Today, it is very true. You don’t want to hear from me. I am not good today. I am tired, I am feeling a little stressed, I am worried. I am clearly not at my best. But today is a chance to look in on someone who has not done what is necessary to be at their best. Today I can tell you what it is like to have neglected balance.
My principal, Carolyn Cameron, has been on me for some time to be cognizant of what I need to maintain the balance that will keep me effective at my job, and in my life. I coach basketball at a small local University, often get home after midnight from practice, and struggle to get to bed before 1 or even 2 in the morning. During basketball season we practice and/or play 6 days a week. I have a one year old daughter who has, at times, found 3:30am a great time to get up and play. I find it hard to find time for her and for my wife when I get busy, and the guilt can be tough. I rarely exercise as I am often tired or unwilling to make the effort. Sometimes the lack of sleep, the strain of living in two worlds, and the difficulty with feeling like a good father/husband wear me out.
Busy has always been my style. I rarely say no to an opportunity, I am always looking for more challenges and I look at sleep, and even eating regularly, as “hopes” not “musts”. I have paid for it. I get sick more than most people, I get run down and ineffective for short stretches and I can neglect important parts of my life more than I should. I have never had the impetus to make lasting changes because it has never caused me too much grief. I still believe I am good at my job, I believe I am able to make time for the ones I love, and the only one that suffers is me. I always thought Carolyn was right, but I also thought it would never really catch up with me.
This week, it has caught up with me, and because of that I have learned the most important lesson about balance I believe I ever will learn:
If you aren’t in balance, you never know when it will affect you, but eventually it will affect you when you can least afford it.
We are only two days from the beginning of Innovation Week 2, tomorrow I am presenting to our school’s parent community about our plans for technology, my daughter currently has chicken pox (and is miserable), and our school is winding down the year and enjoying all the usual fun that goes with that (PC enough for you?). This is the time I NEED to be at my best. This is the time balance is crucial. I guess I am lucky to have gotten by for this long without it really biting me in the behind, but I sure hope this lesson will stick with me. It’s time for me to make changes, well actually its long overdue.
How do you ensure balance in your life as an educator? As your job, or family situation changed, how did you make the appropriate adjustments? Have you had similar experiences with balance? I would love to hear some feedback, if not for my learning, to know there are others out there who have dealt with this as well. Now… off to bed!