Sunday, March 29, 2009

Running does a body (and mind and soul) good

I got home from a friend's wedding with a completely different, emotionally raw, and probably embarrassing post drafted in my mind. You see, I got into a kind of a funk this morning on my drive back to my (relatively) small town. I think it was the long stretches of country roads flanked by cedar trees and wildflowers, with virtually no one else on the road; Brian Wright was providing some background music to my mind's thoughts that just seemed to wander and never stop. All of the worries that have been piling up in my mind all decided to rear their ugly heads at once. 

I need a change of some kind in my life. It's hit me that my life has been rather stagnant for over 6 years now. Everyone around me has moved on to new stages in their jobs, marriage, kids, etc. But not me. Same job, same town, no marriage, no kids. My problem is that I don't know what kind of change is best for me. Do I move to a new town? I don't feel drawn anywhere, and I do love my family and the friends I have here even though I'm the last of the singles. Do I change careers? (Uh well-considering the job market right now, that's probably not the best idea. This kind of market is what got me into teaching in the first place!) Do I order a husband and baby off the internet? Does Amazon carry an assortment of ethnicities and qualities to choose from, or is it pretty much a "you're shopping for a husband and baby on the internet - take what you can get" kind of thing? I've always thought family pics would look cool if I was with someone completely opposite me: dark skin, hair, etc...but I digress. Maybe I just simply need a new haircut. I don't know. Basically, I don't know where/when/what I'm supposed to do to bring about this mysterious change I feel I need. 

(Those were my worries in a little nutshell - probably a walnut -  and my earlier draft was going to be much more oh-woe-is-me crap. Trust me - be thankful I spared you and gave you the synopsis.

Anyways, as tired as I was when I got home, I couldn't let this beautiful weather pass me by. I threw on workout clothes and decided to go for a run along the river. The weather was absolutely beautiful; people were out enjoying picnics, fishing, playing frisbee golf, and just relaxing in the sun. I smiled at everyone I saw along the path, and they all smiled back; I stopped and chatted with the two older gentlemen who were having no luck with the fish, but were, nonetheless, enjoying the gorgeous weather. It's funny because I was once again listening to Brian Wright, but the result was vastly different this time around. 

Driving home 45 minutes later with the windows rolled down, I couldn't help but wonder why my worries had taken such a strong hold on me for a good two hours this morning. It's not that the worries are gone - I still have them - but they suddenly seemed so trivial. I have an amazing life - albeit not the one I ever thought I would have pushing 30, and not the one I want for much longer - but for now, I guess it'll do. I just have to trust that when the change I need is ready for me, I'll recognize it and embrace it. Until then, I'll just revel in the stereotype of an aging school marm who spends some good, quality time with her cats watching Will & Grace reruns.

I'll leave you with this clip from Peanuts. One day maybe I'll find someone who dreams about this little red-haired girl, but for now Charlie Brown will do.

Sunday, March 22, 2009

The Prime Suffering Years

This post is inspired by the Recent Conversations of The Cachinnator.

Friday night verbatim text conversation with a 12-year-old student (boy), whom I'll call Z. He's a very witty, sarcastic kid who loves to banter, and I typically oblige. (Note: I am generally opposed to texting with my students. I'm not one of those teachers.)

Z: Hey Misc. R, its z
Misc. R: What? How the heck did you get my #?
Z: Cause I'm kool like that haha
Misc. R: Right...
Z: Haha I'm at (my asst prin)'s house
Misc. R: You boys need to get a life...Kinda sad that you're texting a teacher on a Friday night.
Z: I got it from Mr. (asst prin)'s phone geez rude. (Confirmed later this is not where he got it, but I have a feeling I do know where.)
Z: Might I ask what you are doing tonight haha
Misc. R: No you may not
Z: Ok This is a little weird see ya

Aaahhhh....seventh grade boys. Love 'em, hate 'em, glad I never was one.

Surely you can't be serious?! And don't call me Shirley!

I've toyed with the idea of blogging for quite some time. After the story that I'm about to write happened, I decided I needed a forum to share stories just like this one.

It seems in my family that men don't last long. The women, however, live forever. The good news is, there's not a history of cancer in my family. But crazy? Good Lord, there's enough crazy in my family to keep an institution in business for decades. Obviously, I'm a little worried about what this means for my future. This also does not bode well for any potential suitors. Be forewarned: you will die before me, and at some point, I will inevitably lose my mind, go crazy, and start accusing you of the most absurd offenses. This is just one example of my family's crazy:

Background: My great-Aunt E (as she shall be called here) is 90. She has lived an amazing and hard life and has always been an inspiration to me. Sadly, she has succumbed to severe dementia. It usually just breaks my heart, but sometimes, all you can do is laugh to keep from crying. She has always spoken her mind with no filter for as long as I can remember. Now add dementia to the mix, and you've got a recipe for success.

About a month ago, we went to visit her in the nursing home. This happens to be a very lucid day. How can we tell? She's not yelling at us and accusing us of stealing her pictures, clothes, pens, etc. So far, so good. As we're chatting, she looks over at me, points an arthritic finger, just smiles, and mumbles something.

"Looks like Shirley's put on some weight."

Now I have, unfortunately, not been working out or eating like I should, and have put on some weight. But do I really need someone (a 90-year-old woman at that) to point that out to me? No. My tight jeans and chunky waistline tell me so every day. Also, my name is not Shirley. Who's Shirley you might ask? She's only my mom's cousin who is incredibly overweight, you can count the number of teeth in her mouth on two hands, and - oh yeah - she's what we refer to as "special." (Editor's note: Shirley is incredibly sweet, so I mean no offense to her. I just don't want to be compared to her!)

As we were leaving, Aunt E begins telling us about how she's going to ride her bicycle (aka wheelchair) back home (aka nursing home room). Just smile and nod along with it.

So, all-in-all it was a great day. I was reminded that craziness is my destiny, I was called out for gaining weight, and I was compared to someone who is "special." Who could ask for more?