Teaching Profession Opinion

Valuing Time: The One Commodity We Can’t Change

By Starr Sackstein — June 13, 2019 3 min read
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There is never of it.

Of all the resources we have available to us, time is the most valuable. What we give our time to tells the best story of what is most important to us individually and collectively.

It is because of the concrete nature of time, that most of us spend our lives in conflict seeking balance in where we give our attention. As an educator, before I had a family, it was easy. One hundred percent of my waking hours (and sometimes sleepings ones) were allocated to being great at helping my students.

It felt right.

Once I got married and had a child of my own, the waters were muddied. How could I continue to be all in at work and also be all in at home?

When I went through my divorce, it was easier. My son was still really young, and being at work helped me stay focused and good about what I was doing. Anyone who has gone through a divorce knows there is nothing easy about it. However, if you have a work family to support you, the hard days are a little less challenging. My work family embraced me and my son, who spent many days at school with me in the care of my colleagues and students. They watched him grow as I did.

In those years at my old school, I split my time between growing as an educator, sharing my ideas, connecting with my PLN, and building a worthwhile community with my students and my son, who were growing, too.

The older I get, however, and my priorities change, the places I spend my time adjust accordingly.

Building relationships with people and being my best self at home as a mom and a wife, at work as an educator, colleague, and leader has been a struggle because something always seems to be out of harmony. Taking care of my own needs gets swallowed up inside of my obligations and responsibilities, and that doesn’t make for the most fulfilled life.

Being an educator is truly a gift. Most of us give our lives to it tirelessly, selflessly even, but it doesn’t have to be that way. We don’t have to be Mother Theresa, we can just be us, dedicate the time needed, knowing that we each deserve to feel full in our whole lives.

After living through the current recovery process after my surgery, I’ve had so much time to think because I couldn’t really do anything else. I’ve honestly never laid so still for so long. It has been challenging asking for help or even harder actually needing it. It has been humbling to have to let myself heal and accepting that I may not get a lot of things accomplished in one day.

When you are a “do-er”, like I am, inactivity feels like wasted time, but I have learned recently that it isn’t so. When we are forced to slow down, we must take stock of what matters most and cater to it, and then the harmony that we seek can happen.

Although it has been hard for me to sit still and focus on taking care of myself, it was essential. I truly believe that everything happens for a reason, so instead of fighting what is evident, it makes so much more sense to ride the wave and see where it takes us.

That’s why we must feel it all. Allow our sense to be completely present with each feeling, immersing ourselves in the lives of our choosing.

My husband defines “mindfulness” as being present now. For me, that means to fully experience whatever you choose to be doing while you’re doing it. This will free us to not focus on things that are outside of our control in that moment but also help us enjoy and/or experience whatever emotion is happening now.

Too often in my life, I have focused on the next best thing. Constantly striving for what comes next in a long line of successive events that are supposed to bring me to some kind of plateau. But what if that is just a cat and mouse game that eats up my entire life chasing?

There comes a time when we all must make a choice about what we do, when we do it and how, and then choose to live or keep looking for something else.

I choose now.

What do you choose? Please share

*picture made using pablo.com

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