Pages

Wednesday, October 18, 2017

Disconnecting

I got my first iPhone in 2009, after about 3 minutes I thought "How did I ever live without this?!" and I have been hooked since. You can spout your love of your Androids and how much better they are, but I am not listening. Maybe it's just because I feel like I'm too tired to learn something new, but I can't imagine ever having something other than an iPhone.

Now don't get me wrong, I am not saying I am getting the new $1000 version, but I do love my iPhone. It's pretty cool that I have a camera in my pocket and that I can catch up with friends (and enemies) far and near by just tapping an app. My abundance of email accounts and social media apps, coupled with my OCD kicking in whenever I see ANY little red number on an app means I am on my phone a lot. Like A LOT, A LOT.

As long as I have been giving PDs for teachers (read: 12 years) I have said some version of "And if you have any questions, feel free to email me. I will probably get back to you within the hour unless I am at Commonwealth Stadium." And this was pretty true. As soon as my email buzzed, I answered. Once I woke up in the middle of the night and picked up my phone to see what time it was, and saw an email, which I promptly replied to. The next day, the teacher stopped me and said "Do you ever sleep?"

My one exception to this has always been vacation. When I am actually ON vacation my email is OFF on my phone. It's the only way I can relax. I turn it off, I don't think about it, and when I get back to work after the week, I deal with the consequences of my choice.  Or as my former 4th grade teacher self would put it, the opportunity cost for having it off for a week at the beach is being chained to my desk for the first three hours back going through the 200 emails that have come in.

Last week was our Fall Break. Last week, I took a vacation and went to Pennsylvania for some much needed E&J time (and some E&J&J&J time).  When I came back to work on Monday, I spent the better part of the morning sorting, replying, fixing, and deleting. At around lunch time, I realized I hadn't turned it back on on my phone yet. And I made a decision.

I'm not doing it.

I am not turning my work email back on on my phone.

Monday and Tuesday, I was in my office all day, so during the day it was a moot point...or as Joey Tribbiani would say:

via GIPHY

However, today I was out of the office from 8-3 doing Learning Walks in some of our schools with the leadership teams from our schools and central office. I didn't bring my laptop, our Learning Walks are old school take notes on paper deals, so I didn't need it. Plus, I figured that I was with most of the people who would need something from me anyway.  The most interesting part of the day was in the hallways between classroom visits, in the school media centers during breakfast/lunch/breaks, basically any time we weren't watching a teacher and filling out our Plus/Delta sheets, every single administrator I saw was on his or her phone. Every. Single. One. It's funny the things you notice when you are NOT on your phone.

Hear me out, I am not judging, because I was that person just a couple of weeks ago. But I just don't want to be that person anymore. When I got to my office today, it had been approximately 22 hours since I had checked my email, and the building was still standing! I had 36 emails in my inbox, and another dozen or so in subfolders (thank you inbox rules). Nothing in there was too crucial (I fancy myself pretty important, but no one's going to die because CoolMathGames is blocked). Plus, I know that the most important people in my school district have my cell phone number and would text me anyway. Also, to be perfectly honest, there were a couple of emails in my inbox that had I seen them, they would've changed my attitude and put me in a bad mood all day today...and no one wants that to happen.

So, at least for the time being, if you e-mail me after 5pm, expect an answer in the morning.  As I told a friend tonight, I don't have a husband and kids I spend my evening with, but I do have a Deacon, and sometimes, I just have a couch I want to lay on.



Friday, July 21, 2017

Sunsets

I've seen the sun rise on water several times. The first time I watched the sun rise at the beach, I was at Hilton Head. We woke up and it was already light out and we thought we'd missed it. But the light comes first, then the tip of the sun, then it pushes out of the water and the waves dance with all the colors of a new day. It's always refreshing, invigorating. It always makes me want to say "Thank you God for waking me up this morning and giving me the chance to try again" (which is something I try to say every morning, but it seems more heartfelt when you're watching the sun peak over the horizon). This year, I was blessed to watch the sun rise on the ocean at Jacksonville Beach on New Years Day, and I was immediately filled with hope for the possibilities to come in 2017.

