I got an email and phone call this morning from CBS evening news, peculiarly enough, and they were asking me if I'd be interested in being on the show tonight regarding the latest skin cancer research. At the time I didn't know what was going on, but it's great news! I really consider this a huge step that experts are finally printing conclusive evidence so people know just how dangerous tanning beds are! In case you haven't heard or read, you can see it here, but the article issues powerful warnings against tanning beds. Like serious warnings. Awesome! (Oprah voice)
Btw, did you recognize our little friend Paige from the Vans Warped Tour? If you don't recall you can re-read this post, where we were singing the praises of Paige and her people, Mole Mate, and the screening for skin cancer at the Warped Tour. Pretty small world, eh? (Btw, I ended up not being on the show because I've never used tanning beds.)
I've been doing a lot of tidying since my summer break started just 4 short weeks ago. I've cleaned out all the closet space that drives me crazy throughout the school year and done a thorough cleaning of the ware home, donated a ton of books and clothes and bags to Goodwill, and even took a load of boxes to school to do the same with my classroom. It feels good to sweep out all the dust bunnies and get stuff organized and dust free. My asthmatic boyfriend is especially a fan of this ritual.
You may be able to tell I've been tidying up a bit here, too, from the new look of the blog and the new sites I put up. I divided my commonly read blogs into 2 bits: the old schoolers that I still read almost everyday, and my new friends that I'm getting to know and love.
And yes, there are quite a few new person development sites I've added under the "Good Stuff to Check Out" section. This is just as much for me as it is for anybody else because, during this lovely little summer break, I've also been cleaning out my head. I realized that having quick and convenient access to these sites may help me keep focused and clear-headed about my goals for this year, and help me to keep the prize- living a functional and balanced life- in my eyes. This has been the best cleaning of all, and although I do this every summer, I think this year has been a real eye opener.
So much gets lost to me during work. I seem to lose sight of everything I want and need from a normal life for the sake of TAKS scores or essential science skills. I think we all know what the real problem is: I'm a teacher. Somehow because I work with the best kids on Earth (think Snapple for elementary schools), I somehow excuse myself from having any form of balance. At the lowest points, I get no sleep, work 15 hours a day, and eat crap food because I'm just trying to get by until high-stakes testing is over. Somehow I made up my mind that this is all ok. ...The hell?
Balance. That ever-illusive term which creates anxiety at the mere mention of it. Why? Because balance means having boundaries. Limits. And other words I learned in therapy.
What can I say? Balance has never been my strong suit. I have kinda always thrown myself into my job or warm-and-fuzzy projects that "make a difference." The thing is, my workaholism has started to affect other areas of my life, and it's time for a re-evaluation. My, Miss Melanoma, how very grown up of you. Oh, don't worry- I'm not that advanced yet, though flattered that you would assume so.
This was all brought on in full-on intervention style, courtesy of my loved ones.
And why not? I think it was way overdo for me to take an unflinchingly honest look at my lifestyle. I accept my job for it's craziness because I do work with kids, and I see it as a necessary evil that I just have to put up with for the sake of the kids.
But after 4 weeks of doing nothing but sleeping and rehabilitating myself from a punishing and grueling year, I still couldn't get myself to publish a blog post. My head was too muddled and cloudy to even consider the beginnings of sorting things out. I literally typed 7 pages of text before I even got to the beginnings of what I was trying to post here for you. All the rest was just the leftovers from exhaustion and confusion and stress. And that's when I realized why my friends had stepped in for an intervention: because I truly was unhealthy. I had let my job take over to the point where my quality of life was suffering.
Then I had one of those moments of clarity, when I thought about all the anger I've been carrying around about times when I needed people and they weren't there for me. All those hurt feelings I couldn't let go of because couldn't understand why this person or that person wasn't what I needed them to be. Hmm. Maybe the same reason I haven't been there for my peeps lately. Maybe because at times we are truly unable to be a good friend due to life's extenuating circumstances. And again I am humbled at my own in-competencies and critical judgments. The learning never ends!
I've got lots more to say but I think that I'll save it for the next post. Thanks to all of you who have been writing me and commenting and asking that I return to this blog. It is far from over between this blog and I. We had a brief falling out, and stopped talking for a while. She went through sort of a party phase and I become a hermit. But time heals all and I will always love her. And besides, I air all my life lessons here. Where else am I gonna get that?