Just Plain Tired · 22 June 2019

As much as I love my job, the end of the school year makes me just plain tired.

Lately, when people ask me the question, “How are you?” I have been answering, “Tired.” I know. The correct answer is supposed to be, “Fine.” And for the most part, I am fine. As in “Doing well enough that I can say fine, but not well enough to say great. Which is not to say poorly, but definitely not amazing. But somewhere between great and not so great. In other words, just fine.”

Actually, I usually reply, “Well.” Not as a commentary on people’s grammar or anything like that. (I know that there is no one good. Not one.) I am usually well. Well in body. Well in spirit. Well altogether. So it is my usual reply. But at the end of the school year, I am tired. So that has been my reply lately.

It is funny. I usually do not realize why I am tired. So when people ask me how I am doing at the end of the school year, I sometimes reply, “Tired. But I don’t know why.” And I really do not know. Until I think about it. It is June. I am tired. Oh yes. It is the end of the school year, and I am always tired at the end of the school year.

And so are the students.

I understand why the students are tired. There are tests to take and projects to finish.

Which is also why the teachers are tired. There are tests to grade and projects to score. There are also hands to hold as the students wind their way to the finish line. There are cheers to cheer as they work to accomplish greatness or even mediocrity. “You can do it!” “Way to go!” All of which takes energy. But I never realize it until I think about it. I am tired, but I do not really know why. Until I think about it. It is June. I am tired. Oh yes. It is the end of the school year, and I am always tired at the end of the school year. But I never realize it until I think about it. I am just plain tired.

(By the way, if you thought you already read the last part of the previous paragraph, you did. I am not sure if I was trying to be funny or if I am just too tired and wrote the same thing again. Or if I was trying to be clever. Ah well. I do know that I did it on purpose.)

The school year is like a marathon. Pacing and effort are important. The more you can pace yourself and give a constant effort all year long, the better you can finish the race, rather the school year. But just like a marathon (as if I would know since I have not run one), there can be a great push at the finish. Whether you are pushing to be first or just pushing to finish. And that is why I am tired at the end of the school year. I am pushing and pulling and poking and prodding students to help them finish. And that takes energy. Beyond the normal energy just to get to the end in the first place.

There is one more energy drain at the end of the school year. It is saying, “Goodbye” to former students. The seniors are gone and they leave a little empty spot in my heart when they go. I know I will see some of them again, but most go on their merry way and I am left to wonder what great things they have done. It is emotional to say goodbye to anybody, but not knowing when or if you will see somebody again is draining.

Well, that was a long bit of prose to say something pretty simple. I guess all I really needed to say was: It is the end of another school year. And like the ones before, I am just plain tired.

I need a nap.

© 2019 Michael T. Miyoshi

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From Avocation to Vocation · 15 June 2019

Most of us have hobbies. We dabble in this or that. Art, music, poetry, writing. Some of us even hope to someday that those avocations turn into vocations. But it does not really matter in the end. We do our hobbies, because we love them. Whether or not we ever get paid.

I remember when I first started thinking I would like to write a bestseller. I was young and naïve. And undisciplined. I would just write when I thought about it. Or as I put it: when I was inspired. That worked out for poetry. Or so it seemed. I could write a poem when I was inspired. Or when there was some occasion to do so. Just like I could write a short piece of prose for the same reasons. Inspiration and occasion were great for my writing.

Or so it seemed.

As I look back, I find that I was not really that interested in being a writer when I was just writing when inspiration struck or when the occasion called for it. I was not really using a precious gift I had been given by my Creator. And my actions showed that I did not really want to write that bestseller.

The more I think about it, the more I realize that dreams are wonderful, but they must have discipline and work to make them come true. We can wish upon a star, but unless we decide that we will work in a disciplined way to make that dream come true, our wishes fall on deaf ears. And those ears are really our own. After all, neither stars nor genies in bottles make our wishes come true.

Speaking of a genie in a bottle. It is interesting that the original genie granting wishes actually took stuff from other people to make the dreams come true. Which in a way is what happens in real life too. You cannot get something for nothing. At the very least, you need to give up time to make your dreams come true. If you really want to be a writer, you need to work at being a writer. Every day.

I love those T-shirts with sayings on them that talk about working.

Every doggone day.
The competition does not take a day off.

Sayings like those are supposed to inspire athletes to do their best every day. Hard work in the gym pays off on the gridiron or the court or the field or the track. You may or may not win championships with those attitudes, but you will place yourself in the best position to do so. Which is what hard work is all about. Putting yourself in position to be the best.

Even at the keyboard. Even if I am just trying to get up to mediocre.

I may never change my hobby, into a career. But I will still work at it every doggone day. Well, at least six days a week. Sure. I will still be struck by inspiration on occasion or write something for a special occasion, but those lightning strikes will be the exceptions rather than the rule. And regardless of whether I ever get paid a cent to write, I will keep doing it because I love it. After all, writing is more than a hobby to me. It is like food for my soul. Which is why I will keep writing even if my avocation never becomes my vocation.

© 2019 Michael T. Miyoshi

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Congratulations Thing 3 and 2019 Graduates · 8 June 2019

It is graduation time again. I cannot help but be a proud parent. Congratulations Thing 3!

It is funny. I have written many times about how I hate the end of the school year. How I do not like saying goodbye. Ever. This year though. I am excited. Not to say goodbye, but excited that our youngest son is getting ready to set off on a new adventure. He is leaving the nest, and going off to college in the fall.

My kids do not really like me posting much about them, but I cannot help but be a proud parent this graduation season. After all, my youngest, Thing 3, is graduating from high school. He is done with 13 years of school. Fourteen, if you count pre-school. Yes, it is just the beginning. But it is an important milestone. A milestone that all three of our children have passed. (Pun intended.)

I am proud of my three sons. Thing 1, Thing 2, and Thing 3 are amazing young men. They are handsome and intelligent and amazing. (I might have already said the last one, but they are pretty amazing.) Yes, I am biased. But to tell you the truth, I would be proud of them even if they were not so handsome. Or so intelligent. Or so amazing. I would be proud of them just because they are who they are. They are my sons, and I am well pleased with them.

Despite my excitement this graduation season, I still have mixed emotions about graduation. I am sad that I must say goodbye to my students. And I am sad to see my own graduate leave the nest (even though it will not be for a while). But I am excited for them all. They are on to bigger and better things. And I am hopeful that the things I said and the things I did had at least a little positive impact on them. Yes, I have mixed emotions about graduation, but the positive ones far outweigh any negative or melancholy ones. Saying congratulations is much better than saying goodbye.

The thing about sending your own kids off to school as opposed to sending off other people’s kids is that you get to see your own kids again. Goodbye is not so final. Oh sure, my students come back to visit me. Some are even friends with me on Facebook or follow me on other social media. But that is not quite the same as seeing your own kids even after they are grown up. It is one thing to see other kids pass certain milestones. It is quite another to watch your own kids do so.

My youngest kid is graduating! I am excited. I am proud. I am anxiously watching as he moves into the next phase of his life. Not quite independent, but getting there. And even if you took away all his accomplishments and accolades, I would still be proud of him. After all he is my son.

It is graduation time again. Congratulations to all the graduating seniors out there. But congratulations especially to my youngest son. Yes, I am proud of all my sons, but this year, I am especially proud of you. Congratulations!

© 2019 Michael T. Miyoshi

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