It’s Read Across America Day!!! I think this should be a national holiday, where everything is closed and we can all stay home and read.
Killing some time, I read this blog about writing spaces and started contemplating my writing environment. Since I was a sophomore in high school, I began keeping journal. I have shelves of them in my apartment. Pages I have filled with my thoughts, rants, and dreams.
I have an all or nothing, love-hate relationship with blogging. I can either write 15 posts in a day in my stream of conscious or nothing at all. The same can be said for my journals, but once I am close to filling it, I feel inspired to write more to finish it quicker. I like the sense of accomplishment it gives me.
But where do I write?
I love the idea of a neighborhood coffee shop, with a comfy chair, music wafting above. Or at a desk by a window like Carrie Bradshaw on Sex in the City. Some place inspirational… Some place cool.
Yet, it never actually happens like that. Sometimes, it’s at my desk… or waiting in a doctor’s office… on the couch while watching NCIS. It might be on my laptop, my iPad, in my journal or a notebook. I actually LOVE the method of actual writing, of filling up pages with in, of the way a pen feels or makes my writing look the neatest.
I love the idea of sitting looking out at water (preferably an ocean) and writing. Sadly, it happens whenever and wherever the urge strikes me. Usually while on my couch. Or when I am supposed to be doing something else.
I need to set up a better routine for my writing. Step one.
So, when I was a kid, I pretty much slept through high school. I could pull 80’s and 90’s with minimal effort and I was okay with that. It was my responsibility to do my homework or not do my homework and my parents only spoke with my teachers at Open House (other than one issue I had with a math exam junior year being the only exception). It was all on me. Pass or Fail. Good or bad. I was no angel, if I could get out of doing work, I would. I had the God given intelligence to skate through school. I could but in the minimum effort and still succeed.
Of course, I had teachers I couldn’t stand, but it never entered into my mind to be outwardly rude or hostile to them. Ever. They were adults, teachers and no matter my opinion of them, I was respectful. Always. To their face, always respectful. That’s how I was raised, it’s what was expected of me. All adults, for the most part were to be respected, even if they were worthy of being disliked. They might be the biggest idiot in the world, but they still were to be shown respect.
When did that change?
For the first time in years, I am teaching in a high school. It astounds me how freakin’ rude kids are. They cannot tear themselves away from their phones/music/social media in classes, while teachers are teaching. They act like they are above it all and are openly rude and hostile if you ask them, god forbid to remove their earbuds while you’re teaching. Granted, some of this is due to the relaxed nature of some teachers, which fosters inconsistent expectations in students.
I find myself silently screaming for them to just shut up. They don’t know how lucky they are to have the opportunities they have, to been in classes that are nearly impossible to fail. To have teachers that care.
Perhaps I am too old school. I grew up with teachers who ruled by fear. I would never mouth off to a teacher for fear of getting in trouble and especially having them call my parents. I also went to an elementary school where the principal had a paddle in his office behind his desk.
Not that I condone corporal punishment, I just like the idea of having it in your back pocket. The kids today have ALL the power. They know there are no consequences of any matter that can touch them. They are disrespectful and rude… They lie and grouse and complain and make it seem like you’re killing them to make them use their brain and think for themselves or do any work. They talk out of turn, disrupt classes, poison the learning environment and have no impulse control.
Okay, not all of them. Yet, I find that even the ones that are generally respectful and focused on education still have an air of entitlement.
I have been a teacher for fifteen years. Even when I have wanted to give up, I’ve always remembered the words my grad school roommate’s father imparted to me at her funeral – “take care of those kids for Melanie.” Melanie who was a good person and never wanted anything other than to teach was tragically killed thirteen years ago in a car accident. I have spent the past thirteen years trying to honor her memory and taking strength in her when I was ready to give up. I am finding it harder and harder to abide by that these days…
Once upon a time, in a pre 9/11 world, I was fearless. Or stupid depending on your perspective. The internet and chatting were new, I was in college – on my own for the first time. From the safety of my computer, I chatted with people from all over the world. I had “penpals” from Australia, New Zealand, Canada, California… We formed imaginary bonds in the middle of the night. We had aliases like MaraJade, Wiseguy, Pavement, Yeti, Lola and Dash Rendar. We could be anyone we wanted.
Once I traveled 15 hours one way by bus to visit some of these people in a small college town in Peterborough, Ontario.
At the age of 25, I left home and to attend a graduate school program, and upon graduation, I moved an hour from home for my first job. I would explore NYC on my own without a second thought.
Now at 40, it’s a struggle to go to the mall.
Why is that? What happened to my sense of adventure?
Most importantly, how do I get it back?
So, I am in the mood to resurrect this blog. Not much has changed since I last posted. I am living in the same place, working in a new job that I don’t hate, still single, down to a size 10 most days, although I did manage a pair of size 8 black jeans for Christmas, my Diabetes is semi-under control – at least I am more consistent in taking my meds, I consistently go to the gym twice a week for 30-45 minutes, my house is currently about 70% cleaner than it was two weeks ago, but still a very long way to go.
I was having a conversation today about empty nest syndrome and how it was pointed out to them that they sit at home all the time, so I was like, why? You have a car, who says you have to sit home? Go places, join the gym, go shopping, call a friend to go to dinner… As I was relaying this conversation to another person, I realize that I pretty much go home and do nothing every night. My Monday has a new routine as I have to play taxi for a friend’s kiddo which encourages me to run errands. Tuesdays and Thursdays are gym days immediately after work, only once I get home, I really just want a nap most nights. Wednesdays are my “long” days as I tend to have meetings after school those days. Fridays… due to my 45 minute each way commute every day, by Friday, I only want to nap.
I come from a long line of anti-social people. My dad is funny. Growing up I only remember him hiding out whenever I had friends over, or especially if I had birthday parties. As I got older, there were a few of my friends that he’d make an effort with, but for the most part, he disappeared. He had a job where he had to deal with people all the time, so maybe in his down time he preferred not to be social, I don’t know. But everyone LOVES my dad. Where they live now, he’s sociable and helpful… It’s kinda cute. My mother is the more outgoing one, but most of her life was tied up in her three kids, she was a PTA mom and that’s where most of her socialization happened or through work, but seeing as she doesn’t drive, she had limitations. Now that my sisters and I are all gone, she has to rely on my dad for everything. She never calls anyone because she says she doesn’t want to bother them. I often have little sympathy for her because she did it to herself by giving up driving and becoming dependent on my dad. Retirement has totally isolated her.
With the exception of the driving part, my older sister is very much in the same situation my mother was. Her only child is off to college and she’s finding herself lost. It’s a source of battle between her and my brother-in-law.
So in processing all of this, I realized, I am basically no different. I struggle to get up every morning, drive 45 minutes, work all day, drive 45 minutes home, collapse on the couch without even the ambition to cook dinner. Rinse, repeat. 2 days a week, I change it up and go to the gym. The weekends are one day either doing absolutely nothing or frantic cleaning, the other is laundry and dinner at my parents. I have no social life.
Part of that is my self-diagnosed social anxiety, part is that my friends and I are at different places in our lives. Most of them are married with kids. I am still single. I don’t go anywhere or do anything where I can meet people. So, since I could change things and don’t I take full responsibility and say it’s by choice. Choice, being my lack of doing anything to change my circumstances.
Am I happy? I’m not quite unhappy. I am stagnant. I live in constant feat of losing my parents. I am awkward and shy in social situations. I am just treading water and not quite living my life to its fullest potential. I need to challenge myself. I need to challenge single again.