I am going to enjoy life after 50 if it kills me!

Posts tagged ‘goal setting’

Chocolate is the Devil

Stupid is as stupid does.  Just call me Forrest.  Friday the staff began selling World’s Finest Chocolate to raise funds for our three person retirement party.  Who’s buying them?  Aside from students who can’t afford them, and their parents who can’t either, I am.  I’m pretty sure I raised enough for cake and punch on Friday alone.


So I woke up with the expected migraine Saturday morning.  I made it through the morning – still loving Saturday school! – but had to talk to my daughter on the phone all the way home to avoid thinking about how close I was to throwing up.  Sorry.  Since then, I’ve been in bed the entire weekend, except for taking the dog out and one trip for fast food, which I couldn’t finish eating anyway.

The point of this is not poor me, as obviously, this has been entirely self-inflicted.  My principal, who has known me for eons, gave me no sympathy, which is what I love about her.

But this weekend, I gave myself permission to not feel guilty about resting all weekend.  Of course, I had no choice but to rest, and it has taken the entire weekend for my headache to subside, but I usually lie in bed feeling anxious about what I should be doing, depressed that I can’t do what I want when I want, and guilt-ridden for having such a messy home.

This all contributes to the migraine, which I logically know is counterproductive.  The logic part of my brain is hard to locate in the midst of throbbing pain and nausea, however.  So Saturday, as I crawled into bed, I made a conscious decision to do nothing but rest all weekend, even if my headache went away in a couple of hours.  It didn’t, but as I now had a plan to rest and only rest, it was okay.

I must thank my daughter Rachel, who brought over Pepsi (for the caffeine), took my dog out, and did the embarrassingly huge pile of dirty dishes in my kitchen.  It so helped this evening as I started to feel better to find a clean kitchen waiting for me.  After cooking myself something to eat, I recleaned the kitchen, folded and hung up clean laundry and baked a cake.  That’s more than I get done some days even without a headache.  So all in all, it was a good plan.

And chocolate is the devil.  I must remember that.

The Ultimate Procrastinator




One would think, with over two weeks of vacation time, I would be whipping my life into shape.  As someone who loves to plot and plan and make list after list, I should be ready to face the new year with my calendar and planner filled, my home sparkling in all its well-organized splendor.


Not so much.


In fact, if you promise not to tell anybody, I haven’t been able to find my apartment keys since I returned from New York with my truck full of belongings.  And I KNOW they must be in a box or a bag or something.  So I stay in a lot.  If I don’t find them by Sunday, I will break down and pay for a new set.  I can’t even get my mail out of my mailbox, for crying out loud.

I just bought a new trash can this evening, so I can finally gather up all the bags and fast food debris and dispose of it properly.  And it took until two days ago to get a shower curtain up in my bathroom.  I actually resorted to taking baths!


To top it off, my dryer is taking three hours to dry a load of clothes, but I refuse to call maintenance and have them see what a heinous mess this apartment is.  Refuse.


In my attempt to always see the bright spot in any situation, I have decided it is a blessing that I have time off from work to put my apartment together, procrastinate, organize my belongings, procrastinate some more, and do my lesson plans.  Wanna take bets on how long I put that last chore off?

Plane Plans

I love having a plan!  Gives me something to mark on my calendar, an excuse to make lists and cross things off of them – plans are good.

I just booked a flight for New York for December.  I’ll fly up on a Thursday evening, spend Friday and Saturday packing the boxes of my personal life I left up there in August, along with the furniture, books, and the lifetime of stuff I put in storage there.  After quickly visiting the family, I’ll load the kit and the kaboodle into a moving truck on Sunday.  My daughter’s Christmas vacation starts Monday, so we’ll get in the truck and head for Florida that morning.  Hopefully, two days on the road will do it, and we’ll be back by Tuesday evening or at worst, Wednesday morning.  Then I still have a day or two to unpack my stuff in the apartment I will have leased before I left, and the truck will be returned.  All before Christmas Day.  It’s a carefully considered plan.

Now, the one thing I know about plans is they never go quite the way you actually planned them.

So I’ll keep you updated.

Word Readers or Critical Thinkers?

As I get to know my students, I have noticed two things.

One – they have no patience with each other.  They will immediately default to fight mode.  If someone does something that adversely affects them, it must be on purpose, it must be to make them look bad, it must be considered a threat.

Two – while they are excellent word readers – they know their phonics – they have no ability to infer, draw conclusions, see cause and effect relationships, and they’re not that great at summarizing.  In short, their higher level thinking stinks.

One is behavior, the other “academic”, but in reality, they are closely related.  Children who do not have the ability to think critically cannot fully comprehend what they read.  They don’t get the deeper meanings of words and phrases.  They may be able to read the words in Harry Potter, but they don’t understand why Hermoine is an overachiever, or how Harry feels when he heads back to his aunt and uncle for summer.

Likewise, my students can’t look at a situation with their peers in anything but surface understanding.  They just don’t get that maybe X feels embarrassed about his grade and that’s why he grabbed his paper out of your hand.  Perhaps J didn’t intentionally trip you; he is always running into things and twirling around in line.  Maybe B isn’t annoying; maybe he just needs help all the time because his English isn’t very good yet.

I know that many of my kiddos also come from homes where yelling and hitting is how problems are resolved.  That, combined with a lack of understanding beyond the surface of a situation, makes it difficult for these children to deal with conflicts in a logical, productive way.  I can’t fix their home lives.  So I’m going to have to work extra hard on getting them to think critically about what they read, what they see, and what they experience.

