Reluctant Routine

Sunday, January 26, 2020

I guess I left things off on a sour note. I haven’t been very active with my writing. I haven’t been very active in general. Aside from the occasional weekend outing, I have stuck to a consistent routine. The routine that I follow helps relieve stress but does little for depression. Most of my day consists of working and preparing for work the following day. It is not glamorous, but it beats being underprepared. I have a few hours of free time every night that I spend reading or watching movies. Sometimes I spend that time grocery shopping or preparing food. Either way, those few hours represent a brief window when my time belongs to me. I value that time immensely. Therefore, the routine must continue.

I’m better adjusted to my job at this point. I am more confident in what I am doing, and the stress is taking less of a toll on me. I know that this relief is only temporary. Standardized testing is looming on the horizon, which is an uncomfortable time for teachers and students alike. Although I disagree with the practice wholeheartedly, I will now be responsible for proctoring this intrusive exam. Preparation for the exam will begin early, and students will have time taken away from rigorous learning to hone the skills deemed necessary by the state of Texas. I will try to make the best of the situation, but I can predict that it will be a stressful occasion.

I’ve made a habit out of checking my calendar every day. I count down the days until the weekend, the weeks until my next break, and the months until the school year is over. It is difficult to conceal that I am just as eager as my students for this year to be over. I have several plans for the summer, but I am still uncertain of what comes after this year. I would like to try teaching at a different grade level before I decide upon it for a career. Yet, I am reluctant to start this cycle all over again. I will have a better grasp of my goals once I complete this year.

Aside from obligatory family time over the holidays, I have not spent much time socializing. I interact with so many people at work that I feel drained by the time that I get home. I often turn down invitations to socialize so that I may rest and prepare. I tend to make excuses for not going out, but the reality is that I don’t want to break the routine. I value my time in isolation too much; this is something that I am hoping to overcome but have no idea where to begin. I spend time with my roommates and occasionally see a friend on a weekday, but I have no compulsion to interact with people that are not conveniently close to me. Justifications like this make me question whether I have time to dedicate to relationships at all. Maybe I am too selfish with my time. Perhaps I need to be more willing to share it with others.

As it is, I feel like I am barely keeping it together. I can keep up with the bills, laundry, cooking, shopping, cleaning, washing, checking, prepping, planning, and paying to some extent. But I feel perpetually behind on my ever-growing to-do list.

The joys of adulthood.

I’m doing my best to be responsible and accountable, but I do find myself yearning for simpler times. I miss having an inconsequential job. I worked in the service industry for nearly ten years before signing this contract. The whole time that I was working those jobs, I was always looking for a way out. I finally got away from those meaningless jobs, and I am now nostalgic for the old routine. The pay was insignificant, the work was often stressful and unfulfilling, but the stakes were much lower. I planned on working a service job over the summer as a form of supplementary income. Service jobs also provide a friendly social atmosphere. I am apprehensive about working a job like that now. I’m concerned that I will become too comfortable and that I will stop pushing myself to be better. I need to be careful about how I approach a summer job opportunity.

There are several opportunities for me to use my teaching certification outside of the realm of public schooling. Although they will not come with equal pay or comparable benefits, they do come with some autonomy. Choice is something that I have been desperately craving as I grind out my daily routine. I will likely explore those routes when I have more time to think about it. Until then, I need to stay focused on the tasks at hand. I can’t afford to look too far ahead; I could lose sight of what is right in front of me.

I’m going to try to add writing back into my routine. At a certain point, writing felt like a chore. It felt like another box to check off on my to-do list. It was nice to break away for a while, but it is so much sweeter to return to it. I had moments during my hiatus when I was inspired to write but did not have the time or means to. I will try to start journaling my thoughts on topics so that my writing is less bland and repetitive. There is much more that I want to share in good time.

-Nobody