Today was a wonderful day.
Don’t bother checking your calendar, it’s still Monday.
Today for the first time in a long time, I’m home being mom to a kid. I’m not trying to focus anyone’s attention on Math.
I’m not trying to keep an eye on a couple hundred students on a playground. I’m not planning tomorrow’s game, running errands for teachers, or struggling over how to word that end of year email I don’t want to send about the lunchroom.
I did dishes this morning. I cleaned a bathroom. I fixed lunch for two. I did some quiet reading. I daydreamed. I wrote some naughty stuff.
Today, I’m not busy.
I think a lot of people are confused about that bit, obsessed with busy, not happy.
The first thing that comes to my mind when I hear the word busy is my parents. I’ve never known busier people. They moved at a dead run from 5 am until they hit the showers at 945pm, lights out at 1030 pm right after the local news.
I hate being busy, certainly because my childhood was filled to the brim with it. Mom and dad made it very clear that everyone worked. If you sat down in the middle of the day during summer break, you better be sick or picking raspberries off the bottom branches. They were so proud of how busy they were. Still, it persists. My dad, who will be 77 this fall, made a four hour drive to come support my sister when her daughter died. The next day he drove back home, four hours, because he had a gardening class to teach. He has to keep busy. There’s always something else to be doing. And his maddening obsession seems to have infected the rest of the world.
People are so proud of the breakneck speed with which they attack a weekend. It seems that for many, the five o’clock whistle on Friday is now the starting gun for weekend marathons of sports, music, play dates, competitions, church, and yard work. Friday night, Saturday, and Sunday mornings speed by in a blur of busyness. At some point on Sunday afternoon they realize their weekend is over, and it’s time to report how wonderful it was on Facebook, then there’s the stacks of homework, the last of the laundry, milk for breakfast tomorrow…how are we already out of milk?
I bet every single Monday you hear about how busy the weekend was. When was the last time you heard, “I didn’t do a damn thing. It was fucking awesome.” Hearing it from me doesn’t count.
I face every Saturday morning with the same challenge in mind, can I make it through the next two days without feeling obligated to put on my bra. If the answer is yes, all the way till Monday morning, I’ve won.
A couple of months ago there were some changes made at work, and at the following Instructional Aide meeting the principal addressed what must have been heavy on his mind. He showed us a Ted talk. After we watched the video, he spoke briefly about changes coming in education. He said things like more work with less oversight, larger classes with less help, and more flexibility required in jobs. Then he said something I haven’t stopped thinking about. “If you are not passionate about your work here, come to me, ask me, I’ll help you get into that place, that position that you are passionate about. As our end of year interviews loom closer, be thinking about your job here and how you feel about it, because I’m going to ask you, and then I’m going to tell you what I think your answer should be.”
I sat there in the semi-darkness, in the silence, looking around the conference table, and thought to myself, “Is there really someone here for more than a paycheck?”
I understand that people think they have callings in life, and in work. I get that. But, still….hm. It got me thinking. What am I going to tell him at the end of the year? I love parts of my job. I love some of the people at my job. Am I passionate about this job? Do I get up every morning, chomping at the bit, to go do my job?
This job was me satisfying myself that my girls were in a safe environment, a good school. This job was a salve for my homeschooling hackles. This job reminded me how fun it was to have a regular paycheck. And for weeks and weeks I’ve been weighing that regular paycheck against, well, against days like today. My passion comes with a promise, an idea, an expectation, but not a regular paycheck, not yet.
Yesterday, I was reading, (another perk of passion) and came across this bit. “You are amazingly good at something you don’t even like. Imagine how good you’d be at something you love.”
And then there was today, and that yearning, that undeniable desire to finally be passionate, satisfied, engaged, writing, and happy, not busy.