School has started. Routines are solidifying, I’m waking up before the sun, late nights are impossible.
Everything feels centered again. I’ve missed this; over the summer, I don’t always feel necessary. I like to make sure my time is spent in a meaningful way. When I’m here, working, I feel like I am giving to people. I wake up every day feeling like my job is special and worthwhile and lovely.
My birthday was last week and with the start of school and the start of my 27th year (WHEN DID THIS HAPPEN?) I have tried to remain aware of the blessings I’m surrounded with and the lessons I’ve learned. I’m trying to cultivate an attitude of gratitude, because when I do I feel at peace. It’s much more satisfactory to live in a world you are grateful for rather than a place you resent.
So some gratitude. I have a full schedule this year and my time at work flies by, filled with students who are quirky and funny and clever and really quite beautiful. They say funny things and are vulnerable and strong all at once and run towards life. These kids want experiences and crave good conversation and learning; they see the magic in books and silly songs and they make me see the world as if it was new.
I’ve had a chance to finish classes this summer and have applied for my middle school endorsement which means I’ll soon be able to apply for actual middle school teaching jobs. I have the chance to see my middle schoolers from my summer mission trip and my 8th grade group of girls from church and I love them deeply. They are filled to overflowing with energy and potential and pain and confusion all at once and they are ready to change the world around them.
My life is also surrounded by a family that, while small, is full of love and sarcasm and joy and encouragement, a family that taught me how to love to read and what cooking looks like and how to support people through crisis. My family shows me what stability is, and compromise, and how to help someone see the potential they have. My family saw the potential in me even when I couldn’t; they have encouraged me through times of doubt and have been with me through every difficult season. My family taught me to laugh at myself and how to take in each day and appreciate what I have.
And of course, I have a larger community as well. These friends grow more into family each year. I’ve been blessed to have conversations that change me and push me and help me grow into something better. Some friends and I went to visit my old college last week. We drove out to Michigan for the day and went to my favorite places in the world and stood on the shores of Lake Michigan and were sprayed by waves. We invest in each other. We share experiences and wisdom and love and I know that I am incredibly lucky to be surrounded by people like them.
So now it’s Friday. Another week has flown by and September is already here which means it’s basically almost Christmas. My goal this year is to intentionally cultivate this attitude of gratitude, to let go of the bad and embrace the good. Life is too short to do anything else.