I’ve been really loving the afternoons lately. I love coming home from school and taking walks around town, watching the leaves change colors and grabbing a coffee for kicks. Last year I was so horrible about leaving school at a reasonable hour. I would stay until 5, sometimes 6, then come home exhausted and unmotivated to do anything but sit on the couch in front of the TV with my computer at my lap. I know it was my first year, and the first years of teaching can be tough, but I was going to burn out at the rate I was going. One of the reasons I think I stayed so late is that I am an over-achiever when it comes to the teaching world. I want everything to be “just so” and I sometimes would end up spending hours on the littlest details of a lesson, or the way something was placed around my room.
Maybe it’s because I’m missing summer and all that glorious time I had to myself, the “me time” that I grew so fond of over the passing summer days, that as this school year started, I’ve been wanting to hold on to that time, to savor it for as long as I can keep it. I realized I can still have this time during the school year, but I need to make it happen for myself. I need to leave school after the day is done (I am putting a 1 hour max on the time I spend working after school) and enjoy this beautiful life. My work allows me to have the afternoons to myself, and I’ve realized I’m lucky to have this time as a teacher. But I also know as a teacher, that I deserve this afternoon break. I need to unwind and relax to keep me focused and energized while I am in the classroom. It’ll be no good if I tire myself out at the beginning. I feel more comfortable after my first year, feel as if I can let go of my need to be perfect, and just enjoy what I do.
So, I’ve been getting up earlier in the morning to get stuff done at school, so I can use my afternoons for me. It’s working out great so far. I’m getting outside more and feeling more balanced between work and home. I’m cooking more–last night we made tacos and this Thursday I’m planning to break open my new ice cream maker. And soon, I plan on getting into a more solid groove with yoga. I’m just about finished with The Happiness Project and have found it to be very helpful and informative on how to work on aspects of your life to keep you happier on the whole.
Leaving school early is one of the ways I can keep my happiness high, so this is where I will start.