Tuesday, February 1, 2011

Last day: Where I'm headed...

Tomorrow is the big day.  I've been out of work since November with back surgery (that went great) and complications from the surgery (that didn't go so great).  I haven't had the chance to teach a class since LAST SUMMER and still won't be able to get back into the classroom until the new term starts in late March...however, I am truly jubilant to get to go back to work.  I don't think people believe me when I say I truly love my job and my co-workers and the students.  I work hard to get to know everyone and to contribute to all campus activities--and that work reciprocates in a hundred smiles a day. 

I am a tough teacher.  I tell the students I am the iron fist with a velvet glove.  If you act like an adult who cares about your education...I'll be a pretzel for you.  If you act like a little kid, then I will use my "momma" tactics on you...which are not entirely pleasant (just ask my kids :D).  I make up for being tough by trying to be entertaining, funny and inspirational.  Sometimes it works, sometimes it doesn't--but, it works more that it doesn't...and I almost always have a good time myself delivering the material. 

It isn't just the teaching I love though--it is also the community that I am a part of--that I have helped build for four years and four months.  It is making sure students get the support they need.  It is contributing as a Manager to help our campus and company deliver on its promises in an efficient and academically challenging way.  It is helping older students learn how to use a computer.  It is helping younger students catch up what they didn't learn and should've learned in high school.  It is helping out in other departments and being with a team of people that I genuinely like and care about.  I think this is fairly rare in today's world and I am deeply grateful that I was hired those years ago...(thanks Rich & Khaled).

Now a quick word about what I am grateful for that has manifest in this time away from the job I love:
(Disclaimer:  I can't resist the use of bullet points here--so, just deal with it--the hubs wants back on the computer to complete his latest drawing)
  • time to read to my kids almost every day and spend more time with them than I have in years
  • naps when needed
  • time to write this blog and communicate with friends and family
  • time to do my physical therapy every day
  • time to read LOTS of really good books
  • time to watch all that stuff on the DVR that was waiting for me
  • time to be still and quiet
  • time to rediscover myself
  • HUGE thankfulness and love to my husband for taking all the domestic burdens for months on end
  • thankfulness to my Mother for hugging me when I needed huggin'
  • thanks to my Papa & Grandma for praying for me everyday (and leaving one prayer for me as a voicemail that I can keep) and everyone else who has prayed, sent well wishes, good thoughts, visits, presents, words of encouragement and lots of love in these trying months
  • the loss of over thirty pounds--I DO NOT RECOMMEND THIS AS A DIET METHOD.
  • Jenny's mixed CD's and general generosity
  • developing a filing system at home (OMG)
  • making a plan for the year, with doable goals for each month
  • convincing the kids to forgo our vacation and send my husband home to Ireland over the summer to see his family and his beloved country
  • a new appreciation for my body and what it can and cannot do--learning when to push and when to surrender
  • good benefits and support from my company and supervisors during my absence
  • rebooting the Brain Trust with Kari H. to teach Creative Writing again
Most of these things are about time...so what I have to figure out is how to be even better at work and find a a way to continue the above-mentioned activities with much less time available.  I think the only answer is less sleep.  I am an eight-hour-a-night kind of gal...always have been.  I wish I could "get by" with less and still have sufficient energy during the day.  So, if I'll sleep less, then I'll have to also tweak my diet to make sure I'm getting good intake during the day to keep the energy flowing.  I think I can do it.  Now, I don't mean that I can "do it all" (as the state of my car can attest) and am not interested in perfection and its snares.  What I am interested in is using myself as an experiment--trying things, expecting some successes and some failures and adjusting as necessary to bring more balance, health and love to my life.  Always up for the next challenge and adventure--bring it on! (How "W" ruined this phrase for me is another post....)

Thanks dear readers, as ever I am grateful for you too...

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