There are moments when I'm overwhelmed by a sudden realization that I'm an adult now. You'd think that working with children would be a constant reminder of this fact, but in reality it makes me feel perpetually young. But there are moments...
...while driving my husband to the emergency room last month. He was writhing in pain in the passenger seat beside me, I was trying to get us there safely and quickly, and I suddenly thought, "that's right, I'm an adult now." Several hours later we were headed home with the new knowledge that he has a kidney stone. Yes, HAS, because it's been 4 weeks since that ER visit and he's yet to pass the stone, although his weekly trips to the urologist keep us informed that it's moving, which is good. We're all ready for the stone to pass, but none of us more than him.
...likewise, I knew I was an adult when we got the bill for that ER visit... and the radiology bill... the 1st urologist bill (we know there are more to come)... the bills keep coming, a regular reminder of my adulthood.
...when I realized we needed to call our insurance agent because we sustained roof damage during a wind storm... 2 days before our first round of snow and ice... which melted just in time for the 2nd round the following week. Yes, I'm an adult now.
...when one of my former students passed away this week, ending her 2 year battle with a brain tumor. Given that I've taught several thousand children over the course of the last 16 years I knew it would happen eventually, but there's something very shaking about the loss of a student. She was 19, but I still see her as that elementary school student I taught for 6 years.
...listening to my mother tell me about falling on her front stairs this week. It could have happened to anyone, but it reminds me that not only am I an adult, but that my parents (who are seriously talking about retiring within the next year) are aging, too.
Being reminded in these ways that I'm an adult feels quite overwhelming, and this past week's schedule only added to that feeling. There were several good events - student performances, 2 days at a technology conference, dinner with friends - but by Friday night this introvert was physically and emotionally exhausted. So when I got home from the visitation for my student, I pushed
I stopped. I took several deep breaths. I unplugged from the technology that I'd been attached to every moment of Thursday and Friday (which was difficult to do - my colleagues were texting about the conference and I wanted to be part of that conversation, but I had to step away). I fell asleep on the couch while watching a show and woke up there the next morning. I played a game. I read. I sat on the back deck and enjoyed the warmer temperatures this weekend brought us. I took a nap. And by the end of the day I felt like myself again.
There was a part of me that felt guilty about my Day of Pause, as I've begun to think of it. I could have used that time doing laundry, cleaning the house (which desperately needs it), beginning to work on plans for how to implement all that I learned at the conference, etc. But I knew I needed that Day of Pause if I was going to be able to be my best version of myself for my students this week, and after all of the disruptions of the past 3 weeks I need to be that best version. More than anything I think it has to do with my being an undercover introvert. I needed that down time away from everyone else to recharge my batteries. And I need to stop feeling guilty about being an introvert - it's who God made me to be.
So with that in mind, I'm encouraging all of you to pause when you feel overwhelmed. You might not need a full day like I did, but if nothing else stop, take a deep breathe, and relax. Your brain will thank you for it!