Thursday, September 1, 2016

New School Year's Resolutions

[Editor's Note: personal post today. Feel free to skip if you like.]

My school year started Monday with some professional development sessions. It will be another week of meetings before I see my students, but the grind has already begun. I'm back in the trenches, back to getting up at five in the morning, back to a mad rush to get the girls up and fed before my train leaves, back to my long commute into New York City, back to coming home exhausted and barely having any time to spend with my daughters. I was filled with such dread last week thinking about the months ahead, and I decided to make some resolutions. I do love my job, but juggling that job with family life has been very difficult, to the point that by March I wonder if I am going to make it to the end of the year. I don't want to experience that feeling this coming year, so here are some things I want to do:

Get seven hours of sleep a night
When my daughters were infants my sleep got patchy for obvious reasons, and it still hasn't recovered. Last year I usually got about six hours a night, which is not enough on a consistent basis. It made me tired and irritable.

Read books on the train, rather than listen to podcasts or surf the web
Part of the reason I stay up late is that I need time for myself every day, and that includes reading. If I go a day without reading a hundred pages or so I feel like I've wasted my day. Part of my problem was that due to sleep deprivation, I was too tired to read during my train commute, and I would fall into surfing the web on my phone and listening to podcasts. Reading on the train will help me sleep more. Yes, I am that weird.

Playtime with my daughters every day
In the morning I am with my daughters in the mad rush to get ready before my train leaves. When I get home I am with them in the mad rush to walk the dog and get dinner ready. Because we get up so early, they have to go to bed early, which means I barely get time with them. I'm trying to avoid the temptation of just flopping in my easy chair while they play or watch TV. We had so much fun this summer, I don't want to lose that.

Don't work through every lunch
Being a teacher is a hectic job, and some days I am able to get a lot done by bringing my lunch from the cafeteria to my desk as I work. This kind of behavior keeps me from getting a break or socializing at school. I need to stop doing the working lunch so often, and take some time to let my mind breathe.

Do enjoyable things on the weekend
During the fall weekends can turn into a cycle of yard work, lazy soccer watching, and trying to appease irritable toddlers. Then Monday rolls around and I feel zero sense of rest or happiness as my train gets enveloped by the darkness of the tunnel beneath the Hudson. This year I want to make sure I do something legitmately enjoyable on the weekend. My wife and I certainly need to go out more without the kids, and when we do go out, venture into either the deep country or New York City. Sitting around the house for two days is a recipe for irritability, since I am not a homebody.


Oblio said...

YES YES AND YES. I wish your kind of thinking was SOP for everyone, but sadly thus is not the case. I'm especially cognizant of the smart phone thingie, even wrote an essay about it if you can drag your eyes away from that antediluvian 'book' with its antiquated 'pages' that you have to 'read' and 'comprehend' (sheesh!)

Terry said...

Do take care of yourself. Just developing the habit of getting enough sleep each night will make the rest of the problems - if not easy, at least easier - to make progress with. And you'll feel better. I spent twenty years short of sleep due to a daily long commute, and it has taken me 5 years since retirement to realize how negatively my life was affected by chronic sleep deprivation. DO take care of yourself!