This week was another long work week. Over the last two years, I’ve been doing some anti-racism work with students, and the latest step was to organize a conference to be held at our school. We had facilitators come in to lead the workshops, but the administrative work was all mine. It involved a lot of little details, which I don’t mind attending to as long as I have the time, which has been in short supply lately.
Somehow, it all got done, and at the end, I stepped up to say a few impromptu words to close the conference. I looked around at thirty-five students who had just spent the whole day actively involved in anti-racism training, as well as five faculty members, two facilitators, and my school’s principal. I spoke to them about how impressed I was by them all, how powerful they were as a group, how much potential there was in the room to make positive change in our community, and how excited I was to support them in whatever future work they decided to do together or as individuals. I felt grateful, inspired, and satisfied.
Sadly, I don’t often feel these things in my job, so it was lovely to feel it yesterday. At the beginning of the week, I had told my principal that I would be leaving a post I’ve filled for the last five years as the advisor of a club that supports students with intellectual disabilities. It’s meant a lot to me to be a part of that club, but I’m at the point where I’m trying to reduce my commitments so that I can last in the job and come back to the place where my experience in the classroom is inspiring and satisfying again. Something has to give. After five years growing that club, it’s well-established and well-liked at our school. Someone else will easily be able to step into the advisor position and keep it running smoothly. I think I will stay with the anti-racism group as that is the realm that has the most growth potential if I can keep momentum going with the students.
I still feel like I’m crossing things off the list at work, bit by bit, just trying to get to the summer so I can breathe again. I don’t want to miss out on spring, however, in the process. Today, Newman and I decided to make the rounds of our town-wide yard sales (my mother deemed it doesn’t count against the no-retail rule for May). I soaked up some glorious spring weather along the way. I was looking for one thing, and one thing only: soccer cleats, size 1.5 or 2.
What does one’s yard sale purchases say about them? Here’s what I bought:
- Brand new Yamaha guitar with strap and book for Free’s birthday: $50 (original cost $130. Newman says it’s a great deal, and he will give Free her first couple of lessons. She’s also getting a zipline for the backyard that I haven’t ordered yet. If you have recommendations, let me know!)
- One of those Indian cotton patterned shirts that are great beach cover-ups: $1
- A vintage red kitchen clock (so cute): $20
- Five children’s books: $2.50
- Five huge clamps that look like this that Newman wanted for their practical value–and which I plan to spray-paint red because I think they’ll look so cool hanging up in our garage!: $5
Newman bought a carpet runner and a candle holder and took home a box of free tennis balls from Jack, an avid older fisherman who took his phone number in exchange and talked his ear off for twenty minutes. This frequently happens to Newman, so I was not surprised that he found a new friend while I was searching for cleats.
We found cleats in sizes 3 and 4. I didn’t buy them.
Why didn’t I buy them? What was my logic in not spending an extra two dollars now to save myself this hassle next year? There is no sense in it; I can only say that I was done being a buyer for the day.
When I came home, I dug into my closet. I recently read Paulo Coelho’s Brida, a book I did not love but took one piece of wisdom from: wear all your clothes and get rid of the rest. This makes so much sense to me and seems so obvious, yet it continues to be hard to get rid of a lot of clothes I do not wear but feel attached to for various reasons. Two hours after I began switching out winter to summer options, I had a huge bag of clothes to donate and was reinforced with absolute clarity in the knowledge that I do not need to shop in May, June, July, or perhaps ever again. I have far too many clothes and not enough closet space. The good thing is that I will head to Vermont next weekend for mother’s day to see my mom and my sisters, who will surely have some fun digging through my bag of clothes before it heads to the local hospital’s thrift store.
Tomorrow Newman and I will do an eight mile walk for hunger, and Free will join us for some of the route. Another spring day is ahead. Can’t wait!