The Top Five Reasons I Loved Living in Korea

I lived in Korea for a little over two years. I moved back over the holidays, but I wrote this article when I was still living there, and it still applies.

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Here are my top five reasons why I loved living in Korea.

Safety

I didn’t grow up in a bad area, all things considered. The only danger I ever really faced was coyotes in the tree line behind my friend’s house. But I was chicken little as a kid, so I never went out walking after dark, even in my safe suburban neighborhood. I didn’t even like walking around in the daytime. And try to get me to stay out after nine, even with a car? Fat chance.

At the risk of scaring my mother out of her wits, I will reveal that I *gasp* often walk home after dark here in Korea. Sometimes quite far. And I’ve never felt unsafe. I’ve never had anyone talk to me or grab me or anything. I see other people walking all the time. Kids, women, dogs, cats… They all walk around until late in the evening (I’ve never been out past 11, so that’s my version of late). Of course there is crime. No country is crime free. And I don’t walk in unlit areas, so I’m still smart about it. But the point is that crime is far less prevalent here. It’s a statistical fact. (Facts people.)

Petty theft is also rare. People leave shoes outside their apartments, leave bikes unattended, leave products outside stores after hours…and they don’t get stolen, for the most part. I’m sure it happens occasionally, but nowhere near as often as back home. I don’t have to hide my cash when I withdraw from an ATM. It’s just safer. (But hey, be smart guys. Still be safe. Never let your guard down. And realize that some areas of Korea are safer than others.)

Cost of Living

On the scale from Numbeo, the major cases where Korea is MORE expensive than the US are in these categories: dairy, produce, coffee, imported clothing, and housing. Those come as no surprise to anyone who’s lived here a few months. I’ve taken to eating less dairy as a whole simply due to expense. And outlet stores are a joke.

The majority of the rest of life is a little cheaper, including important things like meals and transportation. I’m able to save a lot of money here owing to the fact that I don’t have a car and my apartment is so tiny I don’t spend much on utilities. The car thing is huge. Back home a lot of my money went to gas or upkeep every month, so not having that to deal with is a boon.

Even on a relatively small teacher’s salary, I live very comfortably with enough left after saving to travel and buy pretty much whatever I want.

Transportation

Having no car, aside from saving a lot of money, also means I get to walk everywhere. This might not be a benefit to some people, but I love it. I like the urban feel, the free exercise, the chance to slow down and avoid road rage…and Korea is well adapted to walking. I don’t know what the ratio is between walkers and drivers, but it seems like at least half the population uses shank’s ponies to get around.

I say well adapted; my friend has at least three times lamented “unregulated sidewalks!” when we’ve had to goosestep around people, but at least there are sidewalks everywhere. In my hometown, that’s not the case.

Buses and the subway are superb as well. Again, being from the suburbs, public transport wasn’t something I was familiar with before coming to Asia. I had the impression buses were stanky pits and you had to clutch all your belongings tight. And the subway was some mysterious force in New York that only the very brave ever, well, braved.

But the Korean metro is notable for its ease of use and convenience. With every sign in English and a comprehensive set of lines, you can get anywhere in Seoul with no trouble. If you don’t count elbows in your ribs during rush hour. No white gloves though. Looking at you, Japan.

Food

One of the big draws of Korea for me was the food. I love spicy, flavorful food, growing up on Indian and Mexican, so discovering Korean was an utter delight. It’s becoming more popular in the US, so you might have tried Korean BBQ, with pork belly or beef grilled and dipped in rich sauces. You may have slurped Korean style ramyun or naengmyeon, the strange and refreshing ice noodles. You may have even tried Ddeokbbeoki, the famous street snack of rolled rice cake covered in spicy red sauce. (I may be a little hungry.) Not only that, but western food here is also good. I don’t know what the reason is, whether it’s better quality food itself or better preparation, but even in the fast food chains that have reached Korea (Burger King, McDs, KFC), the food is better. No dry, uninspired burgers here. No limp noodle fries here.

Natural Medicine

I’m very interested in natural medicine and herbalism. I went to the chiropractor weekly at home, but outside of that, it was hard to find places where people accepted the legitimacy of alternative medicine. In America, I feel like it’s still seen as quaint and peculiar, not a fully acceptable solution. But in Asia it’s equally as cool to see an acupuncturist as a doctor, and no one is going to assume you have crystals and tarot cards at home to go along with it. Suction cups are another method of healing here, one that I have yet to try (it’s just way too scary). More and more people are getting into it, which is helping the exposure (Michael Phelps coming to workouts with giant bruises probably did a lot). But in general, the first step when you’re feeling sick is often diet related or a simple remedy than an immediate trip to the doctor for pills.

