind. Songs mean much.

So a theme song for the year was a big decision. I tried thinking about it and came up with some possibilities, but nothing seemed to fit. As a singer, it was all about the lyrics. I’d think of a song that had a great chorus, but then there would be some lyric about drinking or broken hearts or something else completely unrelated to school. In that case, it’s a no go.

What was the message I wanted to capture? Resilience. Flexibility. Hope. All things that speak to me in this transition time. In addition, I wanted something upbeat and catchy to keep the mood light.

And then it came to me. The theme song from the classic 70s sitcom, One Day at a Time. Upbeat, catchy, short, sweet, with all the right feelings.

Here are the lyrics:

This is it.
This is life, the one you get
So go and have a ball.

This is it.
Straight ahead and rest assured
You can’t be sure at all.

So while you’re here enjoy the view
Keep on doing what you do
So hold on tight we’ll muddle through
One day at a time.

So up on your feet.
Somewhere there’s music playing.
Don’t you worry none
We’ll just take it like it comes.

One day at a time, one day at a time.

Many of the people in that room didn’t even remember that sitcom, much less the song. So, a chance for them to learn something new.

Even in the very first week of planning, this year has already thrown us some curve balls. We’ve gone from masks are recommended to masks are required no matter who you are and if you’ve had a shot. I’ll admit my chest and shoulders slumped when I heard we were masking again, but I had already seen it coming and brought my laundered masks to work. Life goes on. It does.

We will get through it. We will have to help each other. We will have to approach each morning with a fresh perspective. We will do the best we can. If we trip and fall, it’s up on our feet and at it again. Somewhere there’s music playing…

One day at a time. One hundred and eighty five to go.

challenges

Going Solo

Sometimes going solo may seem scary but it’s the best way to grow. Stepping away from the comforts of what you know to see what you could be. 

An example could be stepping away from your job of 5 years to take a chance on a new start up company. There are many risks for leaving the security and stability of a long term job but the rewards could be well worth it. On the flip side if the company flopped, you had the experience. There is a value in just the experience! Everyone can easily start over again and again with the right attitude.

Another example could be leaving your friends behind on a sports team to try out a new team. Maybe the team travels to new cities. Maybe the team has better coaches. There are again risks to losing your seniority or spot on your current team but the chance to grow could be far bigger. If on the flip side things didn’t work out at the new team at least one would know they tried and again had a great experience. A fresh start could also happen again and again. Staying fresh is learning and has tremendous value.

Sometimes the path less traveled is scary. Fear is normal. However, if the path less traveled was easy everyone would take it! There is a lesson to learn about taking a risk. There is a lesson to learn about the experience and/or journey as well. There is also a lesson to staying in the status quo life and expecting change.

If I wanted to run a race, I would invite friends to join. I like people so it makes sense to go in a group. If schedules didn’t allow for friends to go, I would take the solo route. Why? I would need to learn to go solo. It might not be my favorite thing or most travelled path but it’s the one worth taking.

I wanted to attempt the race.

I signed up solo.

I had to travel solo.

I completed the race solo.

I rode the ferry home solo.

I conquered my fear solo.

I set a personal best solo.

I enjoyed the adventure solo.

I embraced it all solo.

In the above examples I am showcasing how going solo is an option. An adventure. A risk. A chance. Going solo is not for everyone. Going solo takes guts. Going solo means talking about just me. Party of one.

I’m very capable of being a solo girl but I also enjoy the group adventures. I however have learned many times going solo is a viable option. Many won’t ride solo for multiple reasons. It’s sad for me to see but I get it. My choice to lead solo when I need to is setting an example for others around me.

Maybe it’s one of my kids seeing me face my fears which shows them they can too. Maybe it’s a friend or colleague that will take their chance in life because they saw me go solo.

Going solo isn’t for the faint at heart. Going solo is about my growth. That statement alone may sound selfish but me being enough for me is what matters at the end of the end of each day.

My solo trip really isn’t just about the examples above. It’s really about me and life. I have to make solo decisions daily. Sometimes I’d like consensus but the solo route is best. Sometimes I’d like to blame others for outcomes but really I am solo in life. I make decisions to do or not do. I make my adventure or my journey what it is today, in the future and what it was in the past. 

I go solo each day like many but I take the solo route more than many each day. There is a subtle difference. You may have to reread this closing. Enjoy today solo.