Sunday, November 02, 2008

Reasons to Smile

I know we're still weeks shy of Thanksgiving, but I am feeling inspired to create a list. A little hiccup today has caused me to reflect on some things. Fortunately, I'm handling the hiccup pretty gracefully. Still, every once in a while, I need to remind myself of all the reasons I have to smile. So here's a few.

1. I Love My Job

I spent two years in a job I hated. I was miserable, and creatively stifled. It turns out that some of us are not well-suited to working with teenagers, and that is perfectly okay.

My current job is right up my alley. I love the younger kids, and I am one of those rare teachers who likes the challenge of working with middle school. My kindergartners make me smile. My 7th/8th graders keep me on my toes. My duties as a VAPA teacher allow me to be creative--which is up their on my personal hierarchy of needs--and my days fly by. I'm pleasantly exhausted when I get home, but not whipped to the point of being useless. Which brings me to my second reason to smile...

2. Depression. Did. Not. Win.

I'm still on anti-depressants--a low dose. Maybe I always will be, to help me deal with anxiety and stress. That's okay. But I'm noticing something since I've moved to Stockton--I'm responding well to stressful situations (and, well, I'm encountering fewer of them at work every day, which is nice). I'm still struggling with my weight, but even that is improving. I got my behind back to the gym this week, and, a couple of hours ago, I responded to the above-mentioned hiccup by going to the gym and spending 45 minutes on the cross-trainer. Five hundred-plus burned calories and a ton of endorphins later, I'm feeling pretty good.

3. As Ever, Millennium Joy

What can I say? Millie's the best. We're rapidly approaching our ninth anni-fur-sary (Dec. 12) and I love her more each day.

4. Money in Savings

I've managed to keep a pretty decent sum of money in my savings account, which, God willing, will mean a trip to England next June.

5. My Favorite Time of Year

Halloween? Like it. Thanksgiving? Love it. Christmas? ADORE it. Daylight Savings? Awesome. Colder weather? Bring it on. Leaves crunching under my feet, hot tea on a rainy day, being bundled inside scrapbooking or reading a good book...these are a few of my favorite things.

6. Activities

Joining the Stockton Chorale has been one of the best moves I've made since coming here. I'm really enjoying the music, the other singers, everything. Even after the Shoehaha at our first concert!

I'm also contemplating taking on a private piano student or two--one night a week only--to earn some extra money for the London Fund.

7. Friends and Family

This afternoon's hiccup aside, I have some awesome friends, and my parents are second-to-none.

8. I'm Watching History Unfold

Those who know me well know I have some decidedly liberal leanings. I haven't said much on my LPB because I have friends and family with different views than mine, and this is a place for me to talk about my life without causing drama. But I'll say it now, two days before the election: My vote is going to Obama.

But I also figure, that either way, we're making history. We will either elect the first black man to the White House, or the first woman. Earlier this year, a woman had a legitimate chance at a major-party presidential nomination. Are things perfect in the United States? Heavens, no. We still have work to do. The process of maintaining a nation like ours takes constant work and effort.

But we've come a long way, baby. And the history buff in me is watching it all with wide-eyed awe.

Yes, I have reasons to smile. : )

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