A Perfect Day Off

Sunshine, green everywhere, and living in the moment. Ahh.

It’s a long story, but for reasons too complicated to fully explain at the moment, I chose to accept a teaching position and teach another year of high school Spanish.

[Short version: the farm I bought in Southwest Oklahoma just didn’t work out, and since I thought it could take a year or more to sell it, I decided to accept a job in Norman.]

I didn’t want to teach this year. My plan was to take off at least one or two years to write. But needing a place to live as well as the means to pay my farm payment meant a reversal of plans was necessary. When I was unexpectedly contacted with the job offer, I debated with myself for a week, took it, and went looking for an apartment in Norman.

Then the farm sold after 3 days on the market. The remodel, as stressful and lengthy as it had been, paid off. It closed August 1st and I had to report for new teacher orientation the very next morning, August 2nd. “Summer” was gone, and with it all my energy and emotional reserves. I was seriously grieving the loss of my farm dreams as well as the chance to write full time for a couple of years, plus experiencing off-the-charts anxiety over some of the terrifying things that happened during the whole farm experience in June.

I had to implement a drastic anxiety-reduction plan just to get through August with some semblance of sanity. (More on that later...it also involved healing up some health issues from long term stress + anxiety--and the results have been truly surprising.)

Then, school started mid-August and hit me like a ton of bricks. Setting up a new classroom in a new school from the ground up was an unbelievable amount of work for me, especially with a severe case of plantar fasciitis in my left foot. I haven’t had to learn all the systems or set up in a new school in 9 years. And there are all the cultural differences between Oklahoma and Colorado that mean I have to adjust my classroom management and instructional style, on the daily right now (and I still don’t really know what I’m doing.)

I wanted to quit, real bad, twice in the past 7 days, but I decided to give it at least a few more weeks before I do something so drastic and unreliable as break a teaching contract.

Then, we got the Friday before Labor Day off, making it a 4-day weekend. I've never worked in a district that gave me that day off before. (Thank you calendar committee at Norman Public Schools...brilliant!)

I decided to make use of my day, getting some much needed things done but also following my heart a little and just enjoying Norman as if I’m on vacation here. The weather was characteristically hot, but perfect for my mood. Everything was green and lush with the recent heavy rains we’ve had and the humidity outside felt like a gentle, benevolent sauna.

First, Taking Care Of Me

It was pajamas, hot tea, and relaxing (reading/Facebook) on the sofa for a couple hours after I got out of bed. Perfect de-stressing, slow morning after the hectic few weeks I've had at school.

Then, Taking Care of Business

I took my Xterra to the local Christian Brothers shop to get the exhaust looked at because there’s been a weird smell in the cab since the end of June.

Turns out, it was probably a mouse, rat, or skunk that climbed into the engine compartment (at my farm) and either died or just left some poo behind.

No charge, plus a free bottle of water and nothing but friendly, awesome service.

I was feeling good, and it was only 10:30, so I decided to take the Xterra to a local car wash/auto detail shop (Cruise-In on Main,) get a detail plus hand wax, and take an Uber to get some lunch while they worked on cleaning my farm-encrusted + bug-splattered SUV inside and out.

Vegan Lunch

A black Jeep Wrangler and muscular, nice-looking "Josh" showed up to escort me to Earth Cafe and drop me off for lunch. $7 well spent on Uber. :)

I chose a veggie juice made from beet, carrot, garlic, lemon, and ginger for detoxing and to boost my immune system, then ordered Loaded Nachos (vegan and gluten-free.)
Probably looks kind of messy and un-photogenic, but it was delicious.

While paying at the register, I noticed some Vegan Sweet Potato Blondies in the cookie case, and made a mental note to look for a recipe to make it myself so I could make them sugar-free.

A Nice Walk

After lunch, I decided to try some walking and enjoy the sunshine on my skin. My left foot held up pretty well, and I made it to a Starbucks shop halfway between Earth Cafe and Cruise-In without much pain.

I had forgotten to bring any digestive enzymes with me to help digest the beans, corn chips, and vegan cheese (I like Digest-All vegetarian enzymes) so I ordered a grande Mint Majesty (mint soothes the gut and helps with digestion,) sweetened it with half a packet of Sweetleaf stevia I found in my purse, and sat sipping it and working on my blog on my phone. I also looked up the vegan sweet potato blondies, found this simple, easy-to-adapt to Sugar Free recipe, and made a quick grocery list.

A little before noon, Cruise-In called to say my Xterra was ready, so I walked the rest of the way to their shop and picked it up.

I decided to complete my car's Care Day by filling up with some good gas (91 octane "pure gasoline, no ethanol" - a big deal here in Oklahoma!) and stopped for the sweet potato blondie ingredients at the grocery store.

Baking and Relaxing

I spent the rest of the afternoon making and eating the blondies, sipping tea, and reading self-help books as well as watching Tony Robbins on YouTube.
Lord, these were good. Mostly sweet potato, almond butter, and coconut flour.

Evening time I soaked in Epsom salts, put on pajamas, and had a phone date with the new guy I'm seeing (more on that later as well, ;-)).

So What Constitutes a "Perfect" Day Off?

First of all, there is no such thing as a "perfect" day in terms of no obstacles, no pain, no tasks, no waiting, no traffic, no adversity whatsoever. Not in MY life, anyway.

What makes a day "perfect" is all in your perspective, and in what you make of it. For me, what made the day "perfect" was this:

1. I stayed present and lived in the moment, accepting what was, taking life as it came to me.

2. I divided my free time between taking care of some things (my car, picking up a few groceries,) resting (couch time, tea, YouTube, reading, phone date,) hobbies (blog, baking,) and vacationing in my new town (Uber, Earth Cafe, Starbucks, walking.)

Some days off I just stay home in pajamas and mostly nap. Some days off I work like a demon on projects, cleaning, errands, computer work, etc. The key is to go with your own flow, pay attention to your mind, heart, and body, and give yourself what you need.

A question I like to ask myself when I'm feeling overwhelmed, stressed, and have a ton of things to get done is "What is most needful right now?" or "What is most needful today?" Then I just tackle the obvious answers that emerge. Many things can be left for another day, and some things don't have to be done at all.

Hope this helps, and I wish you a happy Sunday!