For the most part, this past year has been stressful and tiring. Gideon kicked off his second semester of graduate school in the fall, and heís been working with the teachers at Eureka Springs High School to fulfill a requirement for his masterís program. That means he works his regular full-time job, goes to the school and returns home to complete assignments before the cycle starts all over again.
Meanwhile, Iíve been working at the same pace I always do. Iím as Type A as they come, so Iím not satisfied until Iíve surpassed my own way-too-high expectations. This year, Iíve realized that I have to take on a lighter load every now and then. Iíve been trying to pressure myself less. I donít have to cover every story I come across, I tell myself. I donít have to be everything to everyone all the time. Thatís what Iím trying to do, but it doesnít mean Iím always successful. When I was promoted last year, my boss said he was afraid Iíd burn out. He was right to be concerned. I burn out all the time. Then I beat myself up for not being good enough, re-ignite that fire and try to do better the next time. If that sounds crazy, itís probably because I am a little off my rocker. Arenít we all?
With our schedules being so insane, Gideon and I havenít had much time for each other lately. When Iím working, heís sleeping. When heís working, Iím sleeping. Itís been disheartening, to say the least, and sometimes it can feel so overwhelming I canít breathe. Itís easy for me to curse this situation, to cry and yell when nobodyís around.
But this week is Thanksgiving, and Gideon and I are traveling to Texarkana to see my family. Iíve been living in my head so much itís been hard to see all the good things happening in our lives. There is so much good, though. Weíre luckier than most. I realize that when reflecting on where we are today compared to last year or the year before.
Gideon is on track to get his masterís degree around this time next year, and heís loving all the work heís done at Eureka Springs High School. Interacting with students and other teachers, he said, has shown him that this is the career for him. His eyes light up when he tells me about lessons heís gotten to teach. In those moments, I feel so lucky to have found someone who enjoys helping others so much.
As far as my job goes, Iím pretty lucky too. I recently covered an event hosted by the Single Parent Scholarship Fund of Northwest Arkansas, where a Berryville woman received a scholarship that will help her achieve the dream sheís since she was in her 20s. It felt good to be in a room with people focused on doing good. It felt good to report that to our community.
Thereís so much good in what I do, and I get paid to do it. All the work I put in is worthwhile, because it helps Gideon through school. It helps us buy
Christmas presents for our families. It helps us live comfortably. I know weíre lucky to be able to do that. On the worst day, I try my best to be aware of that.
More than anyone, I know how easy it is to dwell on all the negatives. Iím trying to do that less, especially with the holidays around the corner. This Thursday, Iíll be sitting around my momís dinner table with the two women who raised me, my uncle and the man who loves me through everything. Itís these things that make life good. Itís these things that make me want to see the good, even when I feel like giving up.
I hope all of you get to spend Thanksgiving the same way Ö surrounded by the people you love, fully focused on the good things in your life and thankful for all of it. Thank you for taking the time out of your day to read this column. On the list of things Iím thankful for, you readers are pretty high up there.
Happy Thanksgiving to you and yours. I hope you have a lovely day with your family, this Thursday and every day after that.
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Samantha Jones is associate editor for Carroll County Newspapers. Her email address is Citizen.Editor.Eureka@gmail.com.