Something they keep a surprise from you in teacher training is all the special little days that come during the year that aren’t actually in the classroom. These will become your favorite days. And when they’ve forgotten you and the things they learned (ie in two weeks) these will be the kids’ favorite days, too.

Those days are always any kind of culture or sports event. I love seeing kids thrive outside the classroom and learning something new about them. I enjoy yelling in general, and getting to cheer kids on for something athletic I didn’t know about them makes it even more fun. Our school has a lot of British influence, so we have “houses” of like Harry Potter. I’m on the Turtles, which is pretty on point, considering certain aspects of my speediness. Or lack thereof. I ordered a special shirt and hat from Amazon, and I get to run the sprinting stations at Sports Day, and this year I also led the school prayer, because of my yelling powers.

I love leading the sprints station because I think it’s wild that kids like to run. Maybe at some point in my childhood, I enjoyed running, too. But that ended quickly and I’ve never looked back. This body was built for comfort, not for speed. But I love that kids get so into racing, that they want to go twice. I probably would have asked my mom to write me a note to get out of it, or made a teacher feel sorry for me so I wouldn’t have to do it. But these kids all line up, ready for action, for the sound of my whistle and the red flag coming down, and they give it their all. I love that.

We have stations, and the kids rotate through small versions of high jump, long jump, shotput, discus, javelin, hurdles, and then relays at the end. It reminds me of long Saturdays and Wednesday nights in high school, joining the track team because I saw one hot guy on it (ended up dating him for two years!), then spending most of my time in the bleachers, gossiping and eating Kinders. High school really did have some magic moments.

And our Sports Day did, too. I always get so proud of the kids for encouraging each other, for going all out in every event. And so proud of my friends who organize things like that. It’s a massive job to put on such an event, and pretty thankless. So thanks, Nick and Sanet. You’re worth it all.

March 6 – Day 24 – the sads

I’ve been open on this blog about battling depression off and on over the years. And I think the verb “battle” is so appropriate – it’s something I usually can sense is coming, and I strategize and try different methods to face the enemy. I build up my happiness reserves, hoping that helps. Some days I win, some days I don’t. Sometimes it’s an ambush and I am unprepared.

These last few days have hit me hard, and I know but I don’t know why. I’m worried about not meeting these goals I’ve set for myself and being upset about them. I’ve had a really unsatisfying year professionally. I don’t really feel connected to people. I know my birthday is sneaking up on me, and all my neuroses about getting older are coming with it. I’m scared to turn 35 and still feel like I don’t know what I’m doing, really. Graying hair is a reality. I ice my knees after a hard workout. I’m still single and being a woman, that means my options for being a mom are narrowing down. It’s March and that’s a big month personally with a lot of very painful memories popping up.

For this round, it’s feeling alone, left out, unloved. I go into my room and cry. I retreat. Yesterday at Sports Day, life was amazing until the moment I got home. Then I cried at the gym and I cried walking home and today I cried in the bathroom at work. Sometimes it’s like the feelings I have are so overwhelming, and I don’t know exactly what they are or how to say them, and so I don’t want to talk to the people I know know me best, because then they would ask how I was, and I’m afraid I’d start crying and not be able to stop. And writing this now, I hope by the time I get around to editing and publishing it, I’ll have pushed through these ugly moments. That I will have found the courage to tell someone “hey um I dont feel so great can we talk about it.” But that’s part of the battle, too, is getting over the shame of needing someone else, getting over feeling guilty for having these feelings of disconnect and meaningless, when my life is in fact good and full of people and experiences.

I’m going to go put on some fuzzy socks and a blanket. Maybe some popcorn. I think that might help.

March 7 – Day 25

Could not make myself write anything. Wrote ten Yelp reviews instead. This is part of my 35bythirty-five goals anyway, and still a writing exercise, so I’m going to say it counts!

March 8 – Day 26 – Lent

I do a decent job of making some part of what I do for Lent about God. I’ll give up chocolate, but also take something on, like read the Bible everyday, or follow a church devotional, or whatever. This one’s a bit of a stretch, but hear me out:

For this Lent, I’m giving up online dating.

bye, ho

Trust me, this is a sacrifice. I was on three sites. I’ve been on a few first dates these last two years in Hong Kong. Only one resulted in a mutually desired second date. And that is a terrible return on investment. I spend significant amounts of time composing a profile, and then thumbing through my photos to try to find a selfie that isn’t me in some kind of costume or doing something weird. Then there’s engaging with the male audience on the other end of the mutual swipe.

Then there is wading through all the ridiculous, then the bare minimum chats you sit through until you find someone who has some witty banter, then upgrading it to Whatsapp, and then waiting for him to ask you out. It’s checking your phone throughout the day, agonizing over the two blue checks that indicate he’s read your message, but hasn’t responded. Then there’s upping your workout routine and mentally shifting through your closet to prepare to look your best for the first date.

And then 9 times out of 10, that first date never even happens.

I’ve been dating since I was 15. I’m exhausted. Where is he?!

so quotable.

So this is in effort to claim back that time and that anxiety, ostensibly to focus more on God, to spend more time improving my relationships with myself and my friends and family, and to remind myself that I don’t need to be constantly checking my phone, thinking of clever things to say, or considering lowering my standards to make someone who doesn’t fit into my life’s plan fit.

Even at almost-35, I want and need to still believe that the man I’m supposed to marry is out there and what is meant to be will be in the timing that shall be, and that no amount of striving on my part will make this come about any faster. I want and need to believe that if my heart’s desire is a guy with a beard who loves hiking and sports and has a sense of humor and an unlimited supply of hugs and hand-holding ready for me to tap into, then he will show up in my life, even if I’m not on Tinder/Hinge/CoffeeMeetsBagel/OKCupid/eHarmony/Match/InnerCircle. Yes. Those are all the ones I’ve tried.

must love sports days.

I’m not ready to completely throw in the towel on online dating, and will probably get bored after Lent and reinstate my Tinder profile, if only for the comedic content. But for now, I’ll save the time and the worry I was spending, and just be.