There is a list of people I blame.

First, my parents, for being so self-reliant that I learned the unintentional message that to ask for help is weakness.  (For the record, I don’t think they believe that, but they’re not exactly the best at accepting help either.)

Next, my cooperating teacher, who was a workhorse herself.  As a student teacher, I was often at the school until 10 or 11 at night with her, as she turned me into a fledgling newspaper adviser.  I take that same approach to how I teach English.

I could also blame all the stupid boys who decided they didn’t want to marry me for whatever reason, because if I was married, I wouldn’t be in a career this demanding.  I’d be able to fulfill my dream job of being a greeter at Wal-Mart.

(That’s a joke. Dream job = piano studio with 20 kids instead of 9.)


But really, I can only blame myself.  I’m the one who sets high standards for my work.  I’m the one who chooses to grade and give valuable feedback, as opposed to just giving completion grades.  I’m the one who looks at this picture and doesn’t think, “Holy cow, I sure did a lot this weekend.”

No, I look at this picture and think, “Maybe I can get by on five hours sleep tomorrow and stay up until 1 AM to finish even more.”

However, in my quest this year to try and cut myself a break or two, I am going to go to a friend’s house for dinner.  We will probably visit for an hour or so, which means I will lose precious grading time.

But I might laugh a little, which will lower my blood pressure, and I might enjoy a bit of the crisp autumn air as I travel.

And maybe dinner with friends will inspire me to be a bit more merciful to myself.

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