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When Life Gives You Lemons…

You quickly pack a bag and take a 4-hour drive to East Tennessee for the weekend.

It’s late at night when I’m writing this, the day after I stayed out on a school night to attend a concert and hours after wandering around a college campus for a school field trip. Bare with me if my words don’t make sense (more than normal).

Something I am learning to deal with when it comes to life is celebrating the new level I’ve upgraded to because there is still a whole bunch of crap to come with it. Like, I’m trying to practice gratitude because I am finally in a career I think I’m good at and enjoy; at the same time, it’s barely been a month, and I’ve already ran away to escape.

When life gives me too many lemons to where the lemonade starts to taste bitter, I stop trying to make lemonade and start looking for new ingredients. To find those new ingredients, I take a weekend trip out of town. I am fortunate to have the privilege to do this, even though I can rarely financially afford it.

Still, sometimes it takes getting away to realize how incredibly blessed you are. Yes, there are squirrels scratching/chewing their way through my bedroom walls, but at least I have a couch to crash on. Yes, teaching freshmen is like teaching kindergarteners, but at least I have seniors to showcase genuine maturity. Yes, the school I work at has its major down points, but at least it showed me where my passions lie and all the capabilities burried within me.

Being in East Tennessee means having at least seven different relatives ask me how things are going, and instead of ranting about how frustrating it is that cell phones have taken over the minds of teenagers, I find myself expressing some of the goodness that comes with this new endeavor. I genuinely believe if I did not take a moment to leave town, my mindset would be the same. It truly takes getting away to appreciate all that is happening, despite the craziness.

Looking for new ingredients, if we’re sticking with the lemonade metaphor, also helps you realize how much you’ve neglected yourself. I knew I was tired, but my body was on the verge of literally collapsing. My body was not getting the necessary sleep it needed; it’s still recovering from eating one meal a day and not receiving water in a few months. I didn’t realize how classroom/career oriented I’ve become until I started the drive to East Tennessee and began racking my brain for how I was going to do nothing tomorrow. I’ve forgotten what doing nothing looks like for me, and I hope this weekend brings that back to me.

Yes, sometimes you can’t completely escape work. Low key, I already have Monday’s lesson plan cooking inside my brain and am thinking about the grades that need to be updated before the next progress reports. Still, we must be able to shut our brains off and let ourselves simply be for at least a day.

So, in an effort to shut myself down, I took the lemons life gave me and decided it was time to look for new ingredients before I could make my spicy lemonade. If able, I encourage you to take a weekend to get away when things get to the point of being almost unbearable, if they’re not already to that point.