Tuesday, October 22, 2013

Sweet Roles

We all need something we do that helps us feel good about ourselves, don't we?

Well, duh.

I'm thinking about this a lot lately.  Working with students, who spend a good portion of their awake lives at school or involved in school, I've always been aware of the importance of there being something there--at school--that makes students feel proud, good, invested.  It sounds simple, but it can be a tall order, when we consider how many diverse types of students our schools aim to serve, and how relatively rigid our structures are.  Hence the importance of athletics, clubs, electives, the arts, career pathway courses, and advanced classes for students excited to delve deeper.  At a tender time when we can be introducing students to lifelong loves and pastimes--the activities that extend life and bring joy (gardening, yoga, chess, volunteerism)--we offer our youth so very little free time to pursue such passions.  Yet building foundations of understanding of what is fulfilling in one's life has the potential to dramatically change one's outlook on life, throughout life.  

So I see my forty-something pals understanding this and seeking out or finding and investing in new activities.  CrossFit.  Biking.  Writing.  Running.  Knitting and sewing.  Surfing.  Improv.  Cooking.  We're looking for that sweet spot--not recognition or accomplishment from anyone really but ourselves.   

I'm recognizing aspects of myself as I cope with some anxiety about heading back to work.  As much as I am worried about how I'll handle all my responsibilities, deep inside I know there's a part of me waiting to be re-fulfilled.  My work is something that makes me feel good about myself.  It's not the only thing that does--mothering and running and interacting and being creative also feed my soul and self esteem. And I've learned that I rely on a balance of roles and outlets to be a whole person.  So with one piece not in place, I'm a little off kilter.

I'm looking forward to reigniting the parts of me that teach, guide, care, and support--colleagues and other people's children. I know I'll be busier, I'll still be conflicted, but I think I will feel more balanced inside.  

What things are you doing that make you feel good about yourself and your place in this world?

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