I woke up feeling a little down on myself this morning. It happens from time to time and most days like this I just crawl back into bed and give up any plans or aspirations until tomorrow, but I was determined to try something new today. I don’t want to waste this time I have away from work on something so paltry as self-pity.
So, I got up and helped my wife get ready for work to keep from crawling back under the covers and when she left made a deal with myself. I promised to try my best today first then if I really couldn’t do it, if I really needed to crawl back under the covers and away from the world, if the best course turned out to be to give it up until tomorrow, I could do that without a shred of guilt, but I had to try first.
I took frequent breaks to check in with myself and slowly, with the help of housework, political podcasts, and some of my favorite playlists, my mood slowly improved. I started to like myself again, to feel motivated again, to feel cheerful again. I’d hoped to get more writing done, but getting my goals for the week spelled out and knocking one or two items off of my to-do list was more than I’d manage most days like this and the day isn’t at all over.
I’m getting to the end of my energy and willpower and if it weren’t for an All Staff Webinar from the superintendent coming up this afternoon I’d be back in bed already. I’ve been looking forward to this update and, hopefully, more concrete answers about the future of the school district and my job.
The webinar this afternoon was filled with more dire projections and unpleasant truths. COVID has negatively impacted school district budgets all over the country, and cuts need to be made across the board, but I happen to work for a very large district that is used to plenty of money and offerings for students and families. That means that, though other districts are making the same proposed cuts as us, their populations aren’t as spoiled and so they won’t face the same outcry and opposition that we will.
The budget recommendation that hit closest to home was the prospect that if COVID cases keep rising, or get worse later over the winter months, they may be forced to place employees at my level on leave without pay. I know I’m lucky to have gotten paid for the time I was off between March and May, but this uncertainty is already causing me stress. I’m almost certain we will shut down again before the end of next year, I just won’t know when or for how long, or how we will cope.
The best I can do right now is save money, get ready to find supplemental work at a moment’s notice, and not dwell in worry or on what I can’t control. All I can hope is that my fellow countrymen do what is necessary to slow the spread and ensure we can keep more people healthy and working in the future.