The other day I was chatting with my neighbor and she was a little bit frazzled. She was trying to set up some holiday decorations in her yard, and she felt like she was “behind.” I reminded her that it was still November, but she wasn’t having it. She told me that she had a ton of things to get done before Christmas, so everything had to go according to plan, or it would all fall apart.
I felt badly for her. Here is was, not even December 1, and her plan was already coming apart at the seams. I asked if maybe there were some items on her list that weren’t as high priority, but she assured me that every single thing was critical. Yikes.
I leave that kind of high pressure stuff for my work life. There are things associated with work that I simply have no control over. The biggest one is testing. Another round is coming up soon, but I can’t worry about it. I teach my students the best way I know how, and hopefully they’ll do well on their tests. I can’t do more than my best, and I can’t do more for them than teach them and encourage them to do their best. The rest is up to them. Yes, part of my professional life rests in the hands of nine-year-olds. Do they feel like taking the test seriously or not? Did they get a good night’s sleep or not? Did they get yelled at on the way to school or not? Do they truly understand equivalent fractions or not? Did they read all the choices given or not? There are a lot of variables over which I have no control.
In terms of the home stuff, though, it’s up to me to decide what’s urgent or not. I had a lovely Thanksgiving dinner because that’s what we wanted to do. I put up lights because we agreed it would make our house look festive and welcoming. But I’m not going to make myself crazy over the holidays. No black Friday shopping for me, thanks anyway. In fact, I’m paring down my shopping considerably. I’d rather do things with my loved ones than spend money on stuff for them that they don’t really want or need.
And my “to do” list? Well, it’s not that long, but it’s been taking me a while to work through it. In fact I have two of them. One is the day to day stuff, like finish unpacking the final four boxes (from my move in July, yeah, I know) and one of them is the big stuff. That one’s on my bulletin board, and believe it or not I’ve been able to cross off a few items. I went to Hawaii, I got out of debt (aside from mortgage), and I switched schools. Oh, and the biggest item of all? I fell in love. Now that’s my kind of to do list.