My life has changed so much and I’ve had so many cool opportunities, that it feels like I’ve been at a casino buffet.  TOO MUCH ON MY PLATE!      I’ve overextended.  Thought I could handle it.  But stress levels are unacceptably high. But in my defense, I didn’t do it on purpose.  I just forgot to anticipate the stupid work stuff that gets in the way of life stuff.  And I underestimated the level of stress I’d feel for some of the life stuff I knew was coming.  And then there is the unexpected life stuff.  And I also underestimated how my heavy training would drain my energy reserves each day…and on and on and …well you know.  We’ve all done this at some point – loaded that plate WAY too full.  Literally and figuratively. Part of my self-care for the last three years has been to NOT power through.  It’s been to throttle back before the stress reaches a critical point.

 So it’s time to prioritize and simplify.  This means I’m going to drop some of those oranges on purpose.  Probably not the ones you see in the pic.  The ones in the back.

Priority #1: “Home/Life”  This doesn’t include housework or anything drastic like that (that I’m sure my hubby would like me to do).  And it doesn’t include gardening or home improvements – although I am semi-seriously considering tearing up the lawn in our small backyard to plant veggies and raise chickens since I’m certain food prices over the next four years will not be going down.  This includes things that Hubby and I need to do.  Things like “taxes” would fall into this category.  But so do things like “Christmas”, “Laundry”, and “Grocery Shopping”.

Priority #2: “Training “  Hubby probably thinks this is my #1, but it’s not.  I deal with stress by sticking to my exercise and nutrition routines.  My brain is always processing something from Priority #1.  I’ve set the date for the next competition – June 22, 2013.  I actually want to do two shows next summer, even though I have no idea how I’m going to pay for it. Somehow it will come together.  And by “summer”, I mean “July” because our school schedule has changed so that we only have 6 weeks off before the new school year starts.   Besides my actual training, this category includes the time I spend working with Coach.  Sometimes it’s getting coached.  Other times, it’s me coaching others with their fitness nutrition programs.  I’m putting my eggs in this basket, so to speak, because online coaching is compatible with my full time job.

Priority #3: “Teaching/Full time Day Job”  I am in love with my students.  Amazing kids.  I don’t really care if I do everything the adults around here think I should do.  The phrase that gets bantered around when someone is skipping a meeting or not being a good team player is that’s not professional.  Well, I really can’t afford to care.  I played the game for 15 years.  I have advanced degrees and certifications.  I have awards.  And none of that matters.  Every year, it’s the same BS.  And this year, there is new BS piled on top of the same BS.  (I am five or six years away from retirement – maybe.  It all depends on the economy.  I am a public school teacher and our state has been taking things away from retirees for the last few years.  There may not be much left to live on in my retirement package when it’s my turn.)  What matters are my students.  Are they learning?  Are they challenged?  Are they surviving in college?  That’s what matters.  I have goals for them and ideas about how to help them do better.  Everything else is a distraction.  I know what I need to do and I need time to get it done.  Like that batch of calculus quizzes I need to grade that I’ve carried around for three weeks.

Not-Quite a Priority #4: “Online Stuff”  There is another collaborative project I want to contribute more to, but I can’t.  No time.  I will contribute a little, but my time is so limited.  (The only reason I ‘m taking time to write this post is because my students are taking their midterm exam right now.  I’m typing and giving them the “evil teacher eye” at the same time.)

I’m not happy about it, but I’m going to have to break some promises I’ve made to do some things.  I will do what I can to make the situations right and hope I don’t burn any bridges.   I have a plan.  All I can do is be honest and open and hope people will understand.  (They always do.  I just don’t like being human.)

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