The end of the school year is always busy for a teacher, and there was also a first birthday that had to be celebrated, and pictures to take and family to host. So I’ve fallen behind on the blog again, of course. I have accumulated dozens of links I want to post and comment on, there are at least 2 books I’ve been procrastinating reviewing. and the reviews I do post are getting suspiciously shorter (please tell me they were just so brilliant you didn’t notice).
Now it’s finally summer, and I have more free time than usual, but not as quite as much as I’d like. It may shock you, but a teacher’s summer is rarely the leisure-fest that you think it is. There is a year to recover from, a year to prepare for, and this year there’s required online professional development. And since I’m on the hook to pay for childcare already anyway, I decided to teach summer school (because, another thing you may not know is that while teachers do often get paychecks year-round, we’re considered 10-month employees, so the only reason we get paid in summer is because we get paid that much less during the school year). The school only had enough money to pay me for half days, so I do have the afternoons free. But with almost two weeks of summer over, I’ve been surprised at how little of my ‘extra’ time I’ve been able to translate into writing time. I wanted to reestablish my daily gym habit, for one thing, and then I had to make a crockpot dinner, and do laundry, and clear the cameras of photos for a trip home…
I hate how life gets away from you like this. I hate how meaningless things like laundry and dishes and grocery shopping get in the way of the things that matter in life, the things we want to accomplish and the people we want to be with. I hate how I get it in my head that I need this big gigantic chunk of free time in order to accomplish anything, and that becomes yet another block. And at some point the block becomes an excuse, a reason why it’s ok that I haven’t done this thing that I’ve always said was really important to me.
I want to participate in current dialogues and comment on things that happen and stuff others write before they’re old news. It feels ridiculous to post links to month-old articles and say, hey, I had some thoughts about this issue you forgot about last week. (But I think I’m going to have to do that ridiculous thing anyway because the alternative is never saying what I want to say, and I don’t want my lack of free time to silence me.) I want to do things like post on the blog on special dates, like my birthday and my son’s. It stresses me out to see those dates coming up and know I won’t be able to do anything for them, and I feel inadequate when I watch them go by without doing anything. Parenting a baby gives me the urge to record everything, and the rapid pace of his growth makes me feel like I’ve always just missed a milestone, just as the speed of his movements frustrates my attempts to photograph him.
I don’t know how to respond to this feeling, this problem, except by recommitting myself to catching up as much as I can and trying to be mindful of the way I use my time. I don’t want this blog to turn into a bunch of apologies for not being a better blog, and I don’t want my life to become a bunch of regrets and excuses. It’s important to stand up every once in a while and say, no, it’s not ok that these people and things that I’m supposed to value are not getting their due. I’ve always wanted to live my life in a deliberate, purposeful way, and I need to hold myself accountable when that’s not happening, and do my best to make a course correction.