“Don’t stay too late.” “Don’t go in too early.” “Don’t work weekends.” “Keep your balance.” Yeah. Right. My first year I stayed late, went in early, and worked weekends. I wanted to do a good job and that meant working a lot. I had to redefine balance. I needed a definition that worked for me.
Balance: attending happy hour on Fridays
My first few years of teaching I went to happy hour every Friday. I was filled with more than just greasy food and cheap beer at these soul-saving events; I received validation, laughter, encouragement, and release. Taking some time to decompress with my comrades was essential to my happiness. Friday would end, the kids would be gone, and I would be exhausted. But I never once regretted mustering the energy to go to happy hour. And let’s be real, I was home and in bed by 9 at the latest.