When I was teaching high school in the United States, I loved Friday nights and the month of July. Why? Because those were the only times I was not in transition.
By Saturday afternoon, I was planning both emotionally and mentally for my lessons on Monday. By August 1st, back to school advertisements were screeching through the radio and my preparations began. Even when I wasn’t working, I was preparing to work. I was in transition.
It was not until we left on this journey, 17 months ago, that I realized I never analyzed the cost/benefit analysis of transitions until now. It is not that the transitions were not worth it but I never accounted for them.
I would accept party invitations and volunteer for committees without thinking through what that would really mean. I never thought about who would cook dinner or the fact that we wouldn’t have a family meal during Little League season. I never thought about waking my youngest from her nap to pick up another child from a playdate. I never realized it until I was cursing myself while in transition.
I am not saying that I regret those engagements, but I hope to remember the cost of my commitments and the impact they have in the future. It is not just that I used to get nervous looking at my booked calendar, I also used to fear the down time.
Now, there are some things I would not sacrifice for any transition, even if that means letting people down or having to say no.
I have learned from the Italian business owners who close for lunch every day even if it means lost revenue. I have learned from the school my children attend that dining is an important subject that can not be rushed. Teachers and students spend over an hour eating lunch. I have learned from generations of people who walk arm and arm every day in our village, that sometimes not having to transition is the best investment long term.
For the transitions that I choose, perhaps inviting them as part of the journey rather than a necessary evil is the best plan. I hope to always remember the space this journey has given me to be where I am without the need to plan for the next transition.
I know I always had that space but I hid behind my calendar as if IT was in charge, as if I was not the one creating it. Never again. . .