Sunday Reflections

I have been struggling, again, with blogging regularly. Not from a lack of want but a lack of feeling what to post. Daily writing has been prolific and epiphanic, and it’s become impossible to nail down singular ideas that feel complete enough to be posted.

In taking time this Sunday morning to read a few posts of blogs I follow, I felt incredibly inspired by Pete at Beetley Pete and his Some Sunday Musings post this morning to write a similar reflection. Many, many thanks to Pete for his sharing, vulnerability, and simplicity.

Many of you know I teach middle school reading/ESL by day, and all my life I have been told that I must teach until retirement to be considered a good teacher. Over the last three weeks, I’ve concluded that I am not a good teacher because I do not want to give ten more years (or more, possibly) where my heart has never felt like it’s belonged, so I’ve developed a rough draft plan of sorts to be retired in the next five years. My plan includes talking to people who know what I need to do (my financial and retirement guys), people who know why I can’t continue (teaching colleagues, all of whom are close, personal friends as a bonus), people who love and support me as the human no matter what I do (my kids and my parents), and people who’ve always believed I was so much more a writer than I gave myself credit for (K.A, K.G., R-D-L-M, N.H., M., L., and many others I’m forgetting). This is not a light decision in any way but one where the fear of remaining the same is far more painful than the fear of changing and moving into the unknown. I’m bone-weary of the former. Wish me courage.

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In a similar (writing-related) vein, I went away last weekend to a state park where all I did was journal and hike. 9 miles and 43 pages later, I realized that the book I outlined back in July (ironically also at a state park, when a friend and I rented cabins for a writing retreat) is what I am still supposed to be working on now. It’s about 1/3 plotted and written, but as is the case with writing ideas and me, there are shiny things all over to look at and distract me. With NaNoWriMo coming up, I’m deciding if I want to try to use the (implied) pressure to get me on track, or if I can muster the discipline to do it my way. No matter what I choose, I know this must be done. It’s the book I’m meant to write. One of the books, anyway…lol.

The image on this page was from the July day after I brainstormed the outline of the book on my friend’s picnic table while he sat in his cabin working on his dissertation at Shawnee State Park (Ohio).

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I don’t like to buy big, new things unless I have to. When I moved into this house in 2018, the appliances were original to the house, which was built in 2002. The dishwasher was broken and the fridge didn’t freeze, so those had to be purchased. I put off the new stove because the one I have functioned acceptably, albeit with an internal oven thermostat that clicks like crazy and really isn’t calibrated well to the needs of the baker that I am. Last week, I made cookies for dessert for dinner with a guy I hoped to impress, and instead of perfect chocolate chip cookies after 13 minutes at 375, I pulled out burnt-edged melted dough balls. Luckily I had time to fix them, but it appears a new gas stove will be in my future. (He thought the cookie-bars were great, btw.) Do I choose one as the baker who needs quality (more expensive) or the teacher who may sell her house in the next five years and simply needs something functional? I hate making decisions.

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Three or four days a week, I stop at a local Metro Park to put in three or four miles walking before I come home from school. I’ve visited that park for almost 25 years, and this weekend took my first step in becoming a volunteer there. Finding myself as the student and not the teacher was refreshing. Sometimes we get so caught up in what we are and how we operate that the slightest turn opens up an entirely new world of perspective. I’m really looking forward to more perspective as I continue the process with orientation classes in my future. I don’t know how people who don’t immerse themselves in nature on a regular basis function. Truly.

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I am so glad the weather has finally decided to give up on summer. I hate heat. It makes me miserable, sweaty, cranky, and triggers my migraines. Will I miss the sunlight? You bet I will. I know my seasonal depression funk will sock me sometime in the last weeks of January and first week of February, but by mid-February, the sun will be coming up at a time when I notice, on the drive to school, so that will give me hope of spring. But I am more than thrilled with the prospect of long-sleeved tee shirts and maybe a fleece pullover from now until then. I only own one winter coat, and I don’t know where it is. My mother hates this, as evidenced by daily morning fights from ages 8-18 to get me to wear one on my walks to school. The most I will need at any time in these months to stay warm is a hoodie, maybe a long sleeved something, and my insulation. I wish the whole year had the sunlight of late June with the temperatures of late November. A girl can dream…

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Thanks again to Pete for the idea and inspiration.

It was a good week for me—how did yours go?

Beth

4 thoughts on “Sunday Reflections

  1. I appreciate the link to my blog, and I was very happy to have inspired you to want to write this today. I am just back from walking my dog Ollie in the bright, low autumn sunshine, and have a few photos to post later.
    Best wishes from England, Pete.

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    1. You’re so welcome, Pete. I enjoy your musings and I am thrilled Ollie got out for a walk. Looking forward to the photos!

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  2. I applaud your desire to follow your dream. I retired from teaching after 35 years. I waited until it was the right thing for me. I too, sought financial advice as well as planning.

    I love the idea of sunshine all year long without the horrible heat.

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    1. Thanks, Lauren. Bless you for having put in 35 years in the classroom. I admire those of you who made it further than I plan to–you’re a special bunch. And if you find a sunshine-without-the-heat location, I’m all ears!

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