In my profession, I’ve found I have little free time, so I end up accumulating lengthy and involved to-do lists for when I have breaks. Some of these list items actually appease activities I’ve wished to engage in but have lacked time in which to do so, but most of these items tend to be what I deem as necessary responsibilities.
At the midpoint of my one week spring break I am realizing I forgot to write “relax” or “read a book” on my list, and if it isn’t on the list, it’s not likely to be attempted. Sure, I can write in one or both of those now, but if I do not get everything else checked off first I’ll feel guilty. Agh! I wish I could just lighten up a bit, but I forgot to write that on the list!
When did I become so anal-retentive? I guess I always had some tendencies, but they increased by the stress and taking over of my life by my career. Teaching is like getting on a horrible carnival ride that just spins until you feel like you’re going to vomit. Once in a while it slows or stops for a brief moment (holiday and summer breaks), but then the spinning and nausea again ensue. Every year teachers have more responsibilities and expectations heaped on us, and less time in which to take care of them. Seriously, I haven’t had a real planning period for the last two years, and my at-home workload absolutely reflects this. I think if not for the love of my classroom interactions and my students, I would have jumped from this ride already.
It reminds me of the time I was hanging out with some friends after the last day of tenth grade. We walked to the park in town and I climbed onto the spinning wheel. One of my friends thought it would be fun to keep me spinning at full speed for what felt like an eon (ok, so it was probably just a few minutes). By the time I stopped spinning and attempted to get off the wheel of terror, I couldn’t tell I was no longer spinning and he (my friend- and I used the term loosely after this) had to carry me for the rest of the afternoon. He’s just lucky I didn’t puke on him, and I really wanted to. I guess that’s the problem; I’m on a break, but I still feel overwhelmed, as if I’m still spinning.
People like to impart to me such wisdom as, “If you don’t do it now, it will still be there tomorrow,” as if that will relieve my stress and convince me it is then acceptable to just postpone said task. What this translates into for me is that the task will indeed still be there…and more will have been added to it. I’m just a realist.