On a related note, when you do need to see a doctor, it’s super cheap. I’m not sure how the insurance system works or whether there are hidden costs for some people, but with my health insurance provided by my school, I could see a doctor and get medicine for under $10. Even when I got more intensive tests done, it was a fraction of what it would have cost back home. It made getting sick a little less scary and stressful, to be honest.

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Now that I’ve lived at home for half a year, these are the things I miss most about Korea. I miss walking everywhere, I miss taking the subway to the mall and spending the day there, shopping and sitting in various cafes, I miss the abundance of Korean food, the succulence of Korean fruit, the cheap medical care, the safety…there’s a lot I don’t miss as well, but it’s nice that I have those good memories. I may never go back to Korea, but it was an amazing journey there.

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Setting Boundaries for People with Anxiety

 

A while back I wrote a review for the book Boundaries by Cloud and Townsend. I love the book, and have seen it quoted in vast numbers of self-help books and articles.  Boundaries are important for everyone. Across the board, no exceptions. Everyone.

I would like to say “especially for people with anxiety”, but that’s not true. Especially for everyone.

I think most of the problems in our lives stem from boundary problems. Not being clear on them, even if you do have them, or letting them be repeatedly crossed, or not having them in the first place.

I fell into the third category. I didn’t really have any concept of boundaries as a real, vital thing until I read the book.

Imagine that most humans are supposed to have a third arm and not realizing it until you read a book. It was kind of that feeling. Then suddenly you see people with that third arm everywhere, and some still lacking the third arm completely, and some with one but sort of half-curled inside them…urk. I think that metaphor is running away from me.

Anyway, it was a revelation.

I’ll speak from my experience as someone who’s pretty darn sure most of her anxiety issues stem from lack of boundaries.

Work

I’m an excellent worker. I was raised with a strong work ethic, and I’m an obliging person. If you ask me to do something, I will do it for you. Whether I should or not, and no matter what I have on my plate at the moment. That’s the problem.

I work really well, but I take on too much. I was no good at saying no. I saw myself doing this, but I always assumed it was my fault in some way. I need to figure out how to handle all of this, I need to be more efficient, not wanting to help that coworker out is selfish, etc.

I remember one day when three separate coworkers, well, two coworkers and a boss, asked me to edit something for them. One was a document for procedures, one was a statement to put in the handbook, and one was a collection of essays from a class to be printed in a book.

I said yes to all three. I spent my free periods that day and next editing for other people projects that had nothing to do with me. Could I have done one of them? Sure. Should I have done all of them? No. None of them were my specific responsibility. I was not getting paid extra. I did them because those people asked.

Later on in my job, I would swing the opposite way where the building resentment had me saying “no” too often, another side effect of lack of boundaries.

This happened in all my jobs to some degree. When I worked retail, I regularly took on the extra shifts just because people asked me, or came in earlier when my boss asked. I even accepted a promotion I didn’t want because my boss wanted me to take it, leading to my first bout with stress-induced health problems.

Relationships

Neighbors

I remember a specific instance when a neighbor asked me to watch her dog for a night and a day. She was going out of town and hadn’t called the sitter or doggie daycare. I hardly knew this person, but I said yes. I thought: I can’t be selfish. It’s only one night. Just do it. She needs help. 

Did I want to? A resounding no. I don’t like small dogs, and I lived in a one-room apartment. There would be no getting rid of any unwanted smells for a while. But I said yes because she asked, and the dog naturally peed on my bed. I didn’t mention it to her, just promised myself I would not accept again.

Dating

When I’ve dated, I’ve let the other person lead the way. I like my men decisive, but frequently the reason is less that than my own obliging nature. You want to watch a movie? Okay. You want to eat there? Okay. You want to kiss? O…kay.

This is one area where I could clearly see the problem, more than any other. Dating should be a shared agreement, in my opinion, of what to do and how to do it. So mostly, my lack of boundaries has resulted in a pure lack of dating, since I won’t do it for fear of falling into my old habits.

