Today, I was chatting with a librarian friend and lamenting how difficult it has been for me to focus on reading in the past week (we were chatting over Instagram from the comfort of our own homes, as we stay home in an attempt to flatten the curve). In response, she sent this: “Here’s the thing: You have to let it go. No ones’s brain is functioning optimally right now. We are stressed. We are anxious. We are out of our routines. Please don’t put added pressure on yourself to ‘be productive’ if all you have the capacity for some days is to sit and pet Brian.” (Brian, for the record, is my orange tabby cat.)
I know that she’s right. At least, the logical part of my brain does. But there seems to be a part of my brain that’s overpowering the logical part: the teacher part.
My teacher brain has been wired a very specific way: IT IS YOUR JOB TO FIX IT. If things are stressful and unpredictable, work HARDER. Show up earlier and stay longer. Plan more effectively. Pivot from minute to minute. Do whatever it takes. If there’s fear, tackle it head on. If there’s distance, reach as far as it takes to bridge it. No one else will fix it. It’s my responsibility.
I’m having a really hard time turning off that part of my brain. I feel the compulsive need to ramp up, not slow down. There’s still a part of my brain that’s convinced that if I read enough, plan enough, color-code and email enough, I can fix it. Whatever “it” is.
I wonder how long it will take for that part of my brain to be re-written? And I also wonder if overwriting that instinct a good thing, or a bad thing?