Lessons in Doing Nothing

Last night, someone slept through my class. But it wasn’t a student. It was me.

Not only did I also slept through my midnight/lunch-time catnap alarm, I slept through three calls from my classroom assistant in China wondering where I was, along with a text from my principal:

“Is everything OK?”

Well yes and no. My Zoom didn’t turn into a big Zzzz. My assistant kept thinks rolling as I sent myself to the principal’s office for a unexcused absent slip.

But the graveyard shift isn’t the toughest part of my life right now. It’s the other sixteen hours of the day that I struggle with, when I’m not a teacher but the student. I’m learning how to enjoy every single day of the Covid Lock-down, AKA, the Year that the World Stopped, even if that day is all night and I’m still living out of the carry-on I packed in January.

My first lesson is to lose a four-letter word from my vocabulary: when.

When will quarantines end? When will baseball players be allowed to chew tobacco again? When will I get a boarding pass to my life that once was? I’m tired of sitting on the tarmac flipping through the SkyMall magazine, wondering who orders hot dog toasters, anyway. Let’s take off already. What has it been now…five months? If the stay-at-home order were a baby, it would be able to roll over on its back by now. If it were a space mission, we’d be ready to land on Mars. That’s a lot of time to wish away, tweet away or be stress eating away.

Sage folks have been telling us to enjoy the present way before we were forced to do so, way before Dr. Fauci was as common of a household name as Mr. Clean:

“If you are depressed you are living in the past.
If you are anxious you are living in the future.
If you are at peace you are living in the present.”

― Lao Tzu

or

This is the day that the Lord has made, let us rejoice and be glad in it.” –Psalm 118:24

or

Sometimes, you will never know the value of a moment until it becomes a memory. —Dr. Seuss.

or my favorite—

“Waiting for tomorrow is like dropping the ice cream cone of today.” — Mom

(If you knew my Mom’s feelings about ice cream, you’d know how serious this is.)

Another lesson I learned?

Catnaps should be under twenty minutes or you risk falling into deep REM sleep. Hopefully, my new vibrating alarm clock will keep me from ever sleeping through class again, much to my students’ chagrin.

As for sleeping through parts of life? I wish someone would make an alarm or that.

Until they do, I’ll just view the present like a scoop of Ben & Jerry’s Chunky Monkey, in a waffle cone yet.

Enjoy it before it melts.

What lessons are you learning during this “Be still and chill” chapter of reality?

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