We are entering the second half of September. School has started. My busy life has begun. I reluctantly shift away from summer – the beach, the mountains, my independent reading time, the sun. And slowly I enter September already weary from thoughts of all I have to do, all I must do, all the little things that await me.
School to Do Get the Dresses Out of the closet. Buy the notebooks, New pens, paperclips, Transparent tape. Get the class lists, Start putting names With eager faces, Put dates on calendar: Division Meetings, Department Meetings, Student Support Meetings, Parent Meetings. Set the kettle on the stove, Brew a steaming Cup of vanilla chai. Breathe in the spice, Exhale the stress. In this moment School can wait.
August to September I leave… Sleeping late, Summer sun Streaming through The windows. I leave… Book adventures Of my own choosing: Romantic, Mysterious, Inspiring, Hilarious. I leave… Big road trips, New sights, The sea and The mountains. I welcome… Cooler days, Morning commutes, Little faces Ready to learn. I welcome… Camaraderie, Lessons learned, Moments of Laughter. I welcome… New books, Crisp pages, Fresh paint On old walls, A new school year.
This past week, I have been thinking of ways to energize myself for my school year. I have been going to school for sixty-two years. I have been teaching school for forty-three years. This year will be the twentieth anniversary of working at my present school. All of these years could feel like a very heavy weight, if I let them. School could finally become monotonous instead of fresh. School could become just another long and tedious “TO DO” list. Maybe instead of looking at all I have to do; I reframe my thoughts as all the wonderful thing I get to do. One day I won’t be able to do these things; one day soon I will be retired; one day soon I will not be on this marvelous blue planet. So, in this moment, why not appreciate all the things I get to do at school, at home, in my daily life.
Sunny-side I Get to... Wake up this morning To green out my window And blue, blue sky. Canada Geese on the field, The verdant woods beyond. I Get to... Crack open a brown egg for breakfast, sunny-side - Multigrain toast, fig jam, Strong Irish tea. I Get to… Set this day before me With intention, With a devotion to the real, With a disposition, sunny-side. I Get to… Create space and opportunity: Laughing with loved ones, Painting the sunset With words and brushes. I Get to… Choose the day I make, The one that was Gratefully given to me, The one I am blessed with.
Some Websites on the Power of “I Get to…”
How a Small Shift in Your Vocabulary Can Instantly Change Your Attitude
I Have To vs. I Get To: How to Change Your Mindset from Obligation to Opportunity
Improve Your Mood by Replacing “I Have to” with “I Get To”
4 thoughts on “A Fresh Look at Lists”
Love this post!! Can’t wait to catch up when you have a moment. xoxo Karen
On Sat, Sep 18, 2021 at 9:57 AM Word Dancer: Literature, the Arts, & Educati
I love this, Jojo.tha ks for the reminders of “get to” and to enjoy each small beautiful moment. Thank you!!!
Wow, what a different mindset to write an “I Get To” list instead of a To-Do list. I’m adding this to my list of poems to write in the future. I also love the breathing out of “I leave…” and the breathing in of “I welcome…” Lovely post.
Full of wisdom and – yes! – energy! This shift in perspective from “all I have to do” to “I GET to do” makes a world of difference. Sometimes that shift is all it takes for new energy to start flowing. Such a timely, encouraging post.