Trying to direct 22 little bodies to the buses for dismissal is like herding cats– a skill I learned to quickly master when becoming a kindergarten teacher. It’s an exhausting job but a rewarding one. As I open the doors and step outside into a beautiful spring day, ensuring each child gets where they are intended to be, I take a deep breath and look at my tired feet.
I’m holding sweaty hands with the two kiddos who typically wander off while chanting rhymes with the sassy girls in the front of the line that always wish to be entertained. I’m a duality of conflicting emotions– joyful but distressed, overwhelmed but hopeful, and more than anything exhausted from a long day but still holding enough energy to enjoy what’s left.
After each child is carefully led to their proper spots I begin walking back towards the school building. As I pass a coworker I nonchalantly say, “Ugh, I wish it was Friday.” It’s only Tuesday and I’m already dreaming of the weekend. Less chaos. Less responsibility. Less work.
She glances up with a delicate smile and says, “Nothing like wishing your life away.” Immediately I’m speechless at her unexpected response. Immediately I’m soaking up her words with the same intensity as I’m soaking up the warm rays of the sun. I can’t reply because her words are so poignant and powerful that I’m speechless. I’m not even sure if she realizes their impact as she holds the door open and we both step inside.
We don’t say a word walking back to our individual classrooms. The halls are silent and empty but inside of my mind there is so much noise and contemplation. I’m still mesmerized by the words that have just left my colleague’s mouth–“Nothing like wishing your life away.”
She’s so right. Her wisdom is spot on. I’ve literally made a statement wishing a couple of days would just evaporate. My words have just requested time to progress to a future date, skipping some of the things to come. And when I said it, I meant it. I wanted the week to hurry to the weekend. But now, after hearing 6 simple words, I’m regretting my desire to speed up time, to erase or move past the events and moments that would happen in those days. The ones I’ve just hinted that we skip. What would those days bring that I’d be missing out on?
I don’t want to wish my life away.
I needed this reminder and I’m appreciative it came from a colleague that I admire and trust. She probably doesn’t even know the impact of her comments. She most likely doesn’t know that I’m still here at work, sitting behind my desk, reflecting on her influence and inspiration. I know when I get up from this chair there will still be endless to-do’s and overwhelming responsibilities, both at work and at home, but I also know that I want them.
I want this life, both the easy and the trying. I want this job, both the rewarding moments and the unsuccessful ones. I want the todays and the tomorrows just as much as I want the weekends and the holidays. I don’t want to wish my life away, not one moment of it. And who knows how long I’ve been wishing just that– for the week to hurry, for the weekend to come, for the month to end and summer to arrive, for the days to hurry to get to the night, for pieces of my life to evaporate into thin air.
“Nothing like wishing your life away”— six words that changed my perspective and also my wishes. Words that changed by asks, my hopes, and also my requests. Words that might not have been meant as advice or guidance but ones that were so powerful they became one of my biggest learning moments.
I no longer wish for days to hurry or to time travel to dates and moments in the future. I no longer wish my life away and my hope for you is that you’ll do the same.
A wife, mother and educator who has Indiana roots and a passionate spirit. Chelsea is a sappy romantic, coffee junkie, book collector, and person who wears her heart on her sleeve. She’s sarcastic, full of jokes, full of tears, and enjoys writing most when life gets messy or complicated. In 2017, Chelsea's mother passed away. Through her grief journey, she decided to take her mother’s advice and share her writing with the world. One day she gained the courage to honor her mother's wishes and write. It turned out to be one of the best decisions she's ever made.