This is the first moment since the school year began in August that I feel like I might be on top of things. For once I don’t feel as though I’m being pulled in more directions than I can handle at once. Multiple directions, yes, but perhaps I’m naturally flowing into them at appropriate times rather than being pulled and prodded and dragged to places I don’t want to go.
It’s been a while since I’ve had this feeling!
After nine years of teaching, you’d think this would have happened much earlier in the year and to be honest, it should have. About a month ago, sitting down to our first meal in Yunnan, China, I described this year as “the most stressful year since I first started teaching and was voluntold the job of yearbook advisor and was also a graduate student”.
I’m grateful for my friendships and support system; I’ve been leaning heavily.
Also significant is that I have a strong sense of purpose. I’m increasingly interested in how this sense of purpose guides what I do and makes it possible to keep doing what I see as the right thing, or the best thing under given conditions, despite challenges and resistance. On the other hand, I’ve also come to recognise that a sense of purpose is not something that can be taken away: This is important. And that’s where it ends.
Knowing that this is important to me, and letting it guide my attitude (this has been admittedly very tricky) and behaviours, has allowed me to cycle out the gate at the end of each day knowing that I have done the best I can because this is important. This matters.
Knowing that there are others like me doing the same has helped immensely, too. It has given me models to follow when my brain, tired of running and circling, desperately wants to let it all go.
I’ve lived in the world long enough to know that the sense of calm I’m experiencing now is a momentary lull. Something will come up and it will be followed by something else and then something else.
But I’m grateful for this moment of peace.
And sometimes, that’s enough.