Life &… Social Distancing- Volume 2: A Practice in Professional and Personal Development


Here we are, week 2, continuing to navigate uncharted water, uncertain of what may be ahead of us, unclear of what is to come. Surprisingly, I have found that I am a busier than imagined I would be, albeit at a much slower pace. That sounds like an oxymoron I realize but it is true. I have found that I am seeking opportunities to grow and build upon skills that have collected some dust. I am finding new ways to incorporate technology into many of my current practices, sometimes with ease, sometimes the learning curve on this is STEEP! My brain is in a constant state of creating and processing.


I am adjusting to a time frame with no real boundaries, I can actually go to the bathroom when I need to, not just at recess and lunch, teachers out there…am I right? This, I confess, I really like! I am getting up early or sleeping a little later. I am taking my time with everything.  I dive deeply and get lost in a project and savor the time it takes to get it done rather than whiz through and hope it is good enough. I have the luxury of being able to read for hours or binge watch Netflix late into the night, even on a school night,  because tomorrow I still have time to get it all done (though I still fall asleep on the couch by 10:00 p.m.).  


This time frame with no real boundaries is not for everyone. This slower state is making some people mad, some crazy and some anxious and depressed.  Our world has been so over scheduled for so long and now that there is no schedule, people simply don’t know what to do with the time. I am mostly an extrovert and I like to have things to do. I thrive with people. I love my job and my creative work, all which has me out of my house and interacting with people, BUT I also love my downtime. Now, that is all we have, downtime. This can be isolating. It has been a huge shock to the system. There was no slow ease into it.   It was abrupt, sudden, immediate and sprinkled with an enormous amount of unknown and uncertainty that is causing serious discomfort.


But what if we all lean into it?  What if we take all the time we need before moving on to the next lesson, or activity, or project? What if we learn to relish this gift of time?  I have this constant odd feeling like I am in a fight scene in an action movie where everything switches to extreme slow mode, like in the Matrix, then it speeds back up?  You know the one I mean, right? The only difference is we are caught in the slowdown, the stillness. We are stuck here for the unforeseeable future. It is here that we need to find solace, for a while, before the pace picks back up, until it is safe to return to the speed of life before.


I worry for sure.  My parents are older, my family is large and widespread.  I have family members and dear friends that are already immunocompromised.  I worry about my students, and their families and other folks in the community where I work, where I live and world-wide.  I worry about co-workers and colleagues across the nation as we all figure out what to do to continue our job. I worry about all those people out of work and all the people still working in the public sector, unable to distance themselves from others. 


I worry… but that is not all I do, I also revel.  I revel in the stillness. I celebrate the silence when I get up early, when everyone else is still asleep and I am able to write my feelings down, to process what is going through my head.  I listen more carefully to the noises in my house and all around me. I have tuned back in to the soundtrack of our family unit, back together again under one roof. I hear the birds, more clearly, in the trees as I walk outside. I experience, more intently, new music and old favorites.  I feel the warmth of the welcomed sunshine on my face as I spend time outside reading, walking, or working while the weather is nice. I am taking time to taste and enjoy food, mostly prepared by my husband; there is no rushing to get out the door or to the next event on the calendar, no packing a lunch to eat later in a rushed  lunchroom. I am working hard to find calm in the storm by living presently, every minute. I am doing my best to give myself and those around me grace to do the same.


I do not see this as a time to change everything.  I am, instead, seeing it as a way to practice everything. I want to try more things I have only dabbled in, learn skills I need to be successful in this slowdown, practice the things I have neglected, and focus on the things that have been working but could be better.  This is time for professional and personal development, I am going to lean into it. The excuse, “If only I had more time…”, no longer applies, or at least not for now. So, go ahead, go slow, take your time because we may never have a gift of time like this again.

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