I’m gonna get right on that.

My To Do List

Things I need to do this week:

  1. write lesson plans
  2. do my laundry
  3. deposit the $100 check I’ve had since July
  4. grade papers
  5. spend the WalMart $100 Teacher Rewards gift card I got on a bookcase and school supplies
  6. be lazy
  7. clean the bathroom – sharing a bathroom with your grown son is … interesting
  8. pick up my laptop from Best Buy and hope it’s rid of its demons
  9. thank God for the grown son, the grown daughters, and having a couple hundred dollars at my disposal, among other things

When Failure is a Good Thing

Something my ex and I tried to instill in our kids was the realization that we all fall down sometimes.  We all fail.  It is in the dusting ourselves off and getting back up that we learn how to succeed.

I wince when dealing with parents who rush in to save their child from any difficulty, no matter how slight.  I completely understand the urge to keep one’s child from hurting.  It is normal and in dire circumstances, absolutely necessary.  I wouldn’t let my child walk out into traffic, or ingest something poisonous.  But all three of my children – now adults – handle life’s bumps and missteps with logic and level heads.  They know their dad and I are nearby if they need the support, but I find they rarely, if ever, need rescuing.  I am proud of all three of them.

Recently, I experienced my own fall.  And because of that fall, I am now wiser and learning a great deal about myself and life in general.

Failure is not the end of the world.  Most of the time, it is a new opportunity.  Sometimes what looks like failure is, in fact, a temporary detour that leads you to more success than you’d imagined in the first place.

This link is a great reminder that all of us experience failure, but if we see the possibilities within us, nothing can stop us.


Full Steam Ahead!

There is a great deal of truth to the old adage, “Idle hands are the devil’s workshop.”

Over the past few days I have done a great deal of worrying and convincing myself I will never find a job, I made a huge mistake in moving and trying something different, and I will fall apart here in short order if someone doesn’t rescue me.

I have not, however, done much in the way of solving my jobless situation.

Idle hands.  My fingers have been roaming the Internet fervently, finding mostly depressing reports of people out of work, crushing health insurance costs and the like.  But have I actually used my hands to fill out applications, steer my car towards businesses so I can introduce myself, maybe even make some phone calls?


Make no mistake.  This is hard work.  But my fear has made me idle.  I have been frozen to one spot with nothing operating at full speed except my imagination, which has developed some pretty icky scenarios involving destitution, depravity and general no goodness.  Not so much depravity, but you get the gist.

Fortunately, I have this amazing family.  My eldest child has been ridiculously logical with me, making me see things as they actually are  which is not nearly as bleak as I had let myself think.  My son has been my drill sergeant, not giving me much time to feel sorry for myself  because he has given me my job hunt marching orders.  My youngest has been supportive of whatever I want to do, with the caveat that she is not quitting and going home.  She plans to stick it out with or without me.

I can’t begin to tell you how wonderful my cousin and my sister-in-law have been.  They just keep introducing me to people and listing off idea after idea.  It’s hard to say I’ve tried everything and nothing is going to work when they just keep coming up with new ideas.

God bless them all.

So now I have logic, marching orders, a shining 18 year old example of optimism, and lots of good ideas.  Just having a direction and a full head of steam gives me confidence and hope.  My ship is moving forward yet again.

Wish me luck!

Self Doubt is Like a Black Hole

One of the best ways to feel better about your life, or your present lot in life, is to just do something.


Not just anything.  Crying, complaining, running away… not so much.  Do something positive.  Something that takes you, even if it’s in tiny baby steps, towards your goal.  You do have a goal, right?

  • Make a list.  It could be a list of chores to finish, bills to pay off, jobs to apply for, health goals, or whatever gets you out of your black hole and towards the light.
  • Create something.  I don’t necessarily means arts and craftsy, although if that helps, go for it.  Think of what you want and create something that will get you there.  This may be a portfolio, a resume and cover letter, a budget plan, a menu of healthy meals, or a collection of photos of whatever it is you are aiming for to help you visualize your goal.
  • Decide what steps are necessary to get from your black hole to wherever you want to be.  For me personally, that means creating a resume, listing possible companies to work for, researching those companies, writing cover letters, mapping out routes to visit each of these places, and getting in my car and visiting each location.  Your steps will be entirely unique to your situation and your personality.
  • Start with the first step.  Don’t look at the whole list and become overwhelmed.  One step at a time.
  • If your steps aren’t working, don’t give up.  Go back, do a little thinking and some soul searching, praying if that works for you, and revise your steps.  If what you’re doing isn’t working, don’t keep doing it.  There’s a saying about that.  Smart people (and you are one of them) don’t keep making the same mistake over and over again.  They come up with a Plan B, Plan C, and so on until they find something that works.  Learn from your mistakes.
  • Talk to someone you trust who is a generally upbeat person.  They will have the perspective you have lost while sliding down into that hole of self-doubt.  And they may have some creative ideas that you had not thought of.  Do this last step often and regularly!

Although becoming down and discouraged is normal when attempting something difficult, it does not have to be your downfall.  Being down in the dumps is okay for a day or two, but don’t let it linger much past a couple days.  You will get too comfortable down in that dark hole, sure that you will be there forever.  And that leads to depression, which is much harder to climb out of.

I give you this advice based on my own experiences over the years.  The past few weeks have given me lots of practice in staying optimistic and fighting off my negativity.  Last night was a reminder to me that I must do something every day to work towards my goals.

Today has been a much better day.

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