When I was teaching elementary school, I lived by the clock. I still vividly remember my schedule. Up at 6:15 and showered. Kids up and ready for school. Breakfast. Out the door we all went. Spend the next 9-10 hours at school. A ten minute lunch break was all I usually had. Bathroom breaks were often non-existent. There were kids to help individually, emails to answer, parents to call, meetings to attend, oh, and I also needed to prepare and teach lesson plans. There was student work to correct. Then it was off to home, with a bag of additional correcting under my arm. One or two nights a week, depending on if I was taking college courses that semester, I stopped at the club and worked out for 2-3 hours, attending fitness classes and lifting weights. At home, Jeff would usually have supper ready, but one which I had planned out and probably started in the morning. It would be family time from supper until the kids went to bed, inserting homework time into that schedule. Since I was a teacher, Jeff thought the role of homework supervisor should lie on my shoulders, After the kids went to bed, I would pull out my bag of correcting, or my homework, if I was attending school, and work while watching television. By 10:30, it was time to finish my day. Weekends were filled with house work, yard work and more correcting and planning for the week at school.
I am exhausted just writing all this down!
When I retired, my biggest priority would be that I could go to the bathroom during the day and that I could eat a lunch in more time than ten minutes. Five years later, I am still working on the lunch goal.
There is a “problem” with filling our schedule so tightly. We forget to live in THIS moment. We are always thinking, “When I am done with this, I will move onto that.” We leave no room for spontaneity. We leave no room to just BE. Our lives go by so quickly, and we have to ask ourselves, “What was my life experience? Did I truly experience this life I was given?”
Today, I live a much different schedule. People often comment that I am so busy with teaching 15-16 classes a week. That is true, but I really arranged my schedule with pockets of time between classes so that I can just allow whatever comes to fill that time. I have nothing “determined” to get done during that time. So often times, I am just sitting in a chair looking outdoors, watching the ducks by the pond, or I go out and throw the ball for the dog. I might wander through my gardens and pick some weeds, or I may stop by a plant shop to either browse or buy. Sometimes I meet a friend for coffee, and every two weeks I get a massage.
When I catch myself planning the next part of my day, I stop and take a look at my surroundings I remind myself: Just this. I let nature take me back into the present time. My drives to and from classes are often peaceful, quiet drives with a window cracked and my eyes taking in the changes of the seasons, the birds in the air, the movement of the trees, the clouds in the sky.
I still haven’t learned how to eat my lunch any slower, but hey, I am undoing a twenty year habit…