So, I have another school year under my belt, and, in Jeff Probst-Survivor style, I have managed to stay on another year. It's my first fourth year (in a row) anywhere, so that feels pretty damn good. I'm also teaching two CTD classes (blended special ed and regular ed) next year, a nod to my special ed certification, so that also feels extremely gratifying. I know that I've put the work in and the higher-ups have recognized that and given me the chance to put my knowledge into practice--I feel supercharged already. Even now, while I'm still in teaching mode, I'm thinking of plans for the fall, what I'll change, what I'll keep, and it gets me excited. I guess that means I'm in the right profession.
The year had its ups and downs, as is always the case. I got to know some great colleagues and shifted away from others--not always because I chose to, but in life there's always that ebb and flow, and geography plays an enormous role, I think. For better or worse, simple proximity shapes our relationships; at least, I find that to be true. I realize it's not rocket science to see that working (or living) in the same room or across the hall from someone allows a relationship to grow. But what happens after that? After you've been shifted to another room or another floor or another city? Then the real work begins--you have to decide whether you want to stay in contact with that person and how much contact you want to have, and then you choose to make the effort to do so. I think the sad part is when you realize you put more stock in the relationship than the other person did...you want to make the effort but the other person doesn't. No matter how old we get, there's still that feeling of let-down, that secret "Why doesn't s/he like me as much as I like her?" thought. Of course, there's rarely an answer to this question, but then you have to figure out whether to continue making the effort and see if it's returned or simply move on to the friends who want to reciprocate.
It can be exhausting.
Nowadays we have wonderful technology to keep in touch, which narrows that distance. I love that I can communicate with people I love and miss through e-mail, Skype, this blog, and that old stand-by, the phone. It does help. Even then, though, you make the decisions: Whom do I send this e-mail forward to? How many people really want to hear about my latest "big" news? How many people do I care to tell directly? Why didn't she answer my text? I KNOW she got it. When did I become "Christmas card friends" with this person? Do I care or just let that one go?
Again, the exhaustion. It really does mean something--I realized this one time when, in my fifth attempt to get hold of a friend who either 1) rarely returned my calls or 2) tended to have all plans remain soft unless her Option A fell through (therefore making me Option B), T. said to me, "Honey, why are you wasting your time? Call the people who call you back." And the light bulb went on. So obvious yet so not. I took the advice and have felt a lot happier since.
This started out as a post about my school year wrap-up and took a totally different turn, but I think I can get it to circle around: I'm always going to act friendly and nice to those I work with because that's who I am. I don't see a point in blowing anyone off or treating anyone shabbily unless given a serious reason to do so, and even then I would remain civil. But I have to accept that some people will accept my friendship and make the effort and others won't, and that has nothing to do with me, 95% of the time. It's that person's decision. Really, this post has a lot to do with self-esteem, something I recently realized I lack. I have always been my harshest critic, but I think this summer I plan to love myself a bit more and surround myself with others who will help with that.
Suggestions are welcome. I took a self-defense course a few weeks ago (YOU ALL SHOULD DO THIS. IT WAS AWESOME AND SO EMPOWERING!!!!!), and I'm doing a follow-up next month. I'll phone some friends who will phone me back. I'll plan for the fall. I may do more yoga and just let me be me.
But right now the screened-in porch and the rest of my John Irving are calling my name, so I'll stop ruminating and begin enjoying the weekend. You do the same, my dears.