Summer is busy. Friends are traveling, routines get disturbed, and many of us end up trying to catch up at this time of year. We are reconnecting to the scheduled lives that come at the end of August. Many teachers across the country are back in school already. Some have already recounted their angst and frustration at district directives and others are entering the year full of optimism and cheer.
May is usually a busy month for me. But, September is shaping up to be just as busy. My hobbies or rather, my self-imposed work of monarch conservation, jewelry making, writing garden club lessons, finishing a master’s degree in environmental education, and ongoing involvement in educational reform are all going to keep me moving at a fairly rapid pace.
But, I have to remind myself to stay connected. Earlier this year I found that if I did not have regular connections with friends, I fell into a slump. Mid June to mid-July was hard. I was moody and unfocused. Many of my coffee dates, walking dates, and lunches were cancelled either by me or my friends due to other commitments. I started a search to add more to joy in my life by reading books and reflecting on what really brings me satisfaction. Of course, as one reflects on what brings happiness and contentment, one also realizes that there are some things that must be let go. This is the point at which I find myself now.
There are things and people I definitely want to stay connected to and those that cause me pause, forcing me to wonder if I could just as easily do without. I am finding satisfaction in conversations that tell me I am understood, and frustration in those conversations that tell me I am not. Since my extended family is small and physically distant, I rely on the support I get from my friends – those to whom I am connected. I know that I am a teacher, a gardener, a citizen scientist, a monarch conservationist, an author, a jewelry designer, along with all the other roles that come with adulthood such as wife, mother, and daughter.
Staying connected to those who bring me joy (and hopefully to those I give some joy) is playing a larger role in my life. I have realized it is important to have connections and stay connected. But, I am also left with a sense of sadness as I have discovered some connections are not as strong as they once were or could be. There is an absence of shared interests and activities which makes staying connected hard. What happens to you when you discover you are not as well understood as you thought you were or when you realize you no longer share any common interests with a friend? I’d like to know how I can stay connected. What do you think?