OT: Values clarification
We start classes soon. It’s always a good time for me to think about resolutions, but I’m not calling them resolutions. Just priorities to keep in mind. If they are priorities, I can’t fail at them, but I can try harder to maximize them.
- The one thing that is more decisive than all of the others — enough sleep. Minimum required is nine hours. Every night. No matter what.
- Second thing — regular, soul-sustaining and -cultivating worship at the appointed times.
- Corollary to two: making worship mean something in daily life. Cultivating compassion for others allows me more room for compassion toward myself. No self-punishment. Support friends. Build community.
- Third thing — regular, nourishing meals at civilized hours.
- Fourth thing: don’t forget that I am a writer. A writer needs to write like a human needs to breathe. Do not give up writing for any reason. Morning pages, blogging, other projects. This got lost during the summer because of life events, and it was deadening; led to problems with one and three. Hmmm. Maybe I should have put this first.
- Corollary to four — emotions have to be accessible and available enough that I can write. Maintain structures that keep that in place, including not letting myself get so overwhelmed with negative emotions that I need days to recover. Play the right music. Detach, walk away politely or impolitely from any non-essential situation likely to create negative emotion that I can reasonably get away from.
- Continue to accept that I cannot control what is happening at home at any level. I cannot control the progress of the disease, the drinking, my parents’ or brother / SIL’s behavior.
- Continue to be 100 percent there for students who clearly show passively or actively that they need me, but stop expending unreasonable psychic energy on those who are not interested in what I have to give. “Making a difference” does not have to mean a futile attempt to cure singlehandedly all the educational deficits of the last twelve years — one that just leaves me exhausted and feeling like a failure.
- Find ways to organize outcome evaluation in classes that are more humane to myself. Keyword: less stress over, less emotional involvement in, grading. Recognize that if I can’t find a way to grade quickly and efficiently without generating mild symptoms of mental illness, I will need to abandon the teaching profession.
- Remember that despite the “deal with it now” quality of life during the semester and my parents’ needs, that I will have to have a life after term ends and after they are gone. Take steps towards moving in a permanent life direction that’s not dependent on limited-term contracts and apartment leases in cities that are pleasant enough, but are not where I want to be living. Figure out what a sustainable life is and start to move toward living it.
- Corollary to that: Find a reasonably nuanced values scale upon which to decide the “professor or not a professor” question, which is really pressing, and act upon the decision.
- Remember to enjoy life. This is the only one I have and it’s probably half over at least. No one is ever sorry, on her deathbed, that she didn’t work harder.
In sum, no matter what I’ve been taught all my life, making sure that I get what I need most and want in order to be successful is not selfish. My needs are modest and they are not unreasonable, no matter what anyone else believes or tries to tell me. My needs are not the only needs on the planet, but they are not less important simply because other people also have needs. And none of these things impinge unreasonably upon others.
So that’s my list. Do you see the fall as a moment for values clarification? If so, what’s on your priority list?