This guest post was written by the lovely and talented Kelly Pozzoli, SuperCamp lead facilitator and first grade teacher.
Remember that time you woke up late and it threw off the rest of the day? Or the day you failed a really important test, or your best friend moved away, or you realized that the bank really wasn’t kidding about the lack of funds in your account? To put it plainly, those kinds of days are horrible. Trust me, that failed math test or the moment my one true love decided otherwise are anything but smiley faces in the memory book of my life. But those days happen. We all get angry, frustrated, fed up, sad, hurt, or confused about our lives. We do. It’s natural. But most of us don’t live in a perpetual state of confusion or anger. We seek out people or activities that shake us back into a balanced place and leave us feeling calm and level headed. Someone once explained it to me as “filling my buckets”. Yes buckets, plural (we are, after all, multifaceted beings).
Today is a perfect example of my buckets being a little low. Work was anything but pleasurable. I teach first grade, and as you can imagine, managing a room of 33 six year olds can do quite the number on my patience and sense of wellbeing. Ultimately, I love my job, but not today. Today, one kid threw up, another wet her pants, two boys were wrestling and one got a bloody lip, the art teacher was late so my planning period was short, I had two parent meetings, and my assistant was out sick. When that last bell rang, I all but left a cloud of dust as I sprinted from the school. However, I refuse to wallow in that yucky place of self-doubt, frustration, and anger. I have a tried and true plan of action to scale that wall back into my happy place. It’s simple. I must refill my buckets. I must pursue fulfillment at all times. I’ve found it’s important that I pay attention to what my gut is telling me I need in any given situation and then go out and get it.
By the way, my gut tells me I need all kinds of things. So for the sake of the incredible shrinking attention span, I’ll mention my top three bucket fillers, and leave you to it.
Sometimes what I need to bring me out of my funk are the people in my life that build me up and help me be the best version of myself. These are the people I seek out when I need a shoulder, an ear, or a smile, or when I need to be around someone who just gets it without me having to explain. For me, it’s my best friends. They’re my smile makers, my heart warmers, my judge-free zone, the ones that fill my buckets. Somehow, after a venting sesh with my number one fans, I miraculously feel better. Sometimes just being around them lifts my mood. They help restore my faith in humanity and keep me grounded. They give it to me as it is, not as I want it to be.
Other times, the thing that brings me back to a balanced state is physical activity. I’ve recently started training for a series of races. Paired with a decent playlist, a 3 or 4 mile run outside can wipe out any stress I may be feeling. There’s a slew of research statistics about the hormones that are produced in our brains when we exercise (if you’re interested, Google “hormones and exercise”). What I know is that after a workout, I feel better, and that’s enough statistical evidence for me.
The last bucket filler can be summed up in two words: Me Time. Whatever me time looks like for you… get it. Pull out that journal. Park yourself on the couch armed with a giant bowl of popcorn and the last 7 episodes of Glee on your DVR. Sing loudly in the car. Chatroulette. Whatever. But find the time to do your thing. I love and need my friends and family. But everyday I take time for myself, away from all the drama and the noise, to take care of me.
Living a full and happy life is not about having a checklist full of accomplishments or meeting famous people or getting good grades or making a lot of money. Sure, those things are wonderful experiences, make for good stories, and may add to the richness of my life, but they’re not the end all be all to a balanced happy life. Not to me anyway. Happiness comes from living with my buckets full or from actively seeking to fill them.