We all know that as we get older we become set in our ways. That’s certainly been true for me, although as I continue to learn about myself, I see that I’ve always been routine oriented. I remember as a child making up a schedule for my summer days: art at 9, snack at 10, TV at 11.
One of the many aspects I’ve loved about going back to teaching these past five years has been the routine: Math at 9, snack at 10, Reading at 11, so when my principal asked me to become Interim Program Administrator for our Primary School (primarily), the change in routine was at the top of my list of concerns.
For five years, I drove to work at the same time and drove home at the same time. Although I had different students, they were the same age and the curriculum was pretty much the same. Although my team members changed some, others stayed the same. I was happy, productive, and relatively successful.
Then came change and Holy Terwillikers has it been stressful! I no longer have a work home as I’m functioning out of two offices and a cloth bag. I’ve lost my tool box and haven’t created a new one. I don’t know how to use the office phones, which doesn’t really matter as I don’t know whom to call for what anyway. in addition, I don’t know how to put out the fires or even where they are or what caused them to begin with.
I have to admit that I took the position mostly for the money, not only for now but because it will add significantly to my retirement. In spite of that, I want to do a good job. I want to be helpful and add to the good of the cause. But other than those two very important reasons, I couldn’t think of any other justification for taking this new job. I'm no longer climbing the ladder to success. The rungs are too old and rusty (or perhaps the problem is that they are too slick and new) and I'm afraid of heights. And so, I wondered if I'd made a big mistake.
But then I remembered synapses. Not long ago I read somewhere (not surprisingly I can’t recall where) that one reason older people lose mental functioning is because they become so set in their ways, so routine oriented, they are no longer making new synapse connections.
This past week, I’ve screwed up and told people wrong and looked stupid and said I don’t know. I’ve gotten lost and said I’m sorry and made mistakes and wondered once again about the Peter Principle, especially apropos to my situation as my very popular predecessor’s name is Pete.
But the good news is that I’m feeling a few synapses begin to wake up from their well-deserved five-year-nap, stretching and scratching their sleepy heads. They’re a little pissy and put out, needing a caffeine boost, but last I heard, they’re in their tiny cerebral Corolla, careening to the firing range, after stopping for a 12 pack of Diet Cokes.
I’ll let you know how they do. That's if I can remember.