As an English and creative writing teacher, one of my biggest pet peeves is when the children write in the margins. It drives me absolutely bonkers. I mean, the margins are CLEARLY visible with a contrasting colored line running vertically down the paper. There's a left hand margin AND a slightly less visible (but no less important) right hand margin. Why, oh, why do the children insist on ignoring those clearly defined boundaries?

Those reddish-pink lines exist to ensure that what's important is noticed. Those margins are meant to provide a break from the long line of details that fill the space on the page. Without those glorious margins, there's no stopping the clamor of the urgent.

And such is life.

Except the boundaries have to be created by us. We are the authors of our own margins. If we don't intentionally draw our own reddish lines, everything will begin to crowd together and invade our sacred blank spaces of time. Our souls need that clean, free space. We need to protect those margins. We need to leave some room for beautiful nothingness. Or perhaps some hearts and doodles.

The Run: my Happy Place
I've not been doing a good job of this again, lately. My work days, while lighter in teaching responsibilities are heavier in meetings and in all things unexpected-- parent phone calls, emails, conversations with students and staff. Then I head out to the weight room to coach with my husband-- the highlight of my day. Three days a week I'm now doing no less than 4 miles and up to as many as 9 miles in the morning. Saturday is a short easy run. Sunday is a long run (this weekend's will be another 20 miler). But I'm also trying to maintain my strength work with 4 days of lifting. And my hamstrings are demanding that I devote several 15 minute sessions of stretching.

It's no wonder I'm tired. But I'm at the peak of my marathon training plan. So I persist.

And I'm working on obeying the margins. I'm proud to say that since school began, I've taken every Thursday as a rest day. A real rest day. Last weekend my son and I took time to watch 2 movies-- something I haven't done in ages. And I'm saying "NO" more, even if it is to myself ("No, I don't really need to make a trip to Target right now").

So, how are you doing with margins? Do you remember to leave some empty space?


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