Saturday, September 25, 2010

Finding Balance

Now before you think I am going to start whining, let me tell you: I love my life. It's a busy life filled with things that I have believe in and have willfully chosen. With that said, I will confess...this semester has me a bit overwhelmed.

First of all, I am spending a great deal of time on homework. That's not saying that I typically don't, it's just that school is something I am good at. I like it. I get it. I enjoy the process. After a certain period of time in a program though, you know most of the content, and are able to run with it. It comes easier.

Not this semester. This semester I have a class in Ethics, something that I would like to think I know and live by, but not something that I KNOW. I don't know the history of some of the philosophies and their creators, so I have to work a bit harder than normal. I am also taking a doctoral seminar in the Reading Department. Twenty years ago, I started my Masters degree in reading, but didn't finish it. We moved to Texas and I had two more children before returning to graduate school through a different path. So now I am in a classroom filled with teachers and former teachers who are getting their Ph.D. in reading, and I feel like a fish out of water. I have lots to say (surprise) but I often face this huge barrier of lexicon and pedagogy (see what I mean?). This week we discussed the canons of literature and how they fit in with TEKS (Texas Essential Knowledge and Skills...the points that need to be taught during the school year). See...I got nothing. I don't live in that world.

Anyhoo...the result is that I am working extra hard and trying to bring my A game...and then spending sleepless nights worrying that it isn't enough.

I am also grading for a new professor at TWU. As always, I want to do the best work I can to assist this professor, who I really like on a personal level. I am not going to go into politics here, but I am also appreciative of the opportunity and want to make sure I live up to everyone's expectations. I want to be above reproach, which is, I like to think, the way I live normally. But we all have good and bad weeks. I just feel that I can't have a bad one right now. This is a ball I cannot drop.

The honor and opportunity that I have to serve on the Newbery Committee is one that I am flattered to be "burdened" with. It is a lot of work, but let me tell you, I have found kindred spirits in my committee and have had a wonderful time getting to know this great group of people. The books I have read this year have made me laugh out loud, cry and hand them over to others saying, "You have to read this and let me know what you think." It has been a great year and I am sad, and anxious now that the real work of nominating is going to start next month. I love working at this heightened level of professionalism and know that I will end this year a changed person.

Oh...and then there is my regualar job. Let me tell you there is nothing regular about my current position. I love it, but it is challenging. Yes, I do storytime. I also am a central selector for picture books, board books, begining readers, graphic novel and other nonfiction sections (300s, 600s, and 700s) that the library system buys. Who knew spending money could be work? In addition to that I develope special events and programs for the Central Children's Department, serve on a Lean Six Sigma Green Belt Project, serve on the Library's Communication Team, work on the City of Irving's Big Read Program heading the committee that is rebranding the library, designing a new graphic and logo to use in our publicity. I bet you thought library work was boring, didn't you? Nope. I am never bored.

And then we come to home life. Madelaine has moved out and is doing really well. She is still in school and I think she has matured enough this past year to really get why school is important. She is at TCC (community college) this year, but will be transferring to UNT in the fall. She is working hard at work and school and doing the really hard work of becoming an adult. She pays her bills and has adopted a puppy. I am really proud of her. Freddy is giving me fits. He has a girlfriend and is in love. I can't even begin to tell you what this means. I am floored that my awkward son is already at "this" place. He is very smart but making stupid choices at school like not doing homework. Owen is doing well, we still have issues with homework and he recently challenged his band teacher. Teacher: Owen don't do that again or else. Owen: Or else what? Teacher: You don't want to know. What does Owen do? He does it. What did the teacher do? The FIRST time she moved his seat. The SECOND time she took his chair. When questioned Owen replied he really wanted to know what the "or else" was.

Where do these children come from?

In the mean time Fred is working 4pm to midnight. He heads to bed around 2 am and then gets up every morning at 6 so that he can drive the boys to school. This is incredibly disruptive to his sleep schedule and I worry about his health...but he states that it is the only time he gets to see the boys during the week. Sometimes that man really melts my heart.

Ah...the title of this blog. Back to the point.

I have had little time to workout so far this semester. For those of you who know me in real life, you know that I am not slim. I don't think that I will ever be the size 5 I once was back in the day. I am fine with that (I keep telling myself) but I like working out because I feel better when I do. I make better eating choices, I sleep better, I move better, I think better. I really do enjoy it. I love the aches you get the day after when your body seems to ask you: What the heck was THAT about? A couple of year ago, during a bad and dark time, I started going to yoga where the instructor said: Yoga can change your life if you let it. Well, I would love to let it. Sadly, I can only make one class week, but it is better than nothing.

I lapsed from my yoga for 2 months and recently returned.

I was shocked at how much I lost. Not in flexibility or strength, but in balance.

And there my friends, is the metaphor.

We are all busy and life cycles through times when the pace is so frantic that you don't even look up from your next assignment, much less take tree pose. But when you stop and do, you might say, as I did, "Why don't I do this more?"

I love my life but I need to remember that it is ultimately my life. My decisions. And it is my job to find balance.

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