The nice young lady at Dunkin Donuts gave me the Senior Discount today. And, I’m being honest when I tell you that my first reaction was not sadness or anger at being mistaken for someone eligible for AARP benefits, or even surprise. The first thing I felt was guilt. I’m not supposed to get the senior discount. I’m supposed to pay full price. Will this young person get in trouble for giving a senior discount without checking first? If I take it won’t I be cheating the company, and ultimately the workers?
After grabbing the pastry (that I ordered for my daughter, in case you’re reading the earlier post on how I want to build strength and health) she half winked and said she knew I didn’t get the senior discount, but she gave it to me. Phew, guilt trip over. She hadn’t made a mistake that was going to get her in trouble, she made a choice of her own free will.
I know what you’re thinking (because I thought it too). Another employee probably said something to her, or she noticed me smiling at the note on the cash register, and she didn’t want me to feel bad. I don’t feel bad. I don’t color the white and grey out of my hair, I have lots of wrinkles around my eyes from smiling, and I was wearing one of those Monday morning teacher blouses that gives a comfortable professionalism to my outfit. Young people don’t know how to judge age for anyone more than 5 years older than themselves. My students guess my age at anywhere between 25 and 60 and to them, that’s all the same – old. I’m 47. Some days I feel 27, some days 67, most days I don’t feel an age at all. But I digress.
When I got into my car and felt my whole body begin to give in to exhaustion, I started to wonder if I looked older this afternoon than usual, prompting the 5% savings. I got to work early this morning to prepare a few things but spent all my time trying to get the technology I needed for my first group to work. I finally got it to work, only to have it crap out on my again once the students where there, forcing me to rework my entire lesson plan on the spot. Then I had to give a standardized test to my 4th graders, on the computers (which did work, for the most part.) And then I supervised a pair of student teachers while they taught their first science lesson to elementary students. And throughout the day I comforted Lila who’s stomach hurt, I tried to help Junior find his calm and be able to stay in one place long enough to get some work done, I got help for Michael who was too upset to talk to me and too out of control to stay in class, I cleaned stray books and paper from the floor so the mouse that I’ve been seeing lately wouldn’t nibble holes in them, I searched everywhere for the master of the Math test I need to copy, I read through my notes to make sure I was ready for an Education Justice meeting tomorrow, I made a list of al the things I need to get done that I didn’t get done today, and I texted back and forth with my teenager who did not get the trip to Germany that she interviewed for over the weekend.
I was exhausted and I must have looked it.
Some days, it feels like I run all day and get nothing accomplished. Today was one of those days. But, once home I helped my daughters get ready to go to band practice and cooked a small dinner for my husband who had to run right out to a meeting, and I hopped on the treadmill for 20 minutes, and threw in some laundry, and got the dishwasher started. I was still running, but I decided to notice my accomplishments.
The on the fly lesson went well and gave the kids a foundation of knowledge I wanted them to have today. I gave the student teachers some helpful feedback. Lila felt better after some kind attention. Junior found his calm for most of the day. Michael returned to class ready to learn. There was no new evidence of visits by the mouse. My daughter knows she has much to be proud of to even have earned eligibility for that German trip. My husband was able to eat and rest before driving off. And I exercised.
I probably still look old. But I feel great.