Thursday, October 02, 2008

Life in the Fast Lane...

The lyrics of Emmy Rossum’s “Slow Me Down” keep running through my head as I sit here at the computer wondering where on earth the month of September went.

Actually, I know where I spent most of it. In 9.5 days of supply teaching, I have earned more than my last 3 months of Hoffman cheques put together. This has sometimes meant such a diverse day as Kindergarten art in the morning where I discovered one little boy had quite an appetite for white glue to remedial English at the High School level in the afternoon on a warm, sunny day with teenager who would rather be anywhere but in the classroom with the student teacher. I was there to make sure that she didn’t get eaten alive and discovered that being 6’8” with my 3 inch heels on comes in handy.

My family is adjusting to the transition of having to come home to the house without me in it, to laundry piling up and meals in the slow cooker, but I no longer anguish when I take a full day to draw for my portfolio. Before, I used to sit in front of the paper and berate myself for costing my family money by spending hours on something that didn’t bring in a guaranteed income within 30 days.

I am loving the variety of supply teaching and the many different levels of classes that I get to visit. One hallway of Kindergarten and Grade One children at a new school yesterday is convinced that I am the tallest woman on earth! I may be falling into bed much earlier or pushing myself to stay up and design or snip floss for kits after hectic days, but at least the edge of panic that I spent the summer facing as I wrestled with what to do is wearing off.

The entire world economic climate seems to teeter on the edge of crisis on a daily basis as the news blares out to us about stock market crashes and losses in the billions.

What they fail to focus on is the resilience of the human spirit.

Our ancestors and much of the 3rd world would shake their heads at us for the hand wringing and teeth gnashing that we do in our land of plenty. For most of our human history, we made do with less. Pioneer women made toys out of scraps of cloth while we berate ourselves as we look ahead to the holidays and the list of expensive plastic toys or electronic gadgets on our children’s wish lists. We worry about cooking a meatless meal or two a week when stewed pumpkin or squash are often staples anywhere in our world when meat is scarce.

As a race, humans have encountered incredible challenges and hardships before.

As a generation or two right now, our society seems to believe that we should be able to have it all... no matter what. This relentless consumerism in the face of economic uncertainty is most obvious as I walk the corridors of the high schools doing lunch time duty as I listen to teenagers talk about the latest brand names they have to have or use their cellphones to check the time instead of wearing a watch. Few of them have any idea about what hardship really is. It was MY generation that had grandparents who went through hardships during the war or remembered the Great Depression, not theirs.

We need to remember just how resilient we are. Sometimes it may require hard work, being tired or moving out of our comfort zone. Any dream worth chasing will involve sweat and tears as well as laughter and joy.

Maybe there are still parts of our society that still need to learn this lesson. I know that I am stronger and happier for relearning it myself!