I was listening to "Dancing in the Dark" this morning. Obviously. It's always been one of my favorite Springsteen songs because a) if The Boss sometimes hates himself like that, then it's OK for me to feel that way, too and b) it is the story of a person who is fighting to get out of their misery. I feel like that's what I'm always doing: fighting to get out of my misery. It's, like, typical white girl stuff. And I'm ready to shake it off.
I was thinking about that when I heard Bruce sing, "You can't start a fire/worryin' about your little world fallin' apart...". That's what needs to happen for me. My little world needs to fall apart. So, I decided that today I'm working on gratitude, first.
Things for which I am grateful right this second:
1) "Dancing in the Dark" by Bruce Springsteen
2) my health
3) my students (even though some of them were a little less than attentive today)
4) my Birdie
5) my amazing friends
6) my family
7) the luxury of being able to figure things out as I go
8) the desire to do better and feel better
Today, I told my Yearbook students that the Senior Superlatives they had voted to use in this year's book seemed not to really represent all the different kinds of students we had at our school. When I read the list out loud, they agreed. When we'd finished discussing and updating the list, I was so proud of them. They replaced superlatives like "Best Hair" with "Most Likely to Make a Difference" and "Most Dramatic" with "Most Creative". So, so much better and more thoughtful and more interesting. They did great work. And I was proud. And I realized that instead of someone having to feel embarrassed about being "Most Dramatic," maybe someone else can feel proud about being "Most Creative" when the year ends. It's such a small thing, but it's pretty powerful for someone who just wants to know their peers think they're creative. I hated high school. I was so unhappy for most of it. If someone could have done something small but kind like that for me, it would have made a difference. Ultimately, it was my students who made the choices, but I was lucky enough to be the adult who guided them in a better direction.
I recently read an article about how to be successful. It was about finding success in your personal life and how that can extend into your professional life. One really excellent piece of advice was to get very clear about your purpose (in life). What are your ultimate goals? I decided that mine are:
Those are the things I believe are most important in life. For me. I wanna be well, generous, competent, strong, and clear-headed. So, everything I do should be in service of one or more of those things. If it isn't...and if it works against any of them, I should think really hard about letting that go. I'm going to work really hard on letting that stuff go.
I forget about all the amazing things I get to see and do. I'm planning for a year-long travel adventure. I get to work with smart, exciting, and kind students. I am free to make my own choices. I have more than I ever could have imagined when I was young. I tend to focus on the things I don't have. I'm starting a fire in that part of my life: burn up all that negative thinking. I'm ready for my little world to fall apart and I guess dancing in the dark is as good a place as any to start. I mean, if it's good enough for The Boss, it's good enough for me.