August is one of those months that has always been insanely busy for me. It’s the beginning of Semester 2, there’s usually a scramble to find my mother a birthday present, I have to actually start caring about getting my tax done, and it’s the second half of the year meaning it’s the time to re-evaluate my goals and how much (or how little) progress I’ve made on them. This year, August has been much for calm and settled than usual despite a big change that I recently made in my life.
The first half of this year was very turbulent for me. I was under a colossal amount of stress and experiencing burnout in a career that I actually really loved. It was in late June that I made the decision to resign my permanent, fulltime position as a classroom teacher and take some time off. I spent a large chunk of July unemployed and finally commenced employment at a new school in very late July, early August. Rather than being a ‘normal’ classroom teacher, I only teach one class three times a week and the rest of the time I act as internal relief throughout the whole school. Oh, and I only work 4 days per week. This is the first time since I was in university that I have been employed part-time and I honesty, I’m really loving it. It has given me the headspace to actually engage in some real self-love and self-care, not that fake, “oh I give myself a facial for 20 minutes once a week and spend my weekends being a couch potato” self-care BS. It means that I’ve managed to wrangle my weekends back which is a tricky thing to do as a fulltime teacher.
My extra time has given me a chance to reflect on myself and the things I want to achieve. I’ve resisted putting anything particularly personal on this blog for a long time, thinking I needed to keep it completely focused on checking off and recounting items on my bucket list. I want to change this slightly. While I still want to write about my big bucket list items, I also want to start tracking some of my smaller goals and experiences through a monthly round up. I want to do this for a couple of reasons:
So without further ado, let’s commence with the first monthly round up of Chasing Emma.
The start of August saw me start a new job at a new school. I’ve only been there for around 6 weeks but I honestly feel so good about it which is both a great feeling and slightly ironic. As I explained above, by the end of June I was experiencing extreme teacher burn out and was genuinely considering leaving the profession which was quite a painful thought seeing as deep down I really enjoy teaching. Working as a relief teacher has allowed me to keep a foot in the world of teaching while also giving me the space to heal and recover. It’s also a little ironic because for as long as I can remember I have always been the person who needs to know what is happening tomorrow yesterday. I like to be fully prepared for whatever is coming my way. In my new position I don’t know what classes I will be taking until I actually arrive at work around 8 am that day. This lack of knowledge of what to expect in the future is a new experience and rather than freaking me out, feel pretty good. I have no control over who will and won’t be away from work on any given day and I just have to deal with it. I’ve learnt that there is no point in getting worked up about it.
Along with starting a new job, I also continued making progress on completing one of my major bucket list goals which is to complete all 12 sections of the Larapinta Trail. Over the Picnic Day long weekend I hiked Section 8 which is from Serpentine Gorge to Serpentine Chalet Dam with two of my friends. This hike is 13km and is quite challenging as it begins with a steep incline up to the ridge walk and continues with multiple declines and inclines. It is also a relatively exposed section of the trail thanks to the 2019 January bushfires which swept along the West MacDonnell Ranges. As we have yet to see any real rain in the area the local flora has yet to have a chance to recover.
While I enjoyed the hike I once again started developing blisters on my heels thanks to my boots and with 6kms to go I used some of my friend’s sport tape to protect my feet. This turned out not to be a great idea as I then spent the next three weeks dealing with severe contact eczema thanks to an allergic reaction to the tape which was NOT FUN.
I also celebrated a significant birthday for my mum which once again saw me rushing around trying to find a gift. I swear I am going to get on top of this next year!
A few years ago my dad was asked to create a seat for the Counts Point Lookout located along this section of the Larapinta Trail. Getting to see my dad’s work while on the trail made this a particularly special hike for me.
“Don’t believe your worries. Stress is an ignorant state. It believes everything is an emergency.” – Natalie Goldberg
I came across this quote in some random book about anxiety I flipped through while browsing Kmart one day. I didn’t buy the book, but I certainly took this quote with me. It’s been good to remind myself that whatever I am anxious over isn’t a big deal, contextualise it and just do it.
To help me stay on track with my fitness goals I downloaded Grow which is a habit tracker app. You set your goal (for example, ‘Eat 1 piece of fruit a day’) designate it to certain days of the week and set reminders. At the designated time the app will ask you if you have been completed the action or not. Every time you successfully complete the action your little tree will grow. The graphics are beautiful and watching a digital tree grow is quite rewarding, especially when you consider it is the only ‘tree’ I’ve every been able to keep alive.
Chris Carter released a new novel this month which reminded me that I actually hadn’t read the last book he released. A quick trip to Kmart has seen me reacquaint myself with his novels which is honestly the best.
In September I want to see myself create and stick to a fitness plan. I want to be exercising 3 times a week and eating out less. I would also like to try and get one more hike in on the Larapinta trail before Spring really kicks in and it get’s too hot. I might aim for Mt Sonder (Section 12) because if I camp out there the night before, I can do the sunrise hike and hopefully beat the heat.
If you have made it this far, thank you for reading.