Hard Reset

In August, I started my 24th year in education. (I think my math is correct there.) It was the first time in nine years that I wasn’t in the classroom full time. August 20 was our official first day of school at Anastasis, and it felt a little odd not to have a classroom.

And now it’s December 3. My last blog post was from June. I feel like I’ve been slacking, but I really haven’t. I guess it takes about five months for me to adjust to a new role with new responsibilities. I’m hoping to do better and write at least once a month in this space.

My new role at Anastasis is exciting! I’m taking over the tech position in our school from Kelly Tenkely‘s many, many roles. I also continue to teach Music and will direct our annual theater production in the spring. And something I’m really excited for… I’m working with our Anastasis teachers on a regular basis! Part of that responsibility includes coaching, co-teaching, and teaching a mathematical exploration class (more on this in another post!)  in every classroom at least once a week. I loved having a professional development role in the past, and it will be so amazing to live in that world again!

Because Anastasis is not a traditional education model, our titles aren’t either. The written title on my business card has been “Inspiration Engineer.” I love that title. Even though my official title falls somewhere between instructional coach and administrative lead, those words don’t remind me of my mission every single day. Inspiration Engineer does.

As I gear up toward my 50th birthday this coming January, I’ve been doing a lot of reflecting on my physical, mental, and emotional well-being. A few years back, my oxygen ran out, and I had to rethink how I was living my life. I allowed my professional life to take over every aspect of myself, including the way I viewed who I was.

I recently listened to a podcast by Rob Bell (The RobCast – episode 204) where he talked about the concept of menuha. In Hebrew, menuha means “rest,” “ease”, or “tranquility.” I found myself nodding along numerous times as Bell talked about this concept of rest in a culture that glorifies busyness. As I was listening, I kept thinking back to the work ethic that was instilled in me – which isn’t a bad thing – but how there is very little room for rest. For slowing down. For intentionally taking the time to stop, reflect, and simply move more slowly.

My brain doesn’t like to slow down. I wake up, sometimes multiple times in the night, with a to-do list forming in my brain. I can’t fall asleep if I read before bed – too many thoughts spiraling. Thanks to some mind-numbing repeat television shows, I can bore myself to sleep most nights. Slowing down and providing my brain some rest is one thing I can do for myself.

If you do a search for people and their top five regrets late in life, working too much is right up there. For so many people, there’s never a choice about how much to work. Bills have to be paid. Your family needs to eat. Work isn’t an option… it’s a necessity. For me, I can say there is definitely a discrepancy between the amount of work I do versus what I really need to do to help provide for our basic needs.

So this year includes another “hard reset.” Re-focus. Re-prioritize. What can my health and my body realistically handle… and what leads me down a path of “too much?” Where is menuha prioritized in my life?

Stepping out of the classroom was a good first attempt. I’m also working only four days a week, instead of five. Fridays are now titled “Free-Wheeling Fridays” on my calendar… even if those Fridays are more about down time and rest than any actual free-wheeling.

Pikes Peak view

My view of Pikes Peak from home CC licensed photo Michelle K. Baldwin

Maybe because I’m edging up on a big birthday, or maybe with age comes more contemplative thought, I’ve just been thinking more… I don’t want to look back at my life and regret working too much. I want to be able to enjoy simple things. I want to be more present at home and with my husband. I want to enjoy our gorgeous view from home, sit and cuddle my dogs, do nothing else, and not feel guilty about doing nothing. <— When I can achieve zero guilt for sitting and doing nothing for a few hours, I will feel successful. I’m not there yet, but there’s hope.

So… that’s what I’ve been up to lately. How about you?

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