Thursday, June 18, 2015

Summer Lethargy

I love summer. I'm not going to lie: one of the best things about being a teacher and living on a school schedule is that everything changes in the summer. I need that change. I've thought many times that I wouldn't do very well in a "regular" job that is basically the same schedule every day all year long for years and years. I need to switch things up in my life on a regular basis.

Notice, however, that I didn't say anything about getting my summer "off." In a sense, I do; but in another sense, I am still working. I have three new classes I'm teaching this fall that I have to read all the literature for and make plans for. I'm also helping with a week of VBS at our church, teaching a two-week drama camp at the end of July, and we're leaving tomorrow for a one-week vacation. And in August, I'll have another Bible study curriculum I'm supposed to write. Frankly, I'm starting to feel a little pressure that I'm not going to get it all done in time -- at least in time to feel like I'm doing it well, up to my own high standards for my teaching.

But as I said, at least things change in the summer. No getting up to an alarm. No packing lunches. I can sit and work outside if I want. My deadlines are self-imposed, for the most part, so I feel more in control of things. Life is so much more relaxing.

So, yeah . . . summer. It's not "time off", but it's "time different", and that's good for me.

To a degree.

I'm also finding, however, that other aspects of the summer "time different" are not to my benefit. I need routine. I need breaks from my routine occasionally, but then I really need to get back into routine. When I'm out of routine too long, I get lethargic . . . mentally and physically.

Lately I've found that I go to bed with a to-do list for the next day and a lot of enthusiasm about getting that stuff done. Because I really like getting things done. Productivity is an idol I have to be very cautious of; I tend to serve it and give it more value than is appropriate.

However, that's not a problem for me these days. I wake up in the morning and I'm dragging. I'm dragging myself into the kitchen to get a bite to eat. I'm dragging myself over to the laptop to check if something important came in overnight that I need to address. And then I'm dragging myself through my Facebook feed (which is much too addictive -- I've got to set some rules for myself about FB if I'm going to make it through the summer).

All my bedtime enthusiasm is gone. I look at that to-do list and everything looks like a drag . . .  or it looks overwhelming . . . or it looks like something I can't start quite yet because of this or that or the other . . . or it looks like something I need somebody else for and everyone else is unavailable . . . or it looks like something that really isn't that important to do right now . . . or . . . I'm full of excuses. And out of motivation.

I've been blaming this on the lousy sleep I've been getting; for a few weeks now, I've been waking up early and only drowsing through the wee hours of the morning. But I've started to wonder if even the lousy sleep is a consequence of my lack of schedule.

When the sun dawns on a whole day that is open and free, it feels ridiculous to impose a strict schedule on myself. But when I go to bed at night, I look back on the freedom of my day and see how I've abused it. I need a schedule. I've got to make it happen.

But it won't happen quite yet. Tomorrow we leave for vacation, and traveling has its own schedule. I may find time in that schedule for blogging, but I may not. So, in case I don't, enjoy this lovely week of June -- and get up and get something done!

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