Wednesday, May 13, 2009

School of Life

Two nights ago I attended and ran the last Board meeting of the current school year at my daughter's co-op nursery school, my last meeting as president of the volunteer Board of Directors. I know that most people probably stay on the Board longer than one year, and perhaps even persevere in the president position for more than one year, but a.) I've never been convinced, this year, that Genevieve will be ready for nursery school in the fall (and if she's not, I won't have a child at this preschool for the upcoming school year), and b.) I was never cut out for this job in the first place.

Now please understand, this past year was not normal IN ANY WAY, and though you may have listened to my hysterical reaction to what my volunteer job had become last summer and thought, What in the world is her problem? People volunteer on preschool Boards all the freaking time!, I guarantee that what this current Board endured did not even remotely resemble a normal volunteer experience. I am frankly surprised we all survived with our sanity intact. That history is in part why I am bowing out now---not that I expect next year to involve anything similar at ALL, but this past year wore me down, and as a friend said the other night, I have other irons in the fire I need to attend to. It's time for me to make time for different goals, to clear my schedule enough to do so.

Of course then I went and did some crazy spontaneous scrambling in order to accept an opportunity to do a (very) small amount of evening psychotherapy work for the summer, something I haven't done in three years, since just before Genevieve was born. One step forward in clearing my schedule for a free-and-easy summer of parenting zen, two steps back. Although maybe this is one of my irons in the fire, and I just didn't know it until now.

Yesterday I read an interview with the singer Tori Amos over at the online parenting magazine Babble. I'm not a big Tori Amos fan, but she said something very compelling in this interview. She said, "The universe never deals you a problem you can't handle. If it's on your plate then it's your time to learn this at Earth school."

Notice that this concept doesn't include anything about whether or not you WANT to learn whatever it is that's on your plate. Maybe you didn't exactly want to learn how to run a preschool or how to balance the overwhelming competing demands of modern work/family life (or any other personal challenge that's stressing you out right now). Maybe that doesn't matter. I love the idea that your desire is immaterial, and that the challenge is there, on your plate, for a reason outside of your own agenda, because in my own experience it is so often the case that things that feel like burdens or insurmountable challenges at the time turn out to be useful in a way that only becomes apparent later.

Are you struggling with or annoyed by something on your plate right now? Maybe this is just your time to learn this thing. You're in Earth school--the school of life, really--and this is your current lesson. Power through it. You can do it.

1 comment:

Mnmom said...

Yes, I am. And it's not the financial picture you might imagine. It's a personal interaction problem and I'm struggling mightily with it right now and really don't want it in my head sucking up all my energy. I've always been a believer in life lessons so I agree with Tori Amo's statement. I just wish I really didn't have to learn this one right now - the timing is just awful.