Anyone Else Need a Reset?

You’ve got this.

Almost there.

Look how strong you are.

“Running” through the park earlier this week, I happened upon a small yet meaningful moment that served as a reset for me. But first, let me tell you about my mental state.

I am teacher tired. Teacher tired usually occurs near the end of the school year and takes over the body, soul, and mind causing teachers to simply exist rather than be fully present. Don’t get me wrong: the beginning of school is exhausting but is typically offset by excitement and the opportunity a new calendar year brings. This year, however, as much as teachers wanted to be excited for students, that joy was countered with stress, uncertainty, and anxiety. This is true not only for teachers but many others whose jobs and family routines have been drastically altered the last few months. What I know about teachers – and suspect for the rest as well – is that when we get tired, we get grumpy. And as much as we want to keep our spirits up, our default becomes a critical spirit, a short answer, and a woe-is-me disposition. Maybe it’s just me. If you haven’t felt this way lately, you can disregard this post and/or write one for me giving your insight. 

As I was making my way by the bocce ball court to head down one of the steeper hills in the park, I saw a middle-aged woman biking up the hill. (Notice: I’m going down; she’s coming up. I’m sure there’s a lot that can be unpacked there, but I digress). She was near the top and was definitely struggling to the point that I thought she would have to get off her bike and push it the rest of the way uphill. However, a park worker in a golf cart ahead of me also noticed her. He stopped his golf cart (which forced me to take a sharp detour off the path since I was running so fast – just kidding), got out, and started to clap and cheer for her. 

You’ve got this.

Almost there.

Look how strong you are.

Immediately the woman’s countenance changed from distraught agony to a broad smile. Her shoulders went from hunched forward to squared back, and she dug in and took the rest of the hill. The man quickly hopped back in the golf cart and sped down the hill as the woman continued her ride on level ground. This whole encounter took approximately 45 seconds, but those seconds changed my perspective. 

I’ll make this real simple because after teaching teenagers for six weeks on Zoom, I’ve realized that direct is best. 

1 – Small sacrifices (literally seconds) of time can make a big difference. I have no doubt this woman’s attitude toward her day was more positive because of the encouragement. 

2 – When we think about others, we think less about ourselves. I’ve been thinking a lot about myself lately – how hard my job is, how tired I am, how no one else has as many papers to grade as me (delay tactic for grading #1 – write a blog), and the list goes on and on. (Email if you would like an extensive list of my woes). But when I think about how I can encourage someone else, a much needed shift occurs. Thinking about others – and not me, me, me all of the time – is refreshing.

3 – Encouragement has a ripple effect. In this case, I was encouraged by witnessing this event. I came home and texted a word of encouragement to a couple of friends. This biker lady probably passed the encouragement on as well. 

Here’s my challenge for you and for me (don’t worry – it’s not to go out for a run): look for opportunities to encourage others. Send a text. Verbally praise a family member. Buy a friend (ME) a cup of coffee. Literally clap and cheer for a stranger. 

As a closing, I’ll circle back to the beginning (I’ve edited one too many college essays this fall). No matter what circumstances you find yourself in, 

You’ve got this.

Almost there.

Look how strong you are.

Cheering y’all on, my friends! SB

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