There’s a whole school inspection coming up in my school in a couple of weeks’ time and even without being in the building for the end of last week, the sense of dread and panic is still seeping through. I’m telling myself that I’m not going to allow this to panic me, or even to overly change how I do my job. I work in a way that is (mostly) sustainable for me and my family. Running around like a headless chicken and trying to shoehorn in stuff that I don’t normally do is not going to make any difference to the learning experience of my students; all it will do is add stress and panic to my own life.

As I said, I tell myself this. But it’s difficult to maintain one’s equanimity when the whole working world around you appears to be scattering and panicking as though the sky is falling.

At least I’m finally feeling as if this illness is passing. My voice is a little “gone”, my nose is still runny and my appetite hasn’t returned, but I feel mostly human on the inside of my body. So, naturally, this is the time when G. starts to develop the same symptoms I had been experiencing. It’s really hard when either one of us is sick. There’s not a lot of slack in our lives – and well, I think that’s because we’re both really committed to having actual lives that are outside of our work.

I don’t mean the usual semblance of a life which is drinks down the pub every Friday for 3 hours, and an impromptu 5a.m. return from a club once every month or so. It’s a more conscious thing than that – we consciously want to spend weekend time together as a family, and we mostly do it. We both want to invest time into our creative endeavours, and we selfishly carve that out for ourselves. Now that G.’s out-of-work creativity has become a paid thing through a book deal, I guess it would be easy to start to see my own efforts as less important, but y’know, my ego is too big for that. I tend to think my unpaid sanity is worth just as much as my husband’s paid success.

Maybe I’m wrong? But I don’t believe there’s such a thing as an absolute right and wrong when it comes to this stuff, it’s just whatever setup works for your own family, right? So, is it working? Well, it’s hard – like, time seems so short, and the house feels in constant disarray. My mother would say to get someone in to clean, and for the first time ever we might even be able to afford that, but there are logistical considerations. We need a “tidier” and a “declutterer” more than an cleaner to be honest. No one could really work in our space due to the dogs.

Maybe in the new house.

There’s a lot of “life the way I want to live it” that feels like it’s hanging on the new house. That worries me a bit because if it falls apart or doesn’t work out the way that I’m expecting, then I’m pretty much set up for a big crash. And also, nothing ever has a “just change this one thing” sort of a solution, does it? Like whenever I’ve had a thought of “everything will be better when X happens” it’s been a lie, it’s just been a thin layer of paint over structural problems in how I’ve been perceiving and living life. And if that’s the case wouldn’t I be better off addressing that sort of stuff in the here and now.

Well then. We’re back to the one thing I’m failing to change over and over – my self-awareness and meditation habits. I’ve identified this one important change to make and then consistently – seriously, read back over the past seven months and what do I keep saying over and over to myself? I need to pause, take moments of awareness, make time and space for myself, meditate.

It’s just … it just even sounds a little wishy-washy to myself. Like the ubiquitous quest for self-actualisation in the modern world. Clearly we just don’t have enough problems, right? Laugh laugh.

No. Stop ignoring yourself, self. Stop hiding behind being busy. There is no race towards the end to stand before a universal judge with a list of tasks completed, with how clean your bathroom was up towards the top.

But all the same, a clean bathroom is a joy to visit, so there is that for daily quality of life.

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