So I’ve taken about two months off from blogging because I really wanted to focus on something important. My son, my youngest, was finishing his senior year in high school and I wanted to minimize my commitments to things outside of our family and his waning days as a senior. At first I felt the tug to keep up with Twitter chats, book groups, blogs, and professional development, but taking time to prioritize helped me realize how short and precious life is and reminded me that taking a pause is not the same as giving up interests and activities. I had the best time watching my boy finish strong and loved being in the moment for each moment.
I also became more aware of how FOMO (fear of missing out) can eat away at the joys we have right in front of us. Missing out on a great Twitter chat or a retirement party couldn’t compare to watching my boy play baseball or receive academic recognition. I let it go, let myself be fully in the present moment.
Summer is a season where FOMO can run rampant, especially with teachers and their friends. Because we have no flexibility in our time off, our vacation plans are condensed into these few weeks and months. We try to make the most of it with adventures, experiences, and even purchases. Every day I see posts from friends who are sharing the joys they are experiencing, and almost every day I see some response that says, “jealous”.
I know it may seem innocuous to many people, and this post may seem overly “PC” but I encourage us all to pause and seek a more supportive response for our friends and loved ones. Our envy or jealousy does not add to their joy or help lift them up. I know many of these comments are meant as a humorous reply, but then I notice how the encouraging comments such as, “so happy for you” or “love that your family had this adventure together” can better express how much we love and care about our friends and are truly happy for their well-being and joys.
Another consideration to these responses is how they affect us.
- Are we really jealous? If so, that’s something we can work to address-life is too short to live with the burden of envy. Comparing our lives with others’ crowds out our own feelings of gratitude–an important source of joy. Remember, people aren’t sharing their struggles as much as their happiness. No one’s life is accurately portrayed on social media and many aspects we would not be envious of at all.
- Are we just kidding? It may come off as passive-aggressive if it diminishes the joy of others. Do we find it humorous when we are on the receiving end of these comments? If we are going for humor, maybe we could put a little more creative effort into our responses.
Teachers often carry around a misguided guilt for having “so much time off” as it is. We hear, “must be nice” so much we often feel the need to rationalize our schedule and explain to others that we aren’t being paid for that time. We shouldn’t have to, but it is a reality.
I don’t want to shame anyone who has responded to others’ social media posts or conversations in this way. I have done it myself without much thought to how it might be received. I know this post may irk a few people who think I’m being overly-sensitive. That’s okay if it helps them think more about how our actions affect others, and ourselves. Our world needs more loving kindness and every small gesture we put out into it can create a ripple that is ever extending. Let’s be happy for one another. Let’s lift each other up. Let’s pause before we post. Let’s embrace an attitude of gratitude!
One More Off My TBR Stack
WHERE THE CRAWDADS SING by Delia Owens
Reading also took a back seat these past two months. I turned to audio books to feed my insatiable need-to-read. I downloaded this book on Audible and it drew me in right from the start! I cannot begin to tell you how much I LOVE this story and the character Kya who was slowly abandoned by each member of her family, starting with her mother, and left to survive in the swamps of North Carolina. She is befriended by Tate, who also lost his mother and he teachers her to read and encourages her passion in biology and botany of the marsh life. But in 1969, the handsome, womanizing, former football hero is found dead and the locals immediately suspect the mysterious “marsh girl”. The story weaves back and forth from Kya’s childhood to the trial that will determine her fate so seamlessly and suspensefully. Delia Owens love of nature paints a lush backdrop to this incredible story of heroic grit and survival. The Audible Audio version narrated by Cassandra Cambell is amazing!