I can see why some people have a hard time wrapping themselves around the idea of retirement. I’m three school days away from summer break and my calendar goes from slammed to empty all in one day. Frankly,(while I get excited about it) it also kind of freaks me out. Last night, I threw a great party for a friend of mine and had another one at school for my graduates yesterday. I’ve been scrambling about writing end of the year plans, cleaning my classroom, doing grades, etc.. Adrenaline is constantly coursing through my veins. My new Apple watch regularly interrupts my busyness to tell me to breath.
When I’m at work, I often think about just wanting more time to myself and how I wish I could stay home more and enjoy my house. But now I’m here, and I don’t know how to be still. The party is over and I’ve been moving about non-stop cleaning, washing, putting things away, and everywhere I go (garage, bedroom, backyard) I get distracted by another thing to do. Now I’m ready for a rest, for fun, and I have time. The deal is, I haven’t trained myself very well to slow down. I use to wake up every morning and stretch out across the sofa, cup of coffee in hand and look out over the mountains and the valley. I wasn’t there long, but it was a pause. But now from the time the alarm goes off at 6:00am until I stop myself around 9 or 10pm, I’m full speed.
So now this 2 month break is days away and I need it. It’s been the hardest year of my life. And I want it. My fear is that I will fill it with things like cleaning the garage, or television. That somehow it will pass and I will have missed it. I don’t want to miss it. My plan for making sure I don’t is to schedule and fill my calendar again, but with different kinds of activities than during the school year. I have friends I want to hang out with, stories to share, and books to read. I want to sit quietly and journal overlooking the ocean. I want to ride my bike, paddle board, and take vacations with my husband Doug and be present. That’s the thing. I want to be present…not just for summer, but for all of my days. For that to happen, I need to learn how to be still sometimes. I started meditating about a year ago. I love it, but when I need it most, I’m not very good at acting on it. I learned in a training this year the phrase, that “practice doesn’t make perfect,” but that “practice makes permanent.” So all the things I love, the things that help create meaning, peace, more joy and wellness in my life… summertime is practice time. Practice with the hope that when life’s demands start flying at me again, new habits will be ingrained and permanent. I’m not naive. I know stress and demands will resurface…but practicing the tools to manage them now is my best hope for building wellness as a lifetime habit.