Friendships

I’ve had some tough friendships. And the funny thing is, the other person would probably be surprised to hear that. I don’t speak up. I don’t feel I have the right, or, more often, I don’t want to rock the boat.

I’ve had work friends several times, and usually they were fine. A couple situations though always happened. I’d have a friend who would always come to me for a chat, me being such a good listener. They would interrupt my free time, or my work time, if possible, and talk about this and that. And I would let them. Are you free? Yeah, sure, what’s up? I just need to vent. Okay, what happened?

Never mind that I’m not in any mood to deal with another person’s problems. Never mind that I never feel I can come to you. Never mind that you blew into my room like a summer storm in my peaceful afternoon…

I needed boundaries.

Family

Fortunately, or unfortunately, my family has often borne the brunt of my boundaries. I’m comfortable there enough to say no, most of the time. They see me as pretty judgmental and decisive, even stubborn, because all of my no’s I don’t say to other people I tend to say to them, and loudly. It’s an unhealthy balance.

In the book, boundaries are envisioned like fences. Not walls, to keep everything out and everything in, but fences, with gates. Gates to let out the good and the bad. Some people keep all the good in and let all the bad out, some vice versa. I was always vice versa. Keep the bad in, where it can’t hurt others, and let the good out, to give of myself. Except with family, where the gate then swung the other way.

Myself

I’ve never been good at meeting my own expectations. I can meet other’s fairly easily if I’m not in a rebellion phase.

But I could never stick with a self-regulated habit, for the most part. I’m getting better, as I grow to understand myself more. I’ve kept up my new habits well. I’ve written every day for the past few months because I like to make that checkbox go away. In fact, Habitica, the fun online to-do list website I use, is a helpful external accountability partner, but setting boundaries with myself is still hard.

Especially when it’s to stop doing something. Stop eating sugar. Oh boy, good luck, me. Stop letting people walk all over me. Yeah, okay. Right.

Well, this whole recovery journey is about setting good boundaries, so I know I’m not there yet.

Anxiety

Lack of self-control and boundaries has been a major cause for anxiety, I’m convinced. The stress from my job was a direct result of me not saying no when needed and not being clear about what was hurting me or causing me too much anxiety. Always saying yes led to resentment as well, which only added to the mix.

All of my relationships have an element of anxiety for me, because I always assume responsibility for how the other person feels, and don’t want to rock the boat by making my needs known.

And with myself, living against what I want for myself naturally creates internal tension, which has manifested physically. I don’t practice my faith the way I want, I don’t dress the way I want, I don’t speak the way I want…it all creates tension.

What’s Next?

I’m hoping by finding out the root of the issue I can start to build these boundaries I need and heal from the inside out. I don’t want to take medication forever. And I don’t believe I’ll have to. The authors of the book are psychologists, and they use boundaries in their work with patients. I’m hopeful that with therapy and with the knowledge of needed boundaries, I’ll be able to better my relationship with anxiety.

It’ll be tough, but it’ll be worth it.

#buildaladder with boundaries.

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D&D and Life

I am in control of my actions and reactions, not how they turn out, not the things around me, not the problems I face. Only my actions and reactions.

Turns out, the system for D&D combat is a really good tool to help navigate life.

Hear me out.

In D&D (5e), when you’re in combat, your character has only three things they can do on your turn; an action, a bonus action, and movement.

An action is usually something like making an attack or casting a spell, or even holding an action until something else happens (other actions include hiding, dashing, interacting with objects, and so on). A bonus action might be to take a potion or even another attack if you’re one of those classes.

Here’s the thing though. I can choose to attack, but my dice roll determines how I do. If I roll low, no go. If I roll high, hurray! I succeed. I choose what to do, but I can’t control what happens (not until someone develops a wrist technique for rolling dice how you want – I’ll keep you posted on that).

So in life as in D&D.

In life, I can only choose my actions and movements. I can choose whether to pursue this relationship, take that job, move away, move home, write this book, start that blog, exercise, etc. It’s all up to me. What I can’t choose is what happens with it. Maybe I move to a new city and it doesn’t work out. Maybe the relationship doesn’t pay off. Maybe the book is a glorious flop. Or maybe not. I have no way of knowing.

However, also as in D&D, I can stack the odds slightly in my favor. In D&D you use a d20, or 20-sided die, for most ability checks and attack rolls. You roll the dice and add your modifier. A fighter class, for instance, will have a higher chance of doing something strength-based so they will have a higher modifier, and a likelier chance of success. Say they have a +4 modifier, on a d20 that increases the chances of meeting the target number by 20%. Not bad. Magic weapons, spell effects, and other items can also increase the chance of success.

