I have an ongoing list of things I love and things I don’t like, and one of the things I’ve claimed to have hated since I was very young was being told to calm down. The way I used to justify it was, if I’m on fire or something very big and catastrophic is happening, and I’m flipping out, sure, tell me to calm down. But don’t do it for anything. Just don’t. You don’t need a degree to look five minutes into my life and childhood to see why this kind of expression became a “thing” for me. However, there IS, for those of you who’ve been following me around videotaping my life lately (you know you’re out there), as previously mentioned earlier this week and earlier in the year, a time and a place for most things. Solomon was onto something.
Sometimes my coworkers and I are able to ride on the coattails of a “Special Lunch” being delivered for some meeting for Important Folks, and I was pleased to remember recently one night that I did not have to prepare a lunch for the following day, that one was coming to me– being brought my way without an ounce of effort of a dime paid. But alas, there is a price, albeit small perhaps, for everything: On this recent day I learned and this lunch’s price was that it was not coming until 12:30. Using the fact that I work at a school as an excuse, I tend to eat a late breakfast and an early lunch. Yes, which makes no sense. So I began to worry, as we do, when we have nothing really else to worry about– we find something about which to fret. Man, was I hungry. How was I going to make it until 12:30 when it was only 10:50 when I had this realization?! Furthermore, I had done enough coffee for the (that part of the) day. I needed something. I know–an herbal tea. Stat. Code lavender!
I pawed around my desk, looking for my tea stash. Found it. I chose “Calm” one of the Yogi teas. Then I dropped the thing dry, on the floor. Dammit. Five second rule. I like to think that I sort of become “one” with the places I inhabit. I spend enough time here that I should be able to eat off the floor and be fine, right? Maybe. Not… I did decide though, since I enjoy making fun of things pretty much constantly, or making parodies of situations, that I’d like to name a nice herbal tea “Calm the #$&*%@ Down.”
And…then I do what I often do at work. I worked. I got into my conversations with students. I made notes. I talked. I wrote things down. I made jokes. I encouraged and explained. I recorded my work. Then I looked at my tea: lukewarm and cooling faster than hot chocolate in a dixie cup at a football game. I found myself downing the stuff. Guzzling herbal tea? Like it’s Gatorade after a big game? Could anything be more inappropriate? (Yes! Many things, it turns out!)
Certain things are like this. We have the right idea, or good intentions, but we sort of mess things up. Some herbal teas are good, purposely iced, but lukewarm really doesn’t bring out the best of anything (or in anyone, for that matter).
Here’s what I’m saying: I may have replaced certain things in my life with better things, such as herbal tea and running, but if I’m guzzling the shit out of my herbal tea, I’ve missed the whole point. What to do? Being mindful and purposeful. Setting aside time for certain things, and not letting other tasks invade that space. I’ve gotten better about doing this with sleep and relaxing at night. But I still have that “doing something to please others even when it could harm my plan for the next several hours” thing that lingers. Ugh. Oh wait, it’s because I’m human. I forget sometimes.