If you work in education, back-to-school is always a busy time of year. This year was particularly "richly scheduled" for me, with family and creative expression and global service work all piling on the bandwagon atop my professional obligations: vying for my time and attention simultaneously, keeping me involved in fulfilling work with dynamic educators, collaborative artistic endeavors, secret surprises for loving family and friends, projects for work and service and fun. Somehow these luscious opportunities managed to converge and come to fruition all at the same time, taking me from New York to a New England village and back, then to an East Coast industrial city and back, and finally to a model Pacific northwest city and back. Wow!
Between traveling and deadlines, gigs and guests, planning and preparing, workshops and weddings, my time and focus and energy have been full speed ahead without a break for more weeks than I can count. I have reached forget-about-fitting-into-the-dress-and-eat-whatever-is-at-hand tired; I’m at the point of no-small-talk-let’s-get-straight-to-the-point drained; I’ve been at “good-night-dear-I’m-still-working” fatigue for days on end; I have long since passed any reasonable level of I’ll-just-do-one-more (haha)-hour-of-work-today weary.
Yes, I'm tired. Exhausted.
And aren't I lucky!
Lucky, because each item and event in the explosion of activity that has me tuckered out is a blessing, not a burden. Because each personal and professional pursuit grows out of a choice I have made, and offers a rewarding opportunity for me to connect to my created and extended family—those I love and respect and enjoy.
There are so many people on this planet whose fatigue stems from not knowing where their next meal is coming from; or deciding whether to climb aboard a rickety boat to escape the confusion and danger in the country where they’ve lived all their life; or from constantly looking over their shoulder in a new and strange place to make sure no one is going to send them back to a nation where they have no opportunities; from fleeing war and violence, bigotry and poverty.
How lucky for me, my family, and the colleagues and friends I work and live most closely with every day, that none of these worries is the primary focus of our day-to-day life. How lucky that my exquisite exhaustion has a sound track of silly pop songs danced to in celebration, and the electricity of engaged educators dedicating their energies to getting better at enriching students’ lives.
Let’s not take our gifts for granted. Let’s each do our part so that all those who want an education and a life of fulfilling work and play and love soon have the opportunity to live in peace and comfort, and weary themselves not with worries and fears, but with life’s abundant pleasures.
Here’s to the exquisite exhaustion of a richly scheduled life, for all who would have one.
Images courtesy of Lucille Rivin photos, Google Images, and Wallace wedding guests. Excerpt from "Celebration" by Kool and the Gang.