Back in my daycare days, I got paid to stay home.
Sure ... I tended a house full of kids. I fed them, kept them safe, taught them manners and a few life lessons and we build a little home around our ever-changing family. But I also got paid as I puttered away in the house and in the yard; baked and cooked supper (yes! I actually cooked suppers on a regular basis during those years); read; wrote; chatted on the phone; and visited with my mom when her visits overlapped with some of my babysitting hours.
I was tied to the house back in those days. At their longest, my days started at 6:30 a.m. and lasted until 6:00 p.m. Yes, I got paid to stay home. But I was home a lot. There is always a sacrifice.
During that phase of my life, I appreciated each and every time I left the house. I loved being in the company of other adults. I enjoyed my Saturday employment for close to ten years ... because it got me out of the house and I got to talk to other adults.
I also had dancing. Oh ... how my life revolved around my dance lesson during those years. Dancing represented everything fun. Laughter, adults, socializing, music, moving and learning. I loved everything about it. Everything!!
Life has changed.
I now work out of our home. All day. Every day. This changing of the tides began in March, but I had the illusion of feeling that I was somewhat in control of my away-from-home-hours until I started my new job.
I work around people. Lots of people. Over 100 staff members. Over 800 students. Parents, social workers, electricians, neighbors, police ... you name it. They walk through the door and/or phone into our large and busy high school. As the receptionist, I speak to the vast majority of those who walk through the door.
The learning curve has been steep. The past few weeks have been so much better. But there is one day, each week that is (somewhat) a challenge. Yesterday was the day. It wasn't bad. I handled it. But 'it' was the day that didn't end when I walked out the door.
I had a dance lesson last night. I wanted to stay home, climb into my PJ's and curl up on the couch. But it was dance night. I went out.
My private lesson was fun. We laughed in a way we haven't laughed for a while. It was therapeutic. And worth every penny (see Next Time ... I'll Book a Dance Lesson). But I knew my brain capacity had hit overload when I couldn't grasp a section of the routine we were working on. I don't know my part. Plain and simple. And I don't seem to have the ability to retain long streams of information. One small section at a time? I'm okay. Link five or six of those sections together and I'm lost.
Then came the Beginner Group Dance Class. We were basically on our own, learning our half of another routine. I was okay for the first four or five sequences. Then I needed to be attached to a partner to figure out the rest. Thankfully, we had an even number of participants so I did get partnered up with a lead. I knew that I wasn't grasping and retaining what was being taught, but I didn't care. I was doing this for fun. I was paying for the pleasure of being there. So I took what I could from the lesson and just enjoyed it. All the while, my self esteem was heading south. Just a little bit.
Then came the Intermediate Class. One more student joined the class. We now had an odd number of participants, so it would either be a lot of individual learning or I would have to become 'the lead' or it would be one-man-out from time to time. Add the fact that I was already in over my head and I was losing interest. Fast.
I tried. Or did I? My head was saying "I don't know this. I can't learn this. This is too much!" And my feet were believing my head. Once we started working in the corners, talking 'diagonal to wall' and the technical jargon that comes with the theory behind ballroom dancing, the words started swimming in my head.
All of a sudden, I felt like I was at work. I was overwhelmed. I was expected to learn. Or at least try.
It had been a long day. I didn't need or want the pressure. It was a 5 ladies to 2 men ratio. Someone was going to be sitting out. Or else I was going to have to 'take the lead'.
Suddenly the words "I am not getting paid for this ..." entered my mind. The decision was made. I quietly exited the class.
The tides have shifted. I am out of the house far more than I want to be. So if I am going to leave the house and pay for the privilege ... it must be worth it.
I have to think on that one for a little while.
... and she ends the post without a poignant recap and solution ...