By Tera Carter
April 22, 2020
Nothing has been more clear to me lately than the importance of keeping my sanity. I have survived 18 years teaching middle school with only a couple visible grey hairs. My entire life has revolved around school calendars, bell schedules, planning, decision making, and thinking ahead. This routine has been my way of life since Kindergarten, through all life stages, and all major events.
Then there was quarantine.
Quarantine has put me on a ride that I have not been on before. I consider myself very fortunate to have a safe place to live, a paying job and a loving family. I do not take these essentials for granted, but they have not protected me from the emotional ups and downs.
Accepting the lack of answers, control, routine has been a battle for someone like me. I am forced to change, reflect, adapt in all aspects of what I thought was normal. Then again, what is normal?
The fight inside has been in my shield of keeping that cool. Trying to keep that cool when your foreign exchange student does not want to practice social distancing, when her flights get canceled, when you have to see her heart broken. Trying to keep that cool when your family members work the front lines and have known exposure to COVID-19. Trying to keep that cool when you have 240 students that you can only hope are well, fed, and safe. Trying to keep that cool balancing work while teaching your own children, hoping you provide nothing but the best for both. Trying to keep cool when my dad has brain surgery and no one can go see him and it is not safe to be of support in person. Trying to keep that cool when I have two hormonal daughters that will fight over a piece of lint. Trying to keep that cool. Trying to keep that cool is not normal.
So the ride called quarantine is not over for any of us.
What this ride is showing me is the beauty of the unknown and the importance of enjoying the ride.
This is how to keep my sanity.
Quarantine has forced me to acknowledge it is okay to have unknowns, more spontaneity and more pause.
I thought I was good at these things, but clearly I had some work to do. The way I keep my sanity now looks different today than it did 5 weeks ago; and to be honest, I expect it might change again!
I can only hope what I have learned in this short period of time will help me be a better parent, wife, teacher and friend.
Be well and enjoy the ride.