Lessons that never end

and really they don’t. Just when I think all is in order I get thrown on my ass again.

Last week’s day in a sentence (hosted by Illya‘s EVO Blogfolio) was actually a year in a sentence and it called for reflective sentences on the year that is about to end.

I left the call for sentences post open in my browser for a day or so. I’d stare at it, go away, stare at it again, go away again, until finally I typed:

Learning about what is important to me – lessons that never end!

Beaver Lodge

Beavers don't build a lodge and they are done. It's constant - always building, adding and taking away - and necessary for survival. This picture and the lodge making story was found on Mon@rch's Nature Blog. Click image for source.

It always seems to be this time of year when I lose my focus. It’s run run run all the time with teaching. teaching. teaching. This year in particular – my days are long. very long. I leave my house at around 6am and sometimes don’t return until 13 or so hours later. My dogs are loving this schedule (not) as am I (again, not). At this time of year that means that my down time is all in darkness. Yuck. (And I am getting tired of telling this story over again year after year.)

For the past few weeks I have been an elastic ball of exhaustion, ready to snap apart at any noise, annoyance, divergence from plans. Not a good quality to have when a) I work with teenagers, b) I have 2 dogs and a cat who need more attention than I am giving them, and c) I am experiencing my first winter in my 100 year old home in the country. (stove pipe fell out of the wall last week, filling my home with smoke, on the same evening that my furnace ran out of oil, so I had to sleep with the windows open on a night with no heat in the house. Yesterday my pipes froze – apparently that can happen when you heat primarily with the (now-fixed) wood stove on really cold days. Really, this could be a funny movie if it were being filmed.) Oh, and d) I apparently have some health issues that my doctor wants me to check out in more detail over the holiday break.

I met with my principal just before leaving for the break on Friday and he pointed out that he was worried about me, that I need to know I can speak to him before I completely burn out. That I need to remember to take care of myself. On Sunday morning my boyfriend held me in his arms during a bit of a …moment… after I had put the dogs into the veranda because they were driving me crazy running around the house and soon after noticed they had torn up a garbage bag I had forgotten to bring outside and decorated said veranda with its contents.

So, what the heck have I learned this time that is important to me? Well, for one that it’s a continuous process this focusing on what is important shtick. That’s what they call keeping balance in some parts. One thing I sure learned in the past few days is that keeping people in the picture rather than on the sidelines helps everything else fall into place. When I was in my boyfriend’s arms he didn’t say anything but just let me blubber for a while until I found the words I needed to say. I get so frustrated with myself when I set myself up to fail, when I make choices that make my life harder than it needs to be –> Working and living so far apart. Putting the garbage bag in the veranda instead of directly out to the garbage bin. Not learning about the ins and outs of heating an old house in the winter. Not approaching people for help before I get overwhelmed.

I may be a little bit hard on myself as well. Maybe. A little. The little upsets and failures are being measured by my out-of-whack yard stick for success. I was teased this weekend about being slightly ticked off that I received an overall mark of 97 in the course I took this semester.

Time to reevaluate choices, create some of that hope for the future I’m always talking about. But guess what? I’m thinking of actually letting other people help me out with that. Novel idea, I know.


  • Illya says:

    Well, it’s been a few months since I posted the call for sentences, yet only now did I find your post.
    I was touched by your honesty and the strength of expression.

    I wish you well and hope that this year 2010 has opened new pathways for you and that you are happy.

    All the best!
    .-= Illya´s last blog ..Following comments =-.

  • Twitter Comment

    budding conversation on strength & willingness to ask for help with @missprofe [link to post] Is this a teacher thing?

    Posted using Chat Catcher

  • Michael Doyle says:

    It’s coming.

    You’re not the only one, but you are a bit more north than some of us.

    (And a prayer.)

    Thinking of you,


    • Tracy says:

      Thank you Michael. I can always count on you to remind me of the coming of the light. This is at least the 2nd year in a row that we’ve had this conversation!

      My question is starting to be – if I know how affected I am by this darkness, what can I do (short of spending 6 months on the South Pole and then 6 at the North) to offset it?

      • I’ll gently suggest that you’re asking the wrong question–we are all affected by light, some of us (about a quarter if the US psychiatrists had their way) “pathologically” so.

        We are trying to function in an unwell culture. Electric lights and modern heat are wonderful things, but in our hubris we misuse them. First thing is to trust that you are not sick if you respond to dying light as you do.

        Having said that, if you want to function with others in our culture, a few things can be done–light boxes, medication, flying south for the winter, etc. (Do not construe any of this as medical advice.)

        Next year I hope we have the same conversation again–recurring conversations, stories, and songs help define who we are. We are mortal, we live in cycles, no matter how many hours we live under fluorescent lights.

        • Tracy says:

          And so it is not about trying to offset it, just allowing it to be normal.

          Lately I have felt the best when I go to bed early, as our fire dies out in the wood stove (well, when the stove isn’t falling out of the wall ;)) and the chill starts to enter the house.

  • Marcy Webb says:

    For me, it’s feeling weak and vulnerable. After all, strong people don’t ask for help – at least this is what we’re led to believe. Of course, it isn’t true. Strong people *do* know when to reach out, to delegate, etc.
    .-= Marcy Webb´s last blog ..La Navidad en México/Christmas in Mexico =-.

    • Tracy says:

      How ironic, we grow up believing that ‘strong’ people are independent and don’t need help, yet the truly strong people we experience are the ones who know how and when to ask for help. Despite our real experiences, it is the belief we hang on to as our prototype of strength.

      I feel the same as you, as if I shouldn’t need to ask for help and if I do I am somehow incompetent. Or that people will find out I am just a sham – that I somehow stumbled into this teaching gig and don’t really know what I am doing.

      So. We recognize it. How do we make the paradigm shift around strength?

  • Marcy Webb says:

    I can relate completely to being willing to allow others to help. You have a good principal as well.
    .-= Marcy Webb´s last blog ..The Date with Mr. Brooklyn =-.

    • Tracy says:

      Hi Marcy and nice to see you :)

      What is it about being willing to allow others to help us that is so hard to just allow to happen? Seems to be the question of my life.

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