How can I do the same in real life?

Education is one step, and I don’t necessarily mean organized education, although that can help in certain circumstances. But if you want to succeed on your taxes this year, doing some research and learning how to prepare your taxes is essential. Or learning that you can afford someone to prepare your taxes for you.

You might learn a new language, which helps your chances of getting a coveted job posting abroad.

You might get a certificate in the area of your choice, vastly increasing the odds of getting a job in that field.

Health is another way to stack the odds in your favor. Having more energy, both mental and physical, will help you in any endeavor, whether it’s personal or professional. Being emotionally stable is another huge benefit in work and in life, and though that might require some investment (hey, training in D&D ain’t cheap), it’s well worth it.

How far can this metaphor go?

Well, D&D is a cooperative game, designed to run best for groups of 4-6. A solo player won’t be able to handle much, as their skills aren’t going to be balanced. That’s just how the game works. You can’t be a rogue and a wizard and a barbarian and a cleric. You will have your strong points offset by weaknesses. Everyone does. But in a party (support group of friends/family) everyone is made stronger. You can tackle higher level puzzles, traps and monsters because you all work together.

As in D&D, as in life.

I think this is one reason why people love D&D so much. I’ve even heard (through rumors), that some psychologists treat it as a great place to work through personal issues. Home-therapy, anyone? At the very least, it can teach a receptive player how to cooperate in the face of danger (and believe me, the stress of a combat situation feels very real), how to have interpersonal conflicts in a healthy way, creative problem-solving and a lot more.

D&D is a great metaphor for life and a great tool for how to live it.

Or maybe I’m just looking for any excuse to repackage my problems as dragons.

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The Cult of Hustle

“As we’ll see, as well-intentioned and glamorous as the Religion of Hustle is, it often backfires on people. Because the truth is that most types of work (especially work that will make you some money in 2017) does not produce linear returns, it produces diminishing returns.” – Mark Manson

The cult of hustle is a relatively new phenomenon, and like most new(ish) trends in self-improvement and business, it’s got a good heart.

I scoured the internet to find the best examples of hustle, and here’s what I found:

Articles

The World Belongs to Those Who Hustle

How to Hustle Your Way to Your Dream Job in 4 Steps

How To Hustle Your Way To Becoming A Successful Entrepreneur

WANT TO BE SUCCESSFUL? HUSTLE LIKE A G (6 CASE STUDIES TO PROVE IT)

Memes

 

“Harsh but true ... Keep going,  no one cares !!! #hustle #hustler”
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Well.... We'll see...
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Keep Up That Hustle, Girl ||
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Moving Mountains Motivation: Rise and Grind
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As you can see, the whole idea is that the harder you work, the more you can accomplish. Well…duh. That’s not rocket science. The idea goes back to America’s industrial and Protestant history when colonists and later immigrants worked harder to get ahead. The American dream is all about working hard to make a life for yourself (classically; I don’t know what it’s morphed into now – to have the most Insta-worthy life?).

But the cult of hustle takes this basic, good idea and turns hard work into clout. Hustle becomes a badge of superiority, and it does so in some very unhealthy ways.

The majority of those articles above relate one thing to hustle above all others – pain. Suffering. Sacrifice. If you’re not struggling, rising bleary-eyed at 5am with only four hours of sleep and sweating through whatever your vision is, you’re not doing “it” right, whatever “it” is for you.

Unfortunately, the bad advice is often mixed in so well with the good that we tend to swallow the concoction whole. There is merit in hard work. If you stay in your comfort zone you won’t change and grow. If you don’t make changes things will stay the same. Those are all true. But the idea that daily sacrifice day in and day out will guarantee success is flawed. The problem is, we only hear the success stories. “I hustled my way to success and here’s how” and anyone who followed the advice and didn’t earn six figures in six months knows they just aren’t hustling enough.

The most disturbing part to me is how many inane quotes on the internet glorify the lack of sleep as a symbol of passion and drive.

Here are two articles on sleep and productivity, one from the Washington Times and one from Sleep.org. Unfortunately for hustlers, scientific studies have shown that losing sleep makes people less productive, so much so that Kelly McGonigal says they’re often as muddled as someone who is drunk (The Willpower Instinct).

