Wednesday, February 20, 2019

A Head Cold

I have a head cold. I know it's irrational, but I generally view any viral illness--really any infirmity, bacterial, viral, or musculoskeletal--as a personal failing. I don't view other people's health problems this way. It's just me.

Did I fall down in my handwashing?

Did I eat inflammatory foods?

Did I otherwise fail to most valiantly battle against prevalent airborne infections?

Certainly, there's something I could have done, and so I've been beating myself up about the cold for several days now. I've also been inhaling steam infused with oil of oregano. I've slathered the area between my nose and my mouth with Aquaphor so as not to look like an eight-year-old who can't manage her Kleenex. I've been taking ibuprofen to manage my headache. I've avoided juicy coughing in public whenever possible.

I felt a little better today. Tomorrow, I'll feel even better. I can feel righteous about my relatively short viral illness. I can try harder to avoid the next one. I can never give up.

Sunday, February 10, 2019

Looking Forward

Next year, I'm not planning to be a teacher. Instead, I'm going to be a full-time writer. This decision, while not necessarily permanent, seems relatively life-changing in all kinds of big and small ways.

For instance, I'll be able to get my haircut on a weekday. Also, I can stay home if a repair person needs to make a service call. If I get sick, it won't require hours of work and worry to miss a day of school. Dan won't have to leave his job if there's an ortho appointment or the dog needs to go to the vet. We can do our Costco run on Monday mornings instead of during the apocalyptic weekend hours. It won't be hard to make dinner or exercise.

Perhaps most importantly, I have a fighting chance at finishing my second book by the deadline of January 1, 2020. That's the real reason why I'm making this change, but the whole family is kind of fantasizing about the aforementioned other benefits. Shef raised his arms in victory when I told him the plan, and I don't think he was necessarily thinking of my glorious hours in a sunny co-working space, writing snappy dialogue and clever plot twists.

Of course, there are downsides to the pivot, as well. Most notable is the fact that I like my job. Teaching is more of an identity than a profession. I've done it for nearly 20 years, for basically all of my working life. And, I recently changed jobs from secondary to elementary teaching. The switch has revitalized me and turned me into a learner all over again. I'm sorry to leave it just as I'm getting started, especially because searching for another new teacher so soon will inconvenience my colleagues.

But, being a full-time novelist for a year or two or maybe longer? That's a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity, don't you think? I've got to give it shot.