Sunday, October 6, 2019

Clearing My Plate, Figuratively & Literally

We don't get many nights out, but we did manage to
sneak away for a while the night before my birthday!
I am a busy man.  For as long as I can remember, I have always been a busy man.  I thrive on routine and love to rise to challenges, personally and professionally.  Never have I been busier in my life than I am currently.  On top of my position as a special education teacher, I also teach government two nights a week to students working to earn their adult education high school diploma, I work with my district's technology office to provide training to teachers one night a week, then I have my two podcasts, this blog, and a host of other things.  On top of that, my principal asked if I would co-teach another class last spring for a prep buyout, so I extended my school day by an hour and a half to a nine-hour day instead of the typical seven and a half.  All of this along with being a husband and a father.  While I love being busy, the grind has become really crazy this year and about 6 weeks into the new year, there aren't any signs of slowing down.  

Part of the busy can be contributed to my wife's graduate program.  While she isn't taking as many classes this semester, she is conducting her clinical hours and it has taken some getting used to over the past few weeks.  Before, we were able to split pick up duty for the kids a lot easier, but her hours have made it more of a challenge.  On top of that, the kids are getting older so they are starting to get involved in various activities.  My daughter is part of a cheerleading club with the University of Nevada cheerleaders where she practices with them and gets to cheer at select football, basketball, soccer, and volleyball games.  However, my wife and I both realize that it's only for another 8 months until she graduates and this part of the crazy will be over and we can establish a better routine for our family.  

I am so incredibly proud of my wife and all of this is going be worth it when she is done.  We joke that once she is working again and is pulling in a paycheck that we can start buying name brand groceries again!  I also joke that I am going to take a year off and do nothing but fish, but I know that will never happen!

Ultimately, in order to relieve some of the busy, I had to evaluate what I have been doing.  Different aspects of my life have been sacrificed as a result of my busy, so I took a long look at everything and made some decisions to scale back or completely eliminate some things.  These decisions were made easily but in the long run, I think I am going to better off.

While I love to present at conferences and learn from the great people I meet, I realized that I need to spend more time at home on weekends.  In past years from late August until early November, I have been at an event nearly every weekend.  This year, I have scaled back significantly.  I decided to select only events in which I was directly involved and/or committed to already or have brought me great benefit in the past.  That said, I have narrowed down my conferences to five events instead of the nearly double-digit events that I have typically done in a school year in the past.  Most of the reason is the time and stress factor, but also monetarily, being I am the sole income earner in my house and I plan to go to ISTE for the first time next summer.

At my last CUE-Nevada event as a board member,
I raffled off a copy of my upcoming book. Angela
Barnett was the lucky winner and will be one of
the first to get a copy in a few months!

Since the fall of 2015, I have served on the board of directors for CUE-Nevada, first as a board member then elected as vice president in 2016 and again in 2018.  As an all-volunteer organization, I worked with a dedicated team to grow the organization and provide educators from Nevada and beyond with high-quality professional development opportunities.  The hours are long and especially when an event is approaching, it can be stressful.  That's why as of September 30, I resigned from my role as vice president with the organization.  The commitment to CUE-Nevada was something that I could not continue to promise, and the organization deserves somebody that can be fully committed.  I look back fondly on the time I spent as a board member and the relationships I forged with my fellow board members and the educators that attended our events.  While I am no longer a CUE-Nevada board member, it doesn't mean that I won't be involved; it just means that I won't be part of the planning side of the organization.

Another thing that has suffered has been this blog.  While I love to get a post out every week or two, as of this writing, it has been nearly a month and a half since I last posted.  It doesn't mean that I have run out of ideas and have stopped writing though.  I currently have four other posts created in Blogger that I have started (when I have an idea for a post, I try to create it and at least put down some bullet points so I can revisit later).  Some of it is because of my busy schedule as of late and some of it has been redirecting my writing focus to edits on my book as they come in.  Because I write these for pleasure, I don't feel a commitment to write all of the time, but at the same time, I really do need to make time to write as it is a form of therapy for me.  So while I am scaling back a bit in my posting schedule, I am looking to set aside time on weekend mornings to write so I don't completely get away from it.

While clearing out some clutter, I found these Wakelet shirts.
They are a size smaller than my current size, so I'm
hoping to fit into them in the next few months!
And while I have been trying to trim away nonessential activities in my life, I have also been committed to trimming away at my food intake.  Various health ailments like high cholesterol and diabetes run in my family, so I have been seeing a doctor regularly for the past few years to monitor my vitals.  As expected, my cholesterol is elevated, but for now, my blood pressure, blood sugar, and other stats are in good shape.  However, I am carrying more weight than I really should be and a recent doctor's appointment put me on alert.  My doctor directed me to commit to a meal plan that involves lean meats and vegetables and limit to eliminate all wheat and rice products.  I most certainly have my struggles to avoid bread, rice and rice noodles (I've only had two bowls of pho in the last 4 months, I used to be a several bowls a month eater of that delectable Vietnamese staple), but so far, it is paying off and I have lost about 15 pounds.  I have made goals for weight loss before, but it was more of a vanity goal before; this time, it's about extending my life and avoiding the health issues so many in my family have been stricken with.

In a sense, I have been trying to clear my plate, figuratively with everything that I have committed myself to, and literally, eating less to achieve a healthier body weight and vitals.  Perhaps you are in a similar situation.  I encourage you to take a hard look at your commitments and make the tough decisions to commit to less, learn to say no so you aren't stretching yourself so thin, and if you are looking to lose a few pounds, whether it's to improve your vitals or look better for a vacation or something, know that I am here to support you in your journey!

Until next time...

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