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The Next 40 Years…

Dear Teacher,

It has been WAY TOO LONG!  I know.  I know.  I didn’t call.  I didn’t write.  I left you high and dry.  And for that I am truly sorry!

Since I left the traditional classroom and went to work at a science center, life has been a lot more interesting and chaotic (in a good way)…and a lot of my creative juices have been spent at work and with my new hobby (3D printing)…but that is no excuse, and I want to do better.  Better for you!

I have been waiting for something pressing on my heart to share with you to give me a jump-start to get back into the habit of writing.  I finally found something that I can not hold back from writing to you about…and that something is me!

No, no, no…this is not about telling you how great I am or something awesome I have done.  No, really, it is kind of the opposite.  And I want to share this with you because I know it is common among so many of us that spend our lives educating and caring for the next generations.  I think you or someone you know can relate, so I need to talk about it.

I had stop caring for me in my care for others…students, other educators, my family, my friends, and everybody else.  I let myself and my health be something that I did not worry about.  I was a good person…being mindful of me and my body was hard and I was doing good for others, so I would be okay…right?  I just didn’t need to worry about it…right?

At the end of December last year and into this year, I was at my unhealthiest.  I weight more than I have ever weight…exact numbers I can not give you because I stopped getting on the scale because I just could not know…I could not take it…but I am pretty sure I was somewhere between 295 and 305 pounds.  I was ALWAYS tired.  I caught every bug and virus that went through the schools.  And I am pretty sure I was starting to enter a depression cycle.

I was a mess.  I truly was!

A gym opened up just a couple of miles from my house, so I determined myself that I was going to join and that would be my catalyst for change.  And so in April I finally did.

I worked out nearly every day for months.  I lost somewhere in the range of 20-25 pounds.  My body was in a bit better shape, but all of the loss plateaued and I was still in the state of sick to unsick (waiting to get sick again) and still teetering on the edge of depression.

I still loved my job, my family, and my life…but still something was not right.

My mother-in-law started a health program over the summer and had started to talk to me about it.  I was not super interested because in my mind it was another expensive program that would work for a while and then I would get bored or it would not work and I would wind up back in the same boat I had been in just a little more broke than I was before.

No thanks.  I will keep busting my rear end at the gym and do this alone.

That continued to barely move me any further towards feeling better.  I finally decided that I might need to consider the fact that I can not do this on my own.  I needed to feel better.  I needed my blood pressure down (I hate the medicine I take…and the others have worse side-effects).  I needed a change.  Even if no other diet has ever worked for me, it is working for her and long-term…maybe, just maybe it would work for me.

I jumped in…with a bit of financial help from my father-in-law…I could not convince myself that the money was worth getting closer to broke yet.

I am so glad I did…not because I am losing weight (and a lot of it)…no, I am glad because this plan is NOT about losing weight.  This plan is about getting healthy.

I am not writing to you to tell you about the plan I am on…this is not the point…this is NOT an ad.  If you are interested, send me a message here and I will get back to you…but the point of this message is not what I am doing to get healthy…but the fact that, yes, I am finally getting healthy.

I can not believe how good I feel.  More than that, I feel more like my old teacher self that I have in a very, very, VERY long time.  I have more energy to do all of the extra it takes to be a great teacher…the ideas come as easy as they used to…I am excited about the parts of teaching that used to excite me…and I am not dead on my feet at the end of the day and I have more of me left after school to still be me for my family and friends!  It is truly amazing!

And the last few days I have been thinking, how did I let myself get into the state I was in and not think it is important to change that?

It is not that I did not want to change…I just did not know how to change.  I did not get unhealthy over night.  It took years and years to get there.  One unhealthy habit at a time, I slowly spiraled out of control and health spiraled out of my reach.  I did not know how to get back, and every big move I tried (through the gym and diets) started to turn me around, but none of it was capable of getting me all the way back…because one thing will not do it.

I have learned that the way back is through habits and mindsets just like the way to my sickly state was through habits and mindsets.  If I want to get healthy, I can only do it one healthy habit at a time.  Losing weight is just the beginning…it was always my goal before.  Now it is just the “reset” that will allow me to start back down the road of health.  And it has been great!

The left was me in July after working out since April. The right is me after almost four weeks of taking my health seriously.

I share this to encourage you.  If you are in the state I was in, YOU CAN CHANGE IT!  There is no “one way” to change.  You have to find what works for you and think about it as going one step and one habit at a time.  Do you snack too much?  Trade one snack for a healthier one.  Do you not drink enough water?  Set yourself a small goal and keep increasing it.  Do you sit too much?  Pick an activity during the day that you sit during and then start standing instead.  The little things add up and you can most certainly do this!

I accidentally started my health journey the year I turned 40.  I can’t believe how unhealthy I was!  Now that I am slowly getting healthy, I am seriously looking down the road at the next 40 years and seeing how different they can and will be.  I can still be around for my family and friends down the road…I can teach as long as the teaching world lets me (and I still want to)…I can enjoy life and not always wonder if I am going to be sick tomorrow (outside of something that can come without health being an issue)…I can be me and maybe even make plans for the next 40 after this 40 is over!  Okay, that is a bit of hyperbole…I don’t think I will live to be 120…but you know what I mean!

Teacher, you’ve got this, and you can change!  As always, I completely believe in you!  You are awesome!  Keep on teaching, Teacher!

Love,  Teacher

PS…Send me a message here if you are interested in what I am doing.



I am a middle school teacher who lives in the upstate of South Carolina.

5 thoughts on “The Next 40 Years…

  1. It is great to see you again! I have been down this same road! I am just beginning to remember I am important too!!! Thanks for the encouragement! I missed seeing your posts! Good luck as you continue!

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