Today after school I had three-way conferences with students and their parents. While I always look forward to time spent with families, it makes for a long day. Before my first conference started, I made sure I took the time to go to the staff room and brew myself a cup of Earl Grey tea with sugar and fresh lemon. Why? Because it makes me happy. It's a small treat, but holding that mug and sipping that sweet, tangy liquid gives me a little jolt of joy.
There are so many things we can dread, but there are so many small ways to make those things just a bit more pleasant too.
Another example? I had a ton of form-filling in to do last night: mindless, numbing, and low on the list of life want-to-dos. What was high on the list, however, was watching the movie stars file in on the red carpet for the Oscars. Now, I didn't need to catch every single starlet's gait and cleavage and witty repartee with Ryan Seacrest, so I combined the form filling with the watching (and added in some popcorn for good measure) and voila - dirty job done, but with some pleasure thrown in.
Learning Chinese characters is pretty near one of the most challenging (and sometimes boring) things a person can do. Unlike many learning activities, it requires a great deal of drill and a repetitive kinesthetic movement to learn. I suggested to a student tonight (perhaps to her parents' chagrin) that since she was already quite good with writing her characters but needed more practice just to embed them in her mind, she might just write them again and again on a whiteboard while watching The Simpsons, her favorite show. (Please note: parents, this is not a frequent recommendation of mine; in fact, I would actively discourage it, as a rule.) But sometimes it works.
Like many, exercise is not always my favorite pastime. I'm getting better, but often I'd rather watch some mindless entertainment or escape for a while. So why can't I escape and exercise? If I pop on an episode of Satellite Sisters on my iPod and get myself out the door for a walk, before I know it, an hour has passed, my heart is healthier and I've had a good guffaw and come home feeling quite self-righteous and happy (as well as healthier).
We’re always going to have to do stuff we don’t particularly enjoy. We do not always have to do it, however, with a “this sucks” attitude. Add a bit of pleasure into the so-called pain and you may just find yourself having a good time. For sure you’ll be having a better time!
My Pleasure/Pain Combos For Tonight:
· Doing a Pilates DVD with my six year old daughter. (Having her there always adds to the entertainment value and makes the time pass more quickly.)
· Taking care of a bit of marking combined with a glass of Shiraz (not more than that or the marking might not be as measured as it should be).
· Listening to a few of my favorite podcasts: The Satellite Sisters (http://satellitesisters.com/newstalklaughs/listen/showarchives/ as well as The Chaos Chronicles (http://chaoschronicles.com/the-show/season-four/ ) while taking notes for an outline of my own upcoming podcast debut (perhaps while continuing to sip that Shiraz).
|No pain here: just pure pleasure with my rockin' sis-in-law|
and sweet kids!