Everything happens for a reason, right?  You may not believe that, but I do.  I believe that if it’s not a blessing, it’s a lesson – if something is “off” in my life, if something isn’t working, there is something I need to learn.  The “Great Birthday Funk of Year 54” certainly hasn’t felt like a blessing.  Must be a BIG lesson I’m having trouble learning.  I’ve already shared one thing I’ve learned-I think I’m what is called a “highly-sensitive-personality” – which means my brain processes things differently.  Not sure how much of that was hard-wired from birth, but I would bet that being a teacher, having to observe and listen to 30+ kids every hour for 20 years will change the brain to be able to process a mass amount of stimulation every minute without going nuts. (Which is one reason why teacher-interns are so tired.  Most people do not have to process as much input as a teacher.)  I will not notice some things – husband will move something in the yard and I’ll notice it weeks later.  But I will notice things other people miss.  And I’ll ruminate on them.  If I’m feeling a bit blue, I’ll notice things that will feed that funk monster.

OK, sure – getting sick may have been prolonged my funk a bit because I may have been fighting off that virus for a while before I knew I had it.  It’s also likely that getting sick may have been a consequence of the internal stress I felt.  My immune system needs to work pretty darn hard because of how I train (especially during times of slightly restricted calories) and because of what I do for a living – teach geometry to sophomores. (Can I get an “Amen” from my fellow high school teachers?)  Getting sick was probably a logical outcome from being exposed to sick teenagers when that immune system was stretched a bit thin.  However, getting sick meant I couldn’t workout, so couldn’t work through stress.  That meant I indulged the birthday funk longer than I usually let funks last.  I don’t mind being a bit pissy from time to time, but letting myself get run down so I couldn’t lift, well, that’s just unacceptable.  Time to Work. The. Problem.

What can I [Ctrl]?  What can I alter [Alt]?  What can I [Delete]?  Seems like a good process to do every so often, doesn’t it? A little “reboot”?

I decided that I may not be able to [Ctrl] some things, but I can control many things.  For a few days, I paid attention to what was happening around me that triggered negative emotions.  I wanted to find things I could change.  We all have negative things we must deal when we are doing important work.  For example, on any given day, working with a teenagery teenager IS important to me.  Out of the 170 kids I see every couple of days, any one of them can have a bad day and some have many bad days.  I can’t help that.  I have learned how to work with them without internalizing their negativity, but it does take a lot of patience and it can drain my reserves for things that happen away from work.  So the TV in the weight area of my gym that is set on a channel that plays UFC highlights every morning was something that I saw as a negative, but might be something that could be fixed, right?  I asked for it to be changed and it was… for about a week.  I must be in the minority of members who use that part of the gym who think watching people do violence on each other at 4 am every morning is unpleasant.  And that’s OK.  (It’s like strawberry ice cream.  I don’t like strawberry ice cream.  Many people do.  No judgments. No worries.  I won’t eat it.  Problem solved.)   If it bothers me and it cannot be changed, I will change something I do [Ctrl].  I made an [Alt].  This week, I used the gym that is closer to work instead of the gym closer to home (same gym, different locations) on the days it was convenient to do so.  Honestly, I like that I have this option.  So this wasn’t just a negativity to [Delete], but also a nice change.

Controlling the negativity is also part of classroom management.  Teenagery teenagers can fuel each other’s negativity, which is almost all directed at me, the math teacher.  New seating charts work wonders!  I don’t just move the  kids, I move the desks.  I rearrange the furniture to increase the efficiency of whatever the activity will be that day.  I also spent some time thinking about repetitive tasks I do and found ways to make them more efficient.  Boom.  More negativity to [Delete].

What else can I [Ctrl]?  Too much time on social media.  Too much thinking about what to post on social media and monitoring comments.  Too much fitness/soft porn on Instagram, which just got on my “what the hell are you thinking” social justice nerve.  And one single minute spent with negativity on social media is a waste of time that could be spent in the real world doing something joyful.  I can [Ctrl] oodles of that.  So for the time being, Instagram has been deactivated [Delete].  I reorganized ( an [Alt]) my personal Facebook page a little so I can [Ctrl] who sees what I post.  My Lifting My Spirits page is almost always a positive place to hang out, but it has been a lot of work to keep posting content and monitoring comments to keep things positive.  I will post a little less often.  People don’t really need to watch me do lat pulldowns twice a week.  And I’m allergic to selfies.   Anyone with a page knows we have to deal with trolls occasionally – fewer posts will reduce my exposure to that unpleasant task.  It’s like picking up dog poop in the back yard.   More negativity to [Delete]!  I’m not bothered by what they say, but by the incomprehensible rationale as to why they give themselves permission to say it.  It’s annoying.  I don’t have an obligation to be exposed to that.  It diminishes my energy.

These [Alt]s have been a little bit of an adjustment.  Not being on Instagram has made me feel a bit disconnected, but that’s OK.  I can contact my friends directly if I want to know what they ate for lunch.  🙂

Today is the first day of our spring break from school.  It’s a beautiful day.  Just hung my first load of laundry out for the season.  I feel light and joyful.  [Ctrl][Alt][Delete] is a good process.

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