Tuesday, March 03, 2009

Problematic Mindset

It happened slowly, although probably not as slowly as it should have.  Had things gone merrily along their correct chronological course, I would be right where I'm supposed to be except that it would not be "now," it would be "later."

It all started just before February vacation.  I was sick almost the entire week before school break finally started.  Then vacation arrived in all its restful glory.  I was sick and on the couch for most of it.  But I was on vacation so I figured the glass was half full and let it go.  

School was scheduled to start last Monday, but we had a snow day.  That was OK.  I was still sick so I probably needed the rest.  I made it back to work once the roads were cleared and worked for three whole days.  But then I got really, really sick and had to stay home on Friday.  I rested some more.  

I got pretty good at resting.

Monday morning rolled around again, as Monday mornings are wont to do.  I didn't really worry about it, though.  Another storm was on the way and I was reasonably certain that I wouldn't be going to school.  My prediction came to pass and I decided that I should use the time to practice my newly discovered resting talents.  By now, I was resting at a professional level.  

I could nap at the drop of a hat.  I was able to, through sheer force of will and skill, ignore the pile of dishes teetering in the sink and could pass a lie detector test when asked if the laundry basket was empty.  I could pass that test while actually sitting atop the pile of less-than-fresh garments. I defy anyone to equal my level of knowledge regarding the daytime television schedule.  I was now a champion rester and nothing else mattered.

A mere month ago, I was a young (ish), vital (ish) career woman on the go (ish).  I had places to go and people to see.  My life was defined by my working schedule and the contributions I made as an educator and all-around productive member of the workforce.

Now, I think I may be a retired person.  

I found myself highly resentful of the working expectations today.  Of course, part of that was that I am only just starting my antibiotics and still not feeling quite up to par.  And I missed my narcotic cough syrup because what day isn't brightened by having your toes go numb right before you drop into a stupor and drool?

But it went deeper than that.  I truly felt that my being asked to get up, get dressed in clothing that involved waistbands and and eat breakfast in the car as opposed to doing so in my jammies while watching morning cartoons was unfair.  I wanted to get out of bed, have breakfast and then start marking time until lunch.  I wanted lunch to mean that it was almost time for my nap.  I was appalled to think that I might not be able to stroll to the restroom whenever I felt the urge to do so.  Or not.  As a retired person, I have the right to go to the restroom even if I don't really have to go.  Maybe I just want to look in the mirror and admire my retired self.  As a retired person, my schedule is my own and I can do with the hours as I please.  

I am good at being retired.  I am now fully enmeshed in the whole concept.  Which would be great if I were actually retired.  Or close to being retired.  Or close to being close to being retired.

I am none of those things.  But try and tell my inner retired person that.  She is ready to pack it up and head to Florida where she can wear flip flops and never again be told that she has to go check the girl's bathroom for missing students.  That is so totally not what I meant when I said I'd like to be able to use the restroom whenever I want.  

I have to accept that I am not retired, no matter what my brain is thinking.  I have to learn to embrace the working schedule.  Or, at the very least, stop slapping it away like a bad date.  To that end, I struggled to maintain the routine today.  I proctored the Maine Educational Assessments for the 7th graders and taught the 8th graders.  I pulled together a week's worth of lesson plans which should cover the class during this crazy week of testing as well as keep us going while I am sickly and my staff are having issues which may require them to be out of the classroom.  I monitored everyone until the buses arrived and didn't leave until I'd answered almost all of my email.  I came home and even rode the little exercise bike for 45 minutes because my short-lived retirement also involved a great deal of chocolate eating.  I knit another inch of sock as I pedaled, adding to my overall level of productivity for the day.

Then I took my antibiotics with a heaping side of codeine.  If I can't be retired for reals, then at least I can take a short vacation from reality.  I'm now buzzing pleasantly along and have almost sort of forgotten that I am not retired or that I have to somehow find the strength to do it all over again tomorrow.

I figure I should have myself all straightened out and back on schedule just in time for the spring break...

SA

12 comments:

Karen said...

You sound more cheerful and like you may feel a tiny bit better even if you aren't retired. Have you considered hitting the lottery? I've heard it's like early retirement if you can hit the big one.

trek said...

Where to begin? Never mind. I'm not touching this one.

Sleep well, Sheepie.

Kath said...

Having caught up on reading your last few posts I'd have to agree, you do sound better. But I have to wonder how much of that is due to the cough syrup? 'Cause that stuff is mighty fine....

Yarnhog said...

Well, at least now you know you're prepared for when actual retirement rolls around in about another three decades, right?

Knitting Linguist said...

I always feel this way right after the summer or spring break or (I suspect this is how I will feel this fall) after sabbatical. This career of mine is really getting in the way of my fiber time.

kmkat said...

This retired thing really is addictive. After I ended up taking three days off from the office last week, I found myself calling in on Monday morning just to inquire if there were any work for me to do. And hoping against hope that the answer would be no. But it wasn't, darn, so I had to get dressed and packed up and drive in to The Big City.

Maybe we can all go on strike.

April said...

It's all about the waistbands, if you ask me. That's the real beauty of being retired, never having to wear anything with a waistband ever again.

PICAdrienne said...

You can practice being retired in July and August, when you are not actually retired. Does that help?

Julie said...

It's just not fair that you aren't a retired person yet! Mainly because you are younger than me and if you were retired that would probably mean I was too. Not fair at all!

Lynne said...

Why can't we take our retirement now while we're young enough to enjoy it? ;-)

Beth said...

You exercised yesterday? You really must be feeling a little better!

Cursing Mama said...

It really is unfortunate that you can't get yourself into some kind of paying sleep study gig. I bet you'd be promoted to chief napper in no time.