Incredible Busyness

I’m a very busy person. It’s something that I’m used to, because I really don’t do well with boredom. Even my vacations are pretty eventful affairs. I’m either with my family, spending the majority of my time playing with my nieces, or packing up and driving across the country to visit a friend who I haven’t met in person before. Having nothing to do kind of horrifies me.

This is my first year as a classroom teacher. For the past two years, I’ve alternated as a waiter and a substitute teacher here in Baltimore. Most of the time the two jobs overlapped, and I’d come home from subbing only to turn around, put on my uniform, and work the closing shift at a restaurant. Every now and then I would say “enough” and take a hiatus from either job. I’d tell my manager not to put me on the schedule for a few weeks, or I wouldn’t pick up my phone when the secretaries from all the surrounding schools went through the list of available substitutes. I mean, I was exhausted, and keep in mind that I was also taking night classes for my master’s program a few times a week. But even then, I couldn’t stay away from both jobs for too long. True, finances were a factor, but ultimately I didn’t know what to do with myself on my nights off.

I said that I struggled with depression about a year ago. I think working so much helped me get over it, especially since I didn’t really do any formal counseling or treatment. (By the way, don’t be an idiot like me. If you’re struggling with depression, go see somebody. I was a fool not to and it’s only by the grace of God that things got better on their own before they got really bad.) Working brought me outside of myself. They aren’t glamorous jobs by any means, and they have their share of attached horror stories, but waiting tables and substitute teaching can also be really fun. They put you in contact with a wide variety of new people almost every single day, and they allow you to reinvent yourself constantly. They force you be charming, personable and authoritative.

They also provide great personal contacts, waiting especially. I’ve met several good friends by bringing them their cheap beers and appetizers. That’s also how I met the secretary of the first school I ever subbed for. She helped get me that job, and through that job, I ended up making friends with a fellow employee who helped me get my current, permanent position.

Long story short, being busy has been good for me, and this semester will be no exception to the rule. It’s my first year as a classroom teacher, which means that every night I have to create lesson plans for my students. Unlike more experienced teachers, I don’t have a nice big filing cabinet full of old lessons to choose from. It’s also my last year in graduate school, and my thesis is due in December. It’s already mostly written, but the revising process is a pain. Nevertheless, I’m excited about it. (I’m especially excited about being done!)

Blogging might seem a strange thing to take back up in the midst of all this incredible busyness, but I recall that I was just as busy in college when I maintained my other blog. I was one of those kids who was in every club, worked every campus job, went to every social event he was invited to and still got A’s (don’t hate). I also maintained a moderately-successful blog and a ton of personal contacts. I think what helped was that, unlike recently, blogging gave my “free time” a structure. Instead of mindlessly waltzing around Facebook, not realizing where the time was going, I would go online, write something and respond to some emails. Then I’d close my laptop and do the actual work I had to do.

So even though I’m incredibly busy, I hope this blog will help keep me task-oriented throughout this year. However, if you email me or leave a comment and wonder why I don’t respond right away, I still get to use busyness as an excuse!

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