 My Bucket List also contains watching the sun set on water. I've been close a few times, in San Diego, in Clearwater, Florida, and now in Pensacola, but I've never quite made it. There's always a house or a cloud or a peninsula jutting out in my way. They're always still lovely, even though I've not seen the water light up like a fire as the sun tucks its head away for the night. But it's not as exciting, is it? While the sunrise seems full of promise, the sunset seems to taunt me, whispering "Another day is gone. What do you have to show for it?"

Some days I think my answer would be "Nothing." Logically that's probably not true, but some days it feels like I'm just going through the motions with not a lot to show for it.

But on this particular day, my answer is a few more freckles, sandy toes, a full stomach, and several new pictures on my camera roll.

I think that's enough for today.

We'll see what I have to say to Mr. Sunset tomorrow.




Monday, July 17, 2017

Conversations

Contradicting the laws of what I think should be true, but confirming the laws of mathematics, my 20 year high school reunion was this weekend. While it was a low turnout (class of 97, if you are reading this, I vote Keeneland for our 25th), it was a fun night with familiar faces, laughing about old times until the wee hours of the morning.

I had stumbled across this picture a few days before the event, taken the summer between high school and college on our way to the Carter County Fair. Inspired by dozens of sibling sets I have hilariously seen do this on Pinterest, I wanted to recreate this picture after the reunion. 
If you're wondering why this is a circle, all I can think is it was the 90s and I probably had a circular frame it was in...or just it was the 90s.
When I texted this to the always active group text with Megan and Jen(ny), Megan replied "I am not making that face." To which I corrected her "Yes you are. That's what recreating the picture means." And she did it because I am bossy and maybe she is still scared of me a little. Anyway, we didn't make it back in front of that house, and sadly that 1989 Prelude (that you can't really see but that I know is in the background) is long gone, but we did end up with this:

Now, if you are friends with me on social media, you've already seen this, because I posted it immediately. It honestly might be one of my favorite things of all time. I can't help but smile whenever I see it. How has it been twenty years since that top picture? TWENTY YEARS?! I don't get it. As I was looking at this picture over and over every time a notification popped up, I was thinking about the difference in those girls. And not just the few grey hairs and wrinkles that we might be covering up, but the deep down differences too. Not to be too Brad Paisley over here, but if those girls at Grayson Lake could sit down with those girls on West Main Street, what would that conversation look like?

Maybe something like this...

Enjoy the moment you're in. Even if you don't want to be in that moment forever, enjoy it while it's here. 
Travel more. Spending money on experiences is much better than spending money on "stuff." You already have plenty of stuff.
Stop worrying. 
Stop obsessing about your make up. (Your college roommate is going to tell you that everyone looks basically the same without make up and with. You're going to think she's insane. At age 38, you will believe her.) 
Stop comparing yourself to other girls. You are different. Different is good. You weren't created to be them, you were created to be you. 
Stop overanalyzing.  
Stop and take a walk (you're going to wish you started getting those 10,000 steps a day a lot earlier than you did). 
Stop and look around.
Listen to the birds. 
Listen to your friends. 
Listen to your heart. If that little voice tells you he's not the one, guess what? He's not. LISTEN.
Call people you care about. Even when this thing comes along called texting and you never "have to" talk on the phone, it's good to hear each other's voices.
Stand up for what you believe in.
If you don't want to do something, don't do it. And don't think you have to have an excuse, you don't. Just don't do it.
Tell that boy you think he's cute. Boys are slow sometimes, he might not be catching on.
If it's not something you can talk to your mom about, then you probably shouldn't be doing it.
When the credit card bill comes, pay it off every month (or at least pay more than the minimum payment).
Speaking of money, in 7 years, this thing called Google is going to start selling shares for $85 each. Buy some of those.

Oh, and I know unlike these other two girls, you weren't ever a Girl Scout, but I know you've heard them sing the song "Make new friends, but keep the old, one is silver and the other gold." Take that to heart. These girls will be there for you when no one else will. There will be times you are completely convinced there's no one in the world who even notices you besides them. The next 20 years will be much more eventful than the first ten or so since you met. You'll be there for each other for big things-amazing things and devastating things. You'll hold one another up when one of you can't stand. You'll pray the prayers for one another when one of you is too tired or sad or overwhelmed to even muster the words on her own. There will be a day when you will get to meet their husbands and then, hold their babies, and those moments will be precious. Realize what you've got here, and hold on tight, even when life pulls you apart. In the end, it will be worth it.