From students in college pulling all-nighters before exams to hustlers working 4am-midnight, lack of sleep is only going to hurt your chances.

So why is the cult of hustle so prevalent? Well, there are a few reasons.

First, hustle = success is a very simple formula. Work hard, earn loads. It’s attractive because while it’s not necessarily easy, it is simple, and it seems to take all the guesswork and question of innate talent out of the picture. Follow these steps and make money. (Sounds like a get rich quick scheme to me, no matter how much pain is involved.)

Second, it’s independent. Most hustle quotes also involved things like “being ahead of the pack,” quips about leading the wolves, and other ideas that standing alone at the front is glorious. Very American. Independence, owning your own business, not being attached, making your own schedule (4am-12am, so awesome!); it all flouts the idea of community and support, and re-asserts the idea that you can do everything on your own, not a great virtue in today’s disconnected and aching world. (The goal of a mature person should not be independence – the highest form of maturity is interdependence, according to Stephen R. Covey, author of Seven Habits of Highly Effective People. See a great article here.)

And third, it’s a status symbol. Being a hustler is a generally applauded notion, again, going back to America’s roots of the virtue of hard work. The Protestants held a very firm notion that hard work, discipline, and frugality led to a good (moral) life (Wikipedia). Too bad we’ve got the hard work and discipline down without the frugality since most of the point of hustle seems to be to be able to own the fanciest cars bought with your hard-earned dollars.

Regardless of its roots, hustle means being able to lord yourself over your lazy colleagues who waste their lives working 9-5 and aren’t also side-hustling, writing books and content, working on starting their own business or in any other way not wearing themselves to the bone. Hustle is a moral thing. Hustle is good. Hustle is virtuous. Rest is becoming sin. Contentment is becoming complacency (read the dictionary on that one).

It’s a dangerous trap to fall into. And it’s very easy now that the cult of hustle has spread so rapidly and so quickly. But it’s just a trend, the age-old hard-work ethic wrapped up in fancy memes and productivity hacks.

It doesn’t guarantee a good life.

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Excerpts from my journal; Early August 2017

August 1

Happy August. Happy, happy, blessed, long-awaited August. The beginning of Fall, the life breath I needed to get back on track. This morning I meditated. This morning I got up and wrote 350 words. This morning I felt peaceful and ready to write again.

I measure the success of my life by how willing I am to write, and whether I actually do so. I can be eager about it or feel like I’d rather pull my hair out, but if I actually sit down and write my novel, I’m in a good place.

Until last night though, I hadn’t even wanted to think about anything even remotely novel adjacent. I was okay blogging. I was okay thinking about blogging. But thinking about my novel was just depressing. I didn’t feel like working on it. I didn’t like it anymore. I’m still out of love with it, but I’m in love with the idea of using it as practice. Practice revising, practice editing, practice working on something I don’t love. Good practice. I’m giving myself more grace as well to wait it out. I wanted to have it published this year. That won’t happen. Maybe not next year either. Maybe never for this book. And that’s okay. If I can revise and edit a whole novel, I’ll count that lucky.

Honestly, summer camp has been a huge mental hassle for the past three months. In May I started seriously planning for it, and with the end of school approaching at that time it was hectic and stressful, not even knowing what I needed to do.

In June, with the end of school upon us, I was busy trying to get everything done I could do, figure out the trip to NZ, and also finish up the semester well. It was intensely crazy and stressful.

Then in July I had my vacation, which was amazing and a much-needed break, but what with getting sick and figuring stuff out, and the impending loom of the imminent summer camp with the lack of days to plan, that was just the worst. I went down a deep dark rabbit hole of self-hatred, confusion, and guilt.

So, now that we’re a week in, and it’s gone well, and I don’t have to worry about anyone blaming me for not working hard, I can finally get back to the place I was in April. A soft, happy place of peace and writing and meditating and focus. At least a goal.

Today it all goes away. Today I get my nails done, eat Subway, work out and get back on track.

August 2

Today has gone well. Yesterday went well. I went out to get my nails done with friends, bought two pairs of indoor sandals on sale, bought snacks and moar hazelnoot coffee, and got the novel study schedule down pat. As pat as it can be. I never know exactly how long a book will take me to read. I can read a three hundred page-ish book in two-ish hours, but that’s a lot of ishes. But I have an order and I have the steps, so as long as it takes me it takes me.

