I have only been in graduate school a matter of weeks, but I can already tell that I am learning lessons that have nothing to do with the subject of the class, and everything to do with life. I'm sharing these lessons with you, in hopes that you can benefit from them, without the expense of student loans. Cause I'm cool like that.
Lesson one: Let go of control
There are so many things that I can't do right now. My husband and daughter are doing a lot of the household tasks I normally do. And fretting over how those tasks are getting done does nothing to help me, so I'm trying to learn to just let it go. Let the laundry be done a different way. Trust that maybe somebody other than me is capable of thoroughly cleaning a bathroom (I'm still struggling with that one, but I'm making progress). Let the crumbs stay on the floor until the person assigned that chore does it. Which brings me to lesson #2:
Lesson two: Chores are no longer a debate. They are simply a fact of life.
Ever since our daughter was old enough to help out around the house, we have had this back-and-forth debate about chores, how much we give her, do we give her an allowance, how do we enforce them, etc. I know we aren't unusual in this debate. Pinterest alone has tons of chore charts and tips. Blogs are full of posts for or against chores, allowances, and the like. All of the opinions added to our own confusion. All the cute printables added to our (okay, my) frustration. Until I started back at school. Instant end to the debate. We realized from day one that chores would be mandatory. There was also immediate agreement that allowance would not be connected. Chores are a part of life in our house now because we all need to work together and help each other out. Period.
Lesson three: Self-care is mandatory, unless you like running yourself into the ground
Between parenting, marriage, working nearly full-time and taking classes towards my master's degree, I don't have much time for myself. But the little bit of time I do grab is precious. Taking 10 minutes to read a book, or a 20 minute nap, or a quick walk while listening to a podcast, is what allows me to recharge and keep from crashing into the ground. If I were to work myself to the bone, pour myself out for everybody else, and not do a thing to fill my own tank, I would be miserable, exhausted, and resentful. I would not be able to give anything to my kids, my husband, my job, or my studies. More to the point, I don't deserve that. That's not the kind of life I want for myself, and it's not the kind of life I want to model for my kids.
Lesson four: Open your eyes to what's in front of you
Recently I was working on a research paper, and I was banging my head against my laptop, completely frustrated because I couldn't find the results I was wanting. I was totally stressed out, the paper was due in 24 hours, and I had nothing. Thankfully, I finally opened my eyes and accepted what my research was telling me. Once I did that, the paper virtually wrote itself. I had a very clear direction, because I was dealing with reality instead of pushing the fantasy in my head. This is such a parallel with my life. When I get an ideal in my head, I suddenly get very annoyed when my reality inevitably doesn't match. Nothing less than the vision I created in my head will do. This leads to frustration and resentfulness. But when I open my eyes and heart to what's around me, I embrace what I have been given. I discover that what I am looking at is actually pretty beautiful, and that attitude leads to peace and contentment. Or so I've been told. I'm still working on it!
I hope these lessons resonate with you as well. Until next time, my friends. And remember, as Michelangelo once said "I am still learning". We are all still learning, all the time. That's a good thing. The problem arises when we decide we are done learning.
I am so glad you are here! Welcome to my blog. This is your space, too. My name is Amy, and I am no stranger to the ups and downs of life. Join me as we search for beauty, authenticity, tell our truth, and hold space for each other in the messiness of life.