22. why

The message of this post has been on my mind for the past month constantly. For those who know me well, when I say constantly…it means it’s all I can think about. It’s something that consumes my thoughts a good majority of my day. I feel that it’s a concept many of us may struggle with without even knowing we’re doing it. Of course, my perfectionism has gotten the best of me and I’ve sat down quite a few times to write it and I instantly have writer’s block.

The past eight weeks have been a whirlwind. I’ve experienced the death of my grandma who was not only my grandmother, but my best friend, confidant, voice of reason, summer lunch date, and source of hugs all wrapped up into one pretty darn remarkable woman. Started a new part-time job that is exhausting. Made the decision to start a master’s degree program in January. Tackled report cards, parent-teacher conferences, and difficult situations at school. I think the list could go on, but it’s not about the past eight weeks.

Throughout my day, I find myself becoming frustrated and anxious by the little things. Exhaustion, 16 hour work days, missing CrossFit for the third time in a row, educational hoops to jump through, parent emails, legislation that makes no sense, data to sift through, etc. The fact that I feel like this is maddening in itself because I normally am overwhelmingly optimistic so then starts the guilt about feeling this way–creating quite the vicious circle.

Everyone always says that focusing on the big picture is overwhelming and it’s best to take each day as it comes. But I think I need to challenge that. Maybe it’s the ridiculously sharp focus we all have on the little things in front of us that make us lose sight of the big picture. The why. The reason we do the things we do. The flame that ignited the fire inside us all.

Asking myself, “Why?” has been monumental. It has brought what matters back into view. I’m starting to no longer be hyperfocused on what’s wrong with education, guilt from missing workouts, or the drama of working retail. Sure, those things still line the background of what’s in front of me but it’s not what makes up my entire perspective.

Why am I a teacher? To inspire, motivate, and ignite a passion for learning. To challenge and love each child I’m lucky enough to get the chance to teach. To build the child up, not only academically, but emotionally. I want each child to walk away from my classroom knowing that I believed in and loved him/her.

Why am I working a second job? To save money for my future–more specifically, my master’s degree. My goal of being financially responsible is one that I am constantly striving to meet. The discount also can’t be beat, given my functional shopaholic status.

Why do I do CrossFit? Because it changed my life. It erased my body image issues. It continues to keep me healthy and happy. It’s not about how many times per week I go, what weights I use, where I’m at on the whiteboard, the guilt I feel for straying from my 5x per week routine, or what time I get on a “benchmark.” It’s about how I feel after I’ve achieved what I thought I couldn’t. It’s about the wonderfully genuine people I choose to spend my 5am with.

I’ve realized how easy it is to get caught up in the little things. So many people emphasize the little things…but I think that slope is quite the slippery one. Appreciating the unexpected is necessary to happiness, focusing on frustrations is damaging.

Here’s to making sure the big picture is always what shapes your landscape. Notice all the little things, let them fade into the background. Remembering the “why”, the passion behind why you choose to live the way you do.

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