Wednesday, January 6, 2010


My single new year's resolution is to detach a bit from the stresses of work: fret less, protect more of my personal time, and keep my emotions in check.


I'm not even back a week yet and already behind the eight ball: Meetings too plentiful, personalities too strong, and self-doubt starting to creep back to the surface. Do I really have this in me? Can I handle another year of constant confrontation? Are my bouts of indifference just burn-out, or evidence of a shrinking heart? And when, by chance, is my next day off?

Survival Strategy #1: Put my mind back in the blissful New Year's reprieve spent with friends in rural Wisconsin, a place understood as much by what it is as what it isn't. Here's a brief inventory of how I rang in 2010:

- Taking a morning jog in single-digit temps. Horse-drawn carriages outnumbered cars by at least 3 to 1.

- Watching Amish kids sled with abandon down a hill, the boys in blue-buttoned top coats, the girls in billowing skirts.

- No television, no internet. Just wood to build a fire, which burned for the duration and left its smoky perfume on our hats and scarves.

- Breakfasts of fresh-baked popovers, biscuits, and blueberry buckle.

- Petting the farm dog. Petting the injured horse. Petting the sheep. Petting the donkeys. Petting the black, woolen pig once we roused him from his pile of hay.

- New Year's Day sunset over fields of winter corn.

- Remarkable peace. Stunning quiet.

Next week marks my one-year anniversary on this job. In some ways, the hill gets steeper and thornier the closer I get to the top. Let's hope the way down is as fast, as breathless, and maybe, just glancingly, as jubilant as those kids on their sleds.


Adriane said...

As someone who abandoned the stress of plentiful meetings, strong personalities, and confrontation, I can say that it's pleasant on this side of life. I am contemplating re-entry myself, but your post give me pause...not sure I'm up to it. Hang in, good luck, and keep in mind that MLK Jr. day is coming soon.

Christy said...

Adriane, resist as long as you can. Truly. And believe it or not, although MLK is a day off for me, as is the Saturday before it, I may still end up having to work both days. Sheesh. It almost makes me miss my teaching days :-).

leslie said...

Contemplating the current community fight—more school closings—I've been paying closer attention to my friends who are always in the fray. Do they *enjoy* conflict & battle? Does it energize them? It must, because they always manage to fight for what's right and never seem to resent the lost time & drawn out meetings. I try to get into that mindset, but maybe I'm too damn sensitive. My insomnia is a killer during times like these. I guess what I'm saying, Christy, is that you're a tough cookie.

tracy said...

These photos are GORGEOUS! They alone bring some solace, and I haven't even been there.