Monday, January 25, 2021

Flip Flop Day

Annalise Art via Pixabay

Today is an ordinary Monday, gray and unremarkable except for the juxtaposition of snow in the forecast with my flip flop day.

If you've been reading this blog for a while, you already know that the flip flop day in question has nothing to do with footwear. Today is flip flop day because, after a month and a half where my writing came first, it's time to flip flop my priorities and, if you'll forgive the mixed metaphor, once again relegate my writing to the back seat and let planning and teaching take the wheel. 

Truth be told, I'm feeling a little sorry for myself. It's been a lot of fun being a professional writer who dabbles in psychology, as opposed to a professional educator who dabbles in writing. It's been a very productive January, too -- one where I've finished several long-delayed projects -- leaving me to imagine the writing life as a full-time endeavor in a way I haven't in quite some time.

This break has restored my creative faith as well. Long enough to give me time to not only dismount the hamster wheel of sudden onset hybrid teaching, it also gave me time to take on some projects just for me and restore my balance. I brushed up my language skills (French, Spanish and German) on Duolingo, took a course on social media marketing (which I will finish this week), released two books and made progress on some things around the house. Oh, and I got more sleep, worked weekends only if I felt like it and read things just because I wanted to. I nibbled at class prep and checked in on emails from time to time, but those tasks weren't at the top of the list, let alone the top ten items.

Fortunately, I like my job, so this flip flopping isn't all bad. As I mourn a schedule in which days begin and end when I want them to and writing is a top-of-list task, I realize that this sadness is the nudge I need to move forward in a workable way. 

The best part of this break was re-establishing balance. This week, as I re-evalute what I've been doing and plan what I will do, I need to keep that in mind. This week, a truth I carry with me is profoundly in evidence: that I'm neither strictly educator nor strictly writer. Keeping both of those professional roles in mind, if not in balance, as I move forward is what will give me the energy to take on the other roles that matter: person, wife, mother, learner, reader, friend. And today, as I remove the away message from my school inbox, declaring myself open for business again, that idea needs to be my lodestar. It won't be immediately achievable and, some weeks, it won't be achievable at all. But it should be the goal, regardless of which task is on top.

So flip flop I will, endeavoring to maintain my balance as I do. Wish me luck.


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