I’m excited about it. I hope it will help. I know that analyzing novels is an excellent way to get better at the craft, but never having done it before, I don’t know how excellent it could be.

It seems like this year is a year of experimentation. Experimenting by traveling with the brother to a totally new place. Experimenting dating more than once. Experimenting with my hair and makeup. Experimenting with writing, editing, and studying. Experimenting having a really good guy friend and working on a new project with someone else. This is all very good. I need to expand more. I’m still working on not living like I still live with my parents. 

The past few days I’ve hit an all-time energy low around 2pm. The hottest part of the day indeed. All my energy just goes right out my feet and slips soggily onto the floor.

August 4

Today is the last day. That makes it the best day we’ve had so far. I’m hiding in my room, because while I could go down and run around checking on everything all the time, in the end, this is the teacher’s’ job. I don’t need to get involved. I did my bit, now I’m done. I just have to lead the stupid presentation. It’s not like I’m nervous about presenting, it’s not like I’m even a little bad at it (I’m amazing at it), it’s not like I wish someone else would do it. I just want it to be over. That’s all. I want to stop being in charge and take a damn breath. I want to go home and eat chips and watch TV and read my book and breathhhhhh. 

Last night I had a shock of memory looking a picture. It wasn’t my picture, but the angle and the subject were so similar it triggered it.

I remembered the spare room where I always stayed in my granny’s house. She had kept her kids’ rooms the same, so I was sleeping in my Aunt’s room. It was all white and pink, with a rickety metal bed with a white coverlet that was such a pain to make I had to have my mom help every time.

My brother stayed in our dad’s old room, paneled wood and so 70s. He had a gun rack, and old board games and an electrical wiring kit for kids. Even back then he knew what he wanted to do, I guess.

August 8

It’s been a few days since I wrote last. Huh. I guess those days were good.

Saturday, the 5th, I met up with friends and we went shopping. That was fun! We had to wait like an hour and a half for food, which was not so fun, but I bought some cute stuff and the food was excellent. Last cheat before eating healthy. More on that in a minute.

Monday was the best day though. I did play some games, but I also set goals, got my calendar set up, cleaned up, cooked, made an awesome health plan, exercised, and basically got my life back on track. It was like making New Year’s Resolutions. I decided how I want to feel for this semester. I want to feel focused. I want to feel forward moving. I want to feel ready to go home by the end of it. I want to feel flexible and expansive, allowing changes to come into my life with grace.

It’s been good. I got back to writing and even wrote physically on note cards for the first time in a very long time.

I also started the life coach book study! Finally. I don’t know why it was such a block in my head to do that. Maybe since it’s been so long since I did any studying, and my mind has such bad memories of school. But it was fine! And even fun! I’m glad I discovered bullet journaling. I can make my notes pretty and it helps me take more time with them.

Today was full of meetings. No joke, we had a meeting every period, pretty much, until 3:15. By that time, I had no energy and no strength, so I just faffed around until 4. The meetings are mostly unnecessary. The useful stuff took around an hour or two altogether, not the five we spent. Too much gubbins.

But I’m happy. This year will be easier by far. This year I’m not going to be in charge of any events, and so won’t have to think about anything but teaching. I want to try to get better at that. At the planning and activities and such. I’m already really good at the leading and style of it.

Here’s to meditating every day. Here’s to prayer and getting back on track and fulfilling dreams. Here’s to the rest of my life!

August 9

Here we go. Another round of meetings. Hopefully not all day this time. I would like to get some school work done, thanks.

I’ve meditated three days in a row now. I forget how much it helps keep my overall state of wellbeing calm.

I’m not sure about the shirt I’m wearing today. It’s more complicated than usual. I like big baggy shirts or flowy comfortable ones. This one has full sleeves, is nipped at the waist and has a loose peplum. All serving to make me feel more self-conscious than I usually do. It’s a good exercise in not caring what I wear. The color is nice though, and my hair turned out amazing.

It’s daunting to look at the previous teacher’s stack of binders and materials. I’ll need to go through it slowly, but I can’t even get started until I know I have a few good hours to do it. I hate doing projects in bits.

Most of my creative classroom organizing work will come after school starts. I don’t know why, but that’s typically what happens. I think I have to get through the moment of beginning, and then things will calm down into the routine for the rest of the year. But right now is too full of anticipation to relax in. I need another month.