So last night I got to thinking (well, kept thinking), and decided I’d make a new 101 goals in 1001 days list. I know I’m crazy, and honestly, the only way I think I’d make all of those goals in the time (or twice the time) is if I quit work. But it’s not so much a list of what I think I can accomplish in a little less than three years, as a list of what I want to do and who I want to become.
I think the whole point of the 101 goals is to get people out of their comfort zones, to get them thinking of all the things they might do, and to have them be mindful about their lives. I spend so much time with school, I don’t have a lot of time for my own life. It isn’t that I come home and watch TV for a few hours before bed; I’m either doing something school-related or trying to snatch a few minutes to take care of things for myself, like laundry, cooking, finances, etc.
It’s too easy to get sucked into work, especially when you’re a teacher, and too easy to become nothing but a worker bee — totally focused on one thing only. Part of the reason I took this challenge to write every day in October is because I realized that, in becoming a teacher, I have lost the enjoyment in my subject areas (writing and music) and am fast losing touch with the reasons I decided to teach in the first place. I don’t write at all, unless you count lesson plans, and I rarely play or sing (maybe more if I had a church job, but I don’t). I hardly even read, and if you know me, that’s nearly beyond belief! I’ve been trying to be more mindful lately about just sitting down at the piano (when I don’t feel like school is pushing at me to Get This Done Tonight!!) and playing or singing, and now I’m trying to blog every day.
I think it’s important to get out of my own head, and to get my head out of school, rediscover who I am, and find my voice. I have plenty to say; I just don’t tend to say it, or maybe say it only to family and friends.
The 101 goals list has several sections — mental, spiritual, social, hobbies, financial, charity, travel, etc. I found the hardest ones to fill were mental, social, and spiritual. It’s like I’ve become a human “doing” instead of a human “being.” My husband complains I don’t just sit and be with him, and maybe I just need to find things that help me tap into my inner self. Not to be such a whirlwind, mentally and physically. I’ve never sat still well, unless my hands are occupied, and that’s not a bad thing, particularly, but I need to be more present in the moment when I’m with people, and right now it’s very hard for me to do that at all.
The more I think about us and how we react to the pressures of life, the more I realize that God knew what our bodies needed. Technology, from electricity and cars to our so-addictive smartphones, keeps us awake at odd hours, has us far from extended family support, and ties our eyes and brains to small devices that we are discovering are more and more akin to drugs in the way they impact our brains. I can’t go off the grid, but I can do things that require more from me than a swipe or a tap. Writing, cooking, music, exercise, finding time to sit, chat, and just be with a friend or loved one can counteract the negative effects of many of our technological devices. No need to go off-grid.
So — mindfulness. Quiet in my mind. “Be still and know that I am God” (Ps. 46:10). Find myself within the crazy teacher mind I usually channel and love myself. Go beyond reacting to tiredness and be proactive in choosing what I will do because I want to be someone different. I want to grow.