Starting Small

For today’s blog post, I want to tell a number of small, seemingly disjointed stories. But I promise they all connect, and I want to make my point at the end.

I started looking up things for my future classroom on Pinterest. All I searched was “first year teacher middle school”. I found a few things that I thought would be helpful. All of a sudden, as Pinterest keeps adapting and showing things I like, then I pin them, and the algorithm keeps updating, my main Pinterest account is beginning to get overloaded with teaching stuff. (I apologize to my Pinterest followers on my regular account). I have three Pinterest accounts, but this main one is being overrun by teaching stuff. It’s a little overwhelming, disjointing, and confusing.

I’m trying to get back in shape and in the gym. I hope to be in the gym six days a week. I want to live a healthier lifestyle. I’m trying to maintain my water intake at 64 ounces per day. I know my body will change as I continue to do this, and I’ not looking for drastic change right now. I’m also looking to continue to do better.

Pretty much since puberty, I have struggled somewhat with acne. It’s never been terribly bad, but it’s enough that it bothers me. My skin isn’t perfect, but it is looking better. Acne is less of a problem for me now, with one or two major pimples popping up at a time.

When I clean my room, the first thing I do is pick up my clothes off my floor. I’ll do everything else (putting my shoes and other stuff away). Then I turn back to my clothes. I separate them by what they are and put away one section at a time.

I decorated my graduation cap over the weekend. It turned out really cool, and I’m very pleased (it’s on my Facebook and Instagram if you haven’t seen it). Although it got done in a few hours, it wasn’t necessarily a quick process. I had to measure the dimensions of the surface of the mortarboard. Then I had to cut the paper to the dimensions I wanted. I taped the paper down so I could cut a hole for the middle. I then glued it down. Then came the stickers. I won’t even go into all of the details for that. But if you know how much of a perfectionist I can be, then you won’t be surprised to know that pencil, ruler, glue, and a cut out of four letters were involved to make sure it looked good.

Last one: With all of these Black Lives Matter protests, we are starting to experience some changes. It may be in the form of curfews, voting people in or out of offices, defunding, officers being charged, and other things. The world is changing because of these protests. There is a lot of questioning and confusion going on. But there is also hope, love, empathy, and voices. I don’t pretend that everything is perfect, but I hope you are looking for a better world that will come out of this and working to make the changes you want to see.

Now that I’ve told all these baby stories, here’s the point. Very rarely does change come about in a big way. I’m not going to become an experienced teacher after teaching one lesson or finding things on Pinterest. I’m not going to have a six pack after one day in the gym. My skin doesn’t clear up overnight. My room isn’t automatically clean when I pick up my clothes. My graduation cap didn’t come together with one quick thought and piece. Racism isn’t going to go away because of one protest.

But that doesn’t mean you stop working at it!!! Change isn’t easy, and it’s usually done in small steps, but it is so worth it. I’ve had this blog for over three years, and I am not the same person I was when I sat down in my dorm bathroom to write the first post (my roommate was sleeping at the time). But looking back over that time, I can’t pinpoint a single time where I was like “Yes. This right here is where I changed.” Change is usually gradual. But the gradual change is what makes it achievable.

Social media likes to remind me of what I have done. This past week I was getting constant memories of the cruise we went on last summer. The best thing I can compare this post to is climbing a waterfall (read about it here, and yes, I am using it as a measuring stick again). I remember when we first got there, and I was just in shock of how we were going to climb the giant waterfall. But if we focused on the next level and just took it one at a time, it was a lot more manageable. When we turned back about the halfway point, I was surprised to see that we were more than halfway up.

That’s what change is like. You need to focus on one step or level at a time. If you focus on the whole mountain, you’ll often get overwhelmed and give up. Believe me. I’ve done it a lot. But if you stick with it, change will come. It doesn’t matter how fast you go. Life isn’t a race. The only person you need to compete with is yourself. But keep going. Keep working. Keep seeking to make change. And watch and be amazed at what actually happens. Take the steps as slow as you need, but continue to change and make progress.

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