This is a weird thing to write about. I have to admit that as I start this post, I’m not 100% certain about where I’m going with this. You’re going to have to bear with me as I explore my thoughts and feelings. I’m not going to get too personal on this, but I just want to talk about how I’ve been feeling lately.
Sometimes I feel like a bad adult. I know there is probably no one correct way to be an adult, but sometimes I feel like I’m really bad at it. I think ultimately what I struggle with is the work-home-life in general balance.
As a teacher, I do have set school hours. However, the nature of my job means that I have to plan what my kids are going to be doing on the daily basis, and that takes time outside of the school day. Additionally, when I assign work, then I have to mark that work. I absolutely love my job, so I don’t usually mind these things but since the semester change over, I have just been feeling a little bit overwhelmed. The semester turn over is always a crazy time because there’s the adjustment of completing report cards and finalizing marks, while also preparing for completely new courses. I had five courses before the change, and two finished, I gave up two due to my contract, and then kept one. In the second semester I picked up four course, two of which I had never taught before. It was just a bit of an adjustment that I struggled with. I feel like I’m getting the hang of it now, but it comes and goes in phases. Often times when I feel like I get the hang of things, something changes and I fall behind some more.
An unspoken truth of teaching is the extra time you can often feel like you need to put in outside of the basic duties/responsibilities of teaching. Most teachers get into the profession to help kids, and so when you get into a school (and I might be generalizing here) you want to help them by getting involved in the school. Some people might do this by coaching, but as I’m completely non athletic, I’ve been helping out in other ways. I am one of the grad sponsors at this school, which means I help to plan a lot of the events that make the graduating students’ year a lot better. I really enjoy this, and I’m especially fond of this year’s grad class, so this is totally worth it to me. However, it’s a lot sometimes. The meetings really add up. Inside of school hours, I’m also a supervisory teacher for the school’s GSA, which we call SAGA, and the sponsor teacher for the writing group. I’ve offset responsibilities in the latter by asking the grade 12 students to take on planning responsibilities, and I’m deeply passionate about creative writing, but sometimes I worry that I’m burning the candle at both ends just a little bit too much.
I’m also involved with the local teacher’s union. It’s really interesting to me, and I enjoy learning about the politics of it all. However, I sometimes don’t think I’m best suited to it, because I feel like I’m not contributing as much as I could, but I don’t know what else I could do.
Outside of teaching, I try to balance a social life. I have some really wonderful friends where I live, and a really wonderful boyfriend, but it’s hard to balance everything. I want to spend more time with my friends but after work and all the social interactions I have during the day, it can be hard to find the energy to hang out with people more. That being said, I always feel so good after spending time with my friends and I know that it’s something that I should prioritize more. I need to put myself out there to my friends and try better to keep in touch with the ones who I don’t see through work and the ones who don’t live anywhere near me. It might also be my fault, because most weekends I go to visit my boyfriend. I could make the choice not to do that, but I really, really want to see him.
And then we get to reading. Reading is such a big part of my life and I love the escape of it. However, I think I’m in a place where I’m feeling a bit reading slump-y. I have two physical reads on the go at the moment that I just can’t be bothered to pick up, and my attention span for some of my eARCs has been really low. I think I’m feeling a bit overwhelmed my by TBR and I need to try and find something to read that I can just completely dive in and devour. I might have to re-read, but I might also have to take a break. Maybe I just need to let myself prioritize other areas of my life and take a little bit of a reset. I feel like I’m starting to get weirdly competitive with myself, which isn’t a good way to look at my reading. I should read because I love it and because I want to find some wonderful stories. I shouldn’t read because I want to beat my previous yearly challenge record. Additionally, bookstagram has been so bad for me because I keep seeing books that are coming out and that I need to add to my TBR. There are just too many good books out there in the world.
On a similar vein to reading, we have writing. Kari and I are on a writing forum that I really love, but I feel like sometimes it falls to the backburner when compared to everything else. The same goes to this blog. I know it’s natural to go through phases when it comes to your interests, but I sometimes put too much pressure on myself to do all of the things. I want to write posts for here that people love and want to read, but I don’t know how to balance an ideal ratio of posts per month. I don’t know what people want to read, and I worry that I’ve ended up in a post rut. Outside of the forum and this blog, I have a few novels that I want to take to completion. I know that I could just make time for it, but I have a hard time prioritizing it without the motivation of something like NaNoWriMo. However, I know that I don’t have the time to do NaNoWriMo with my current level of time management. It would take me a long time to write 1667 words in a day, and when I’m teaching full time I don’t think I could.
Somewhat finally, adulting is really hard. It’s so hard to decide what to eat every day and to find the motivation to cook. I read this quote once that was something along the lines of “adulthood is deciding what to make for dinner over and over again.” It was something that I really related to. I’ve also seen some posts talking about how the lifestyle that we’re supposed to maintain isn’t doable for a single person, and that really, really sucks. Why is our world set up in such a way that in order for you to balance everything that needs to be balanced you need to have another person in your life? I have another person in my life, my boyfriend, but he doesn’t live in the same town as me and I know that I sometimes end up sacrificing a lot to go and spend time with him every weekend. I think a lot about what it will be like when we live together, but there’s no actual guarantee that life will actually get easier when we live in the same town. Somethings will change for sure, and some things will get easier. But I don’t think it’s a magic solution.
I know what a somewhat magic solution would be, and that’s choosing what makes me happiest and prioritizing those extracurriculars. I also know that if I were to work on my time management skills that my life would be vastly improved. However, I don’t know what the best way is to make myself be magically more productive. I can sit down at my desk to do some marking, but that doesn’t mean I’m going to be able to get efficiently through my marking load. One thing I want to get better at is not just immediately sitting down when I get home, but as an introvert sometimes I need to just sit and recharge. However, if I just sit down to recharge, I lose motivation to do things that as ‘functioning’ adult, I should prioritize.
There are times when I just feel so overwhelmed with it all that all I can do is sit on the couch and watch YouTube somewhat mindlessly. Probably, a lot of this comes down to a sort of moderation is key kind of thing, but that’s not a skill I’ve quite mastered. Maybe one day I will get there.
I realize in hindsight that these problems are completely coming from a place of privilege. I have a good life and a good career and good people. Yes, I’m tired and sometimes I feel burned out, but I am safe, have a place to live, and I know that I’m lucky for that. I know this post probably sounds a little bit complainy, and I do apologize for that. However, it’s something that I’ve been struggling with and I just needed the opportunity to get it all off my chest.
Is there a lesson here? Maybe. I can tell you that there’s not enough hours in the day and that I need to get better at choosing the activities that make me happy. This is all going to be a process, and I’m going to have to learn, but maybe one day I’ll get better at it all. In the meanwhile, I will take it one day and a time and try to get better at folding my laundry as soon as it’s ready to go.
If you made it all the way here, thank you for reading. I hope you have a wonderful day.