Writing. It’s my sanity. My ‘me’ time. My creative outlet. My way of living a multitude of lives at once through the characters I create. In short, writing is what makes my soul sing. But I have a confession to make. I haven’t written a single word for almost five weeks. In fact, this blog post is the closest thing I’ve come to creative writing in the past five weeks.
Why? Because the day job that pays the bills and helps keep a roof over my head kicked back into full force. My day job is one I choose not to talk about often. In fact, I’m not sure that I’ve ever revealed what it is. But for the record, I’m a teacher. And roughly five weeks ago school went back for 2017. Along with the start of school comes the million and one tasks that need to be undertaken for it, with the vast majority of these taking place outside of the the hours that students attend. I’m arriving at school by 7:30 in the morning and leaving at 5:45 each night, only to come home and do more work. Even my weekends have been filled with nothing but schoolwork. It is completely and utterly exhausting.
Don’t get me wrong, I’m not complaining about teaching. I love what I do, but I have been burning the candle at both ends and possibly in the middle also.
So it’s no surprise that this week I had a colleague who I respect enormously pull me aside and remind me that without taking time for myself I’m soon going to run out of fuel in my tank.
I knew he was right. But with the realisation that he was right also came a crushing sense of guilt. What if taking time for myself means something I should get done fails to be completed? What if the hallway outside my classroom doesn’t look the way I envisaged because I didn’t put enough time into creating the perfect display? What if I forget the child’s birthday who turns eight next week? What if? What if? What if?
I know I’m not the only one who does this. Forgets to take time to myself and then feels guilty at the thought of actually considering doing so. And it’s certainly not something that is unique to those of us in education. It doesn’t matter what walk of life or what job we might be in, how many of us have forgotten to take time to ourselves? And how many of us think that it’s something we can do without? Or even worse, something we don’t deserve.
So this weekend I’m doing it. As soon as I this post up on my website I’m opening the file that contains my current work in progress and taking time for me. And I encourage you to do the same. Whether it’s a bubble bath while hubby takes care of the kids for half an hour, a coffee catching up with girlfriends on the weekend or digging in the soil as the rain soaks your skin while watching worms wiggling about in glee – whatever is that makes your soul sing, do it.
And do it without the guilt. Because I certainly intend to.
Until next time,