Monday, August 23, 2010

Getting Clear Again

(Enzo with his cup after eating.)

I have begun the second week of work, with students present, this academic year.  It has been quite an experience and I have been adapting as quickly as possible to my new role in education as vice principal.  Luckily I am well supported; the principal and one of the other assistant principals have held my exact position before (we have three vice principals with different primary responsibilities at my school) and they both make themselves available to help me.  Also, I have had a couple months of work in the summer to learn.

Still, I have lost myself a few times in the work to the point of feeling ungrounded.  I have felt some anxiety on occasion with some triggers being work stress and others being nothing to do with the job.  Today, for example, was quite hot, a trigger of mine, and while I was sweating in my shirt and tie I did have to work through anxious thoughts that I might end up in a panic attack.  It never came.  It has been much of a year since I have had a full panic attack and I have become good at dealing with anxiety most of the time.  On occasions that I am not so good, as was the case last Friday, my lovely wife is there for me.  As are several good people who have assured me that I may call on them at any time I feel my anxiety rising.  This Friday, Tami was there to help me work through my anxiety.

It was the high anxiety I felt Friday night that helped me in a way.  It meant that I gave myself excuse to spend as much of Saturday as possible appreciating my son and wife and avoiding any responsibility or concern that did not deal directly with our time together.  That prepared me for Sunday when I did just enough around the house and at work to feel responsible, to get a grip on my reality, and to feel a sense of peace and so take a look around me.  I never seem to realize I'm not myself until I'm me again, looking around and appreciating the world with some version of my general perspective.  A perspective that includes knowing my family and my experience is more important than achieving any self-, or otherwise, established deadline.  It all prepared me for a better today.  In essence, I felt less desperate to accomplish any task today though still effective at my tasks, more myself, appreciative of my surroundings, happier and present.  Even in dealing with anxiety during the heat today I was far more myself than I had been last week.  I woke up with plans to get to work early but I was totally okay with getting there at a regular time; giving Tami my fool attention when we had reason to chat this morning and love each other.  After school let out, I was fairly efficient and, not spending a ridiculous amount of extra time at work, I arrived home completely awake.  Last week most of our evenings together uncharacteristically involved prepared food, late night eating, and zombie-like unwinding with a television after a bit of chatting.  Today I washed dishes, Tami prepared a meal, and Enzo sat in his high chair serenading us with his various sounds between eating avocado.  Then, Enzo and I spent a couple of hours playing with no sounds other than our own.  It was a great time.

It's late now, and I am tired, but I am also me being tired.  I was there today when my body worked, talked with Tami, washed dishes, played with Enzo, and as I write this post.  I know what the air smells like, I know what my skin feels like.  I remember how good my son's skin smelled as I kissed him tonight.  I remember how much I loved my wife as we talked about big things in life.  I've been too far from myself, and too tired anyway, to be philosophical lately.  But today, I felt the satisfaction of being, doing what I needed to do, experiencing what was mine to experience, and enjoying the extra treat of spending my evening as a family with Tami and Enzo.  It's good to be here.  And, writing this, taking stock through words, felt very good.

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