Thursday, August 08, 2013

Standing on the Edge of the World

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Two years ago, right before I started grad school and right before her last year of teaching, K and I decided we needed to drive to the coast to see (touch?) the ocean. That year we went to Stinson. Last year we went to San Francisco. This year we took a trip to Point Reyes.

The trip is an annual tradition before school starts (even though she's retired, now), but also a marker of time. We talk about what we've accomplished since the last time we stood there at the edge of the continent together, feeling small as we take in the enormity of the Pacific. Each time, it's kind of amazing what's happened in that year.

There's something so inherently cyclical about the life of a teacher. So in a way, our little day trip to the sea is a nice way to start--a fresh start--and today we didn't just promise each other we'd try new things as we did last year. Today there were goals, dammit. This was our Ocean Goals and Objectives Summit 2013.

My big one for this school year is to say no. To make room in my life for more of my family and more of my writing by saying no to things that don't matter. Or don't fit. Or don't fill me up. Things that are not about my real life. Things that take my time and leave me feeling like I gave away my energy for nothing. Most school years I feel a sense of sadness as summer comes to an end because I resign myself to giving up my "real" life in order to do the Mrs. P Show. This year I want to say no to giving my soul to that, and instead I want to live my real life all year. Still gonna teach the shit outta my classes. Still gonna do my best. But I want to practice this: "No."

I'll see how it goes.

What is the point of this post? There isn't one, I guess. Only to say how thankful I am for a friend who will let me talk all day about the things on my mind, about microwaving my damn eggs, about the same shit I always talk about because I'm stuck on it. (To the point that I miss all the road signs, stop in the middle of the two-lane highway, back up, and get yelled at by a park ranger, because apparently I'm incapable of reading and talking at the same time.) That I am proud to have a friend who has accomplished so much in terms of her own health and happiness in only a year of retirement, and still (how?) manages to schedule more lunches with more people than any human ought to be able to have. That I am grateful to share the big blue/gray Pacific and some salty Eucalyptus sea air with someone who loves it as much as I do, and doesn't mind that it makes both of our hair frizz a little. That I'm grateful for a friend who likes adventures, even short ones. And tri tip. And a good story, even if it involves a little road rash.

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