"So what do you do all summer long?"
This is my most frequently asked question of late. One of the most touted perks of being a teacher is the vacation time. And I'm with ya, people! The time off is great. Even with the scary things happening in the field of education these days, it's one of the few bits of awesomeness related to my job that I'm still tenuously holding on to. That, and the molding young minds thing. I guess I'll file that under the "rewarding" category of my job as well.
After one of my most trying school years, this summer was long awaited (and needed) indeed. And embarrassingly enough, when people ask me what I'm doing with all my time, sometimes I'm at a loss as to what to tell them. Being on summer break is like Odysseus's foray into the Land of the Lotus Eaters. But instead of getting lost in an opiate-induced haze, I'm lost in the void of E! Television's top 50 countdowns, episodes of Hoarders, trashy novels, crossword puzzles, and the pool.
And (sniff) I'm sorry to say it's halfway over. Say it ain't so! I realize it's hard for non-teachers to feel at all badly for me, but it makes me feel a little sad. As usual, I haven't really accomplished as much as I wanted to, but I have learned some lessons this summer that I am willing to impart to people who have jobs to go to every day of the year (sounds depressing when I put it that way, doesn't it?).
#1 Even if you think you only need 7 hours of sleep, it is very easy to allow yourself to take 9. Usually I get irritated with myself that I've allowed myself to waste precious hours of awake time, but who am I kidding? I have nowhere to go most of the time. The recliner can wait.
#2 When you have this much time away from work, it is the optimum time to take a new hairdo out for a spin. I said goodbye to at least 9 inches of hair, and figuring out how to make it not look poodle-esque was a much calmer experience since I didn't have the added stress of 100's of smart-alecky teenagers telling me what a mess it looked like. You might think they don't care, but trust me, if they feel comfrtable enough to remark on my pedicure (or lack thereof), I know they could be capable of true evil.
#3 Facebook is not your friend. I have time on my hands, ergo I surf. And surf. And surf. I nose around in people's pictures, read statuses, check out links to crap I couldn't care less about, and "Like" everything. I miss my "in real life" friends, but really I just miss real entertainment. Real entertainment costs money, and I'm still on a budget despite all my spare time. It's a catch-22. And I do get to see my friends, but they're not really rolling on Reagan Time.
#4 Hoarders is the strangest, most disturbing show a person can ever watch. It's a train wreck, complete with people afraid to throw away dog hair, dolls, and 10-year-old bills. And it never fails to make me feel like the most organized, tidiest person out there.
#5 Venti coffees from Starbuck's are just too much damn coffee.
#6 Trashy novels are easier to read at the pool than classics. The sun seems to render my brain incapable of difficult reading. And I furrow my brow more, which we know ages a person. And I'm all about looking younger.
#7 Exercising doesn't have to feel like a chore. In the course of my directionless days, it's actually kind of an outing.
#8 With enough Googling, one can finish a crossword of any difficulty. And, no, I refuse to believe that's cheating. It's learning. It's looking up stuff (ahem, researching even). It's not like I'm plagiarizing a thesis. Sheesh!
#9 I can live without bread. Joe and I have gone "primal," and are eschewing all grains. I'm less bloated, don't eat between meals, and I'm actually never hungry. But you have dig meat! It's a meatstravaganza!
#10 I can wear the same outfit for three days in a row if I want to. Four if I don't go outside at all. Let's face it, no one sees me every day. I'm getting serious mileage out of my new pair of denim shorts. And don't judge. I'm lucky if I'm getting dressed at all most days.
So, people, that's what I'm doing with my summer. That's just how I roll.