Tuesday, July 16, 2019

Tuesday Slice: Discombobulated

adjective: discombobulated
  1. confused and disconcerted.
    "he is looking a little pained and discombobulated"

--Google search result

I never really achieved a summer mindset this year
Work tasks always looming, even if left undone
Decluttering my house, not a favorite pastime
Too many decisions to be made to be enjoyable

There were a few hours, here and there
Where I lived in the present moment
Enjoying the company I kept
Swept up in the conversations

Morning meditations of mere minutes
When I focused on my breathing, the ticking of the clock
Present, until a rude thought interjected
Often a snarky reminder of some unfinished project

My Achilles' heel-- a propensity to procrastinate 
Especially when overwhelmed, or feeling put out
As the marching on of time gets louder
Trampling over the anxiety, the resentment

Forcing me to complete some tasks, meet others' deadlines
But the discontent still lingers
With no one to blame but myself
Summer coming to an end, with little to show for it.

It was easy to plan summers when my children were little.  They were filled with places to go--parks and playgrounds, the library, the neighborhood pools.  We visited museums, monuments, and out-of-town family.  I didn't schedule every waking minute, but planned enough activities to fill their summer weeks with arts and crafts, music, reading, and outdoor time.  It was fun, and relaxing, making memories together.

As I'm writing this out, I realize...I need to do this for myself.  Now if only I can remember to do so, in the busy-ness of the school year, and that mad end-of-year rush that leaves us breathless and discombobulated as we slide into our summer break.  I'll print this out and stick it in the March section of my planner, so I don't feel the need to write a repeat of this post next July.


  1. Always take time to smell the roses. As for the work issues, the best experience I had was learning to do this - When I got home I walked up to the tree in the front yard and touched a leaf for every unsolved issue of the day. Then I went inside for a peaceful evening and a good nights sleep. The next morning, before driving off to work, I go to the tree and pick up those issues I left on the leaves. Yesterday is history - Today is the church of the here and now - and tomorrow is a mystery. One more - Always do right - this will satisfy 50% of the people and upset the rest!!!! Have a great day. Love Ya, Dad.

    1. I totally do this during the school year, Dad; don't have a problem leaving work at work. But any teacher will tell you that it's damn near impossible to do our jobs in the time allotted, which means doing work over our summer "vacation". Even folks who did go places and had fun posted pictures of cutting out laminated classroom materials on their road trips. Such is the current state of education.

  2. Oh my, did I feel this! I always have these grandiose ideas of how I want my summers to look, and then I get frustrated with my procrastination. Trying baby steps to keep growing. I appreciate this post. Thank you.

    1. It's good to know i'm not the only one, Sara. Social media pics of everyone's grand vacations didn't help one bit, either. Not that I want to keep up with the Joneses...just wistfully thinking.

  3. I think we all need reminders to take time to slow down and enjoy ourselves, with or without our kids (after they've grown). My youngest of 3 boys is headed into his final year of high school and I will need to heed my own word (and yours too). Slow down, enjoy the moments. Work will always have unfinished tasks. Try to leave them there so you can savor the rest of your life.

    1. Thank you, Carol, for your words of encouragement as well! Enjoy that time with your youngest.

  4. ear Chris - your post hits home in, like, a hundred places. As I read your poem, I thought about all the pressure on educators, of how much more we put on ourselves. All that should be done, that we should be doing... a colleague-friend of mine once told me not to "should" on myself. TRUTH. Like you, I always think I will get so much done for work AND home during the summer, as the school year is often such a hamster wheel. (Now, as I type, I am suddenly picturing the GIF where the hamster, running madly, accidentally goes flying off ...) There has to be some rest in there somewhere, real rest, physical and mental. Holistic rest. I recall some of your slices during the year, ones of exhaustion, being unable to sleep, and why do I recall these? Because, again, they hit home. Their truths stick. I will not leave any advice here as to what you should/should not do, because, in my thinking, one ought not "should" on a friend either -!! But I will say just this: As we sail into yet another school year (ready or not, here it comes), as the days grow shorter and darker, as layer upon layer of duties, expectations, deadlines, obligations pile up, as our minds grow weary and numb, as icy paralysis sets in ... let us do more than look for bits of "eternal summer" that "reigns about the bright city of War Drobe" (yes, you know I'm making a to Narnia here) - and make some magic happen. That might be 1) a mental health day here or there or 2) a whole-day nap here or there or 3) Both 1 and 2! What are sick days for??!! or 4) None of the above but something creative, affirming, restorative ... not advice, just an idea about how we could make some "summer" happen when and where it doesn't typically exist, and maybe when it's actually most needed. Last but not least - I absolutely treasure this comment discourse with your Dad. Makes me miss mine.:) Thank you for your courage in sharing this raw & real slice. Your honesty always carries profound comfort. Truly.

    1. Fran, I am taking your reply to heart, and am already considering which days to take off this coming school year. I also attended two sessions on "Teacher Wellness" during our summer PD. I am also beginning plans for next summer, so that it doesn't "catch me by surprise" again!

  5. *that's "making a NOD to Narnia" - it's storming here and my Internet is blinking off and on ... had to keep copying this comment to keep it from being lost ...

  6. For a moment, I thought you had written this poem about me. I feel what you are saying. I also feel the pressure of my days dwindling down and the dread of climbing back into the hamster wheel. I am trying to mindfully enjoy each moment that I have left.

    1. I hope you are able to recharge during these last days, Tracy!

  7. Oh, how did I miss this post last week? I sit here today, feeling bowled over by summer, like I'm missing opportunities right and left and... Whoa!--I just missed another potential moment to recharge/refresh! I can so relate to your post. Ironically, there's such pressure attached to our summers. Even if we weren't doing PD, or planning, we're still frantically trying to cram in all the rest and relaxation. lol How ridiculous is that!? The comment threads are wonderful here. I love your Dad's tree touching and Fran's comment with its idea to make some "summer" happen during the winter. Oh, and I totally am with you on that "propensity to procrastinate"--especially when feeling overwhelmed. Thanks so much for sharing.

    1. Molly, I'm glad this post resonated with you! It does seem ridiculous, doesn't it, the anxiety over cramming relaxation in...never seems to work. I hope we both find some ways to relax and enjoy ourselves the remainder of this summer and into the school year.