Dropping the ball

Happy New Year?

I don’t know if the start to your January has been anything like mine, but it definitely feels like we’ve been back much longer than… four days? Is that possible? 

There always seems to be a bit of an adjustment period when coming back from a break, but this seems different from the usual adjustment. The spike in Covid cases, the uncertainty, and the fatigue of two years of pandemic teaching and living is… well, it’s getting to me. I’m thinking it might be getting to you.

My school had a professional learning day on Monday, and one of the things we talked about was well-being. We had some great conversations, and one of the major takeaways for everyone I talked to was that we find our work really meaningful and that We. Are. Burnt. Out. 

I don’t have a solution for that (sorry), but the other major takeaway from the conversations I had was that we all found it affirming to know that we were not alone in experiencing this. 

One of the things I was thinking about during these conversations was this great Twitter thread from Jennifer Lynn Barnes, sharing something from Nora Roberts. 

I’ve been trying to carry that idea with me this week, as I try and juggle all kinds of balls. And what I find most useful about this analogy is that it is built on the assumption that YOU WILL DROP BALLS. We all will. And thinking about it this way has made it easier for me to identify which of the tasks on my list are plastic, and which are glass. And knowing that the status of a ball may change from day-to-day.

  • A new January book display? Plastic. 
  • Getting a lesson on evaluating popular science sources done? Glass. 
  • Finding the “just right” image for that presentation? Plastic. 
  • Meditating? Yesterday it was plastic. Today, it’s glass.
  • Finding a place for my parents to get a PCR test? Glass. 
  • This blog post? Was almost plastic (but glad I was able to catch it!)

I have other things I’m working on and wanting to share, but putting them in a form that is comprehensible to other folks is, frankly, a plastic ball right now. Luckily, they’ve already called a snow day for tomorrow, so I might be able to pick up some balls I’ve dropped – the most important one being a good night’s sleep.

6 thoughts on “Dropping the ball

  1. What an intriguing way to prioritize life during a pandemic. Thank you for offering a unique way to approach decisions.

  2. Pingback: Change my mind – Venn Librarian

  3. Thanks for reminding us that it is okay to drop some of the balls; in fact, it’s just going to happen, no matter how hard we try. Resilience isn’t just about balls that don’t break, but also about the willingness to pick them back up and try again, and again.

  4. I loved your blog…we also do not realize how much traveling and planning vacations added to our revitalization….now it seems like most vacation plans have had to be cancelled and traveling in of itself seems to be adding to the stress instead of relieving it.
    Family gatherings are a challenge and a safety issue for sure and once again the things we used to do without a thought required a stategic plan. It has been a long two years, but knowing we can help each other get through one day at a time keeps us going. Thank you for helping all of us…..even when we sometimes “misplace” the balls…just remember to stop and count your blessings and that will bring a smile to your face for sure!

  5. I was having a similar conversation with a teacher this week, trying to figure out why this return was so challenging — thank you for articulating it so nicely!

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