Survival Mode

It’s that place somewhere between major meltdown and mental breakdown.

I’m there.

I’m halfway between, “I want to cry,” and still on the verge of laughing those hysterical tears that make people uncomfortable because they know you’re not really laughing.

I’m somewhere between the third glass of wine and the fifth cup of coffee where time is irrelevant, to-do lists are fictional, and sleep is a suggestion.

My brain has so much going on that I can’t turn it off. I’m tossing and turning at night, grinding my teeth in my fitful sleep, and running on pure latte.

I KNOW it’s not healthy or smart, but because I’m in survival mode, it’s what I do. I do it because it gets me through.

I do it because I have no other choice right now. I either enter “survival mode,” or I crawl under a rock until July.

Don’t get me wrong. I don’t support the notion of “I’ll be happy when…” or “I’ll be satisfied when…”. But there are times when survival mode requires an end date.

I currently have several “end dates.”

May 20th. The last day of teaching. For the year? For a while? Forever?

I’m not sure right now.

Either way, it’s a feeling of happy, sad, and bittersweet, but relief. No more five a.m. alarm clocks or lesson plans or papers to grade or report cards to write or parent emails about missing assignments and tattling and who made a “loser” sign at who.

No more projects to supervise, classrooms to make magical, or essays to critique. No more parenting 30 kids. I’ll stick to parenting my own three.

June 15th. Both houses should be closed on. A final chapter and a new beginning all at once. Stressful? Yes. Satisfying? For sure. Terrifying? Absolutely.

June 18th. Our tiny dancer’s final performance with her dance studio (a.k.a. her second home). Give me all the tissues and let me cry all the tears. It will be fun and hard and painful and yet therapeutic to watch her do what she loves with the people she loves on our final night in Arizona.

June 19th. Our departure. We will be exhausted from “dance recital hangover” and sleeping on air mattresses in a shell of a house, but we will drink all the coffee and load up to leave. We will leave our home, our friends, and our life as we knew it, but we will drive toward new adventures and fresh starts and a chance to grow.

Maybe survival mode is just a path to lead us to growth. Maybe we have to utilize survival mode so that our souls are ready for the unknown and the new miraculum that approaches us.

Maybe we need that raw, real, torn apart heart to appreciate and be open to what is coming. Maybe it’s already miraculum…in disguise.

Maybe the fact that I haven’t used eyeshadow or my flat iron in over a month just saves me the energy that I would have wasted in survival mode. Maybe the pizza I just ordered for dinner will save me some nerve damaging teeth grinding tonight as I fall into a blissful wine and carb loaded slumber.

And maybe, just maybe, I’ll dream a sweet dream of a class of angels that make my Friday a walk in the park.

But even if I don’t, I know that survival mode will be there to keep me afloat. For now.

Be grateful (for pizza delivery), water your own grass,

…and drink (ALL) the coffee.

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