407: Ruminations on the Start of a New School Year

The start of a new school year is rather like the start of a regular year: New Year’s Eve, only without the party. And with a great deal more trepidation. The two occasions do have one thing in common, though…the resolutions.

Many people start out a new calendar year with resolutions to improve themselves and their situations, and the start of a new school year is no exception. This year, I resolve to think FAR more positively. That should not be difficult. Some days, a single positive thought will put me ahead of last year’s game……..!

As a precursor to positive thinking, I resolved to pay far more attention to my spiritual life, which was neglected during the years I spent in Morocco, and spent unsatisfactorily last year in Panama. The first church I tried had a pastor who was determined that HIS church would be formed in HIS image…not exactly what God, and I, had in mind. The second church had a much more positive Spirit, but contemporary worship. I have an issue with projecting only the words to songs on the wall, and not including music. I understand that many modern people do not read music, but some of us do. I don’t sing when I don’t know the music, because when I make a mistake, my voice takes others off with me, and that is a problem, especially since I LIKE to sing. And I like hymns…not the new stuff. Some of that new stuff is OK, in the same way that some rap is OK (when the lyrics are profound, and that does not happen often). The latest church (I hope the last one) is much more traditional, and I like it, in spite of the fact(s) that it takes two hours to get there, and that I am the only light-skinned face there. I don’t think skin color matters to God, and it certainly does not matter to me, so I hope I have found a home. I just have to get over minding that I have to get up at 5:30 a.m. to go there.

The second resolve is to salt away some actual savings this year. Once again, that should not be hard to improve over last year. Breaking even will be an improvement over last year, much less actually saving anything!

Finally is the resolve to kick back and enjoy life a little. That one will be difficult. Not to accomplish it, because I did little last year but go to work and come home to work some more. Therefore, some time spent constructively in relaxation and personal enjoyment will be an instant success on the personal home front. The trouble will be figuring out how to do it. I am not good at relaxation, and it is high time I learned how to do it.

It is clear to me that nearly every teenager on the face of this planet has mastered the art of complete and total relaxation, and if they can do it, surely I can manage it one or two days a week (end). So there. Maybe I can take lessons??

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223: Juggling

One of the annoying things about being grownup is that you must learn to juggle. It is only one of the annoying things about being a grownup, but it is one of the most difficult parts of being grown up to master. By juggle, I do not mean actual juggling, the sort done in entertainment acts by people who juggle balls, flaming torches or swords. By juggling, I mean managing all the disparate parts of your life and all the attendant responsibilities that go with each sphere of your influence (I mentioned balls again, didn’t I?).

Most adults have several spheres of influence: their personal lives, their family lives (not the same thing), their spiritual lives, their work lives, perhaps their school lives, and lastly, their social lives. Did I forget any? Each of these spheres sometimes overlap others, but generally, we have different responsibilities for each one of them. I must bathe and care for myself and this body I live in, including periodic visits to medical professionals for checkups and repair. I also handle some of that for my family, too, at least while my children were little, until they matured enough to begin assuming that responsibility for themselves. There are also other family obligations, everything from Sunday dinner at mom’s, to which family member we will celebrate Thanksgiving with this year, to burial arrangements for my husband’s father. Then there are the spiritual and social responsibilities that go along with my faith and my church family, too – missions, offerings and gifts of materials and time, prayer and scripture study, and more. Then there is the sphere of work: not only the actual work part, but the social atmosphere and culture of work. Work would be enough all by itself without all that other crap, but there it is….some people don’t have enough of a life of their own, and must try to create their entire lives around their work, and get everyone at work to socialize as if we actually were a family and everybody liked everybody else, and not as if we were just thrown together by circumstance, which is actually a lot closer to the truth. Sheesh. And then, there are those of us who are enrolled in school, each of them with another culture and social obligations, not to mention the class work and due dates. Lastly, there is the social life – the recreation time we take with the people we actually like and WANT to spend time with, not the ones we are obligated to socialize with in the other spheres. THAT is the juggling act I am talking about; managing to keep all of these separate spheres of our influence in the air and functioning (at least to some degree) all at the same time.

Sometimes I manage that act pretty well, and then, at other times, one or more of these spheres hits the ground with a sickening thud as I “drop the ball.” This usually happens because another sphere is taking up far more time and energy that it deserves.

Here lately, I have had several spheres drop. Wobble, wobble, drop it like it’s hot, drop is what I am talking about. Drop and SPLAT. Spilled milk drop – no recovery possible. You know what, though? Life DOES go on….even if my grip is not too good these days!