“The Grind” OR A Generic List of Complaints About Life

And, this time, I’m not referring to my preferred mode of dance in high school.


Rather, I’m referring to being in the rut, the suck zone, the I’m-fucking-dead-and-feeling-no-motivation place, the ol’ hit-me-in-the-back-of-the-head-with-a-sledgehammer locality.


I’m not feeling it.

My last Vice Principal always had a way of picking the worst words possible for any given situation, and he’d do it in front of students, too.

At an assembly with a hot dog eating contest: “Look at her suck those dogs back!”

At an assembly with a whipped-cream pie eating contest: “Look at him! He’s got cream all over his mouth! Someone’s going to have to slurp that up!”

And, the worst terminology for the context of high school, he’d always refer to mid-school-year, the slump, the associated stress and fatigue, as “the grind.” At a staff meeting: “Make no mistake, we’re in the grind right now. We’re grindin’ along and the kids are grindin’, too. What do you need to do? Grind on ’em! Every day, grind right with ’em.”

At least we weren’t in the cafeteria chaperoning a dance.

Anyway, I presently find myself grindin’ right along here at the end of our first trimester:

-I’ve been running myself ragged at work, and that’s on top of the physical / emotional / mental toll that being a teacher normally entails under the best of circumstances;

-I’ve been exercising like my life depends on it, and it kind of does (as much as it does for us all), to the point of exhaustion;


-I still have two wild, little children who run us all over the place (yeah, Maddie basically walks now; her favorite past-time is grabbing a finger in each of our hands and taking us on tours of the house while she practices walking; Garrett is still, more or less, constantly in insanity mode);


-I still have similar mental / emotional stress from raising two children, disciplining, feeling like I never get to see my wife, never engage in self-care activities (beyond the exercise), or get much more than an hour’s break from being a parent (last night, Garrett wanted to read “I Love You Forever,” and, for as fucking asinine and childish as that book sounds, it has a parent like me in tears from about page three until the climax, when the tears really start running… it takes a toll!);

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-Aaaaaaaaaaaaand I’m sick. Blech.

Well, that one wasn’t too bad! Tried to keep it quite moderately decent in length, not too excessive.

The point of this wasn’t about the grind itself, although I am knee-deep in it. This post was supposed to be about the coping. It’s different for me now than it’s been in the past.

In the past, I’ve pushed on. Forced myself through some terrifying HIIT routine while sniffling and drooling and spraying snot all over the place. I’ve forced myself to be Captain Amazing Parent and Husband. I’ve forced myself to fulfill all obligations!

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Not so, this time. I’m giving myself a goddamn break. Giving myself a little breathing room and a little sanity.


Instead of cleaning house while the kids slept, Kelly let me take a two and a half hour nap yesterday!

After dropping the kids at daycare, I got back into bed for an hour and showed up to work late!

Instead of pushing myself to work out during my prep, I’m going to relax. Maybe take a nap at my desk. Something like that.


I can’t give up being Captain Amazing Parent and Husband (I’m not dead… yet!), but I am starting to see the light in terms of “self care.”

Is life stressing the shit out of you? Take a goddamn break.

Unless you do that all of the time. In that case: get back to work!

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8 thoughts on ““The Grind” OR A Generic List of Complaints About Life”

  1. Love this, and your attitude. I think everyone is feeling the stress right now for various reasons. Mine is looking for a job. I know kids get antsy in the classroom when the weather changes, and of course during the holidays it is worse. Good luck and hang in there!

    Liked by 2 people

  2. Fucking yes, bro. We’re on the same page here. What doesn’t kill you makes a mess out of you, which is a euphemism for making you look like a dick. We should get a bonus check for every hour we make it through without having to shoot sb.

    I had an off morning today and decided to do some breathing afterwards. That being said, I needed to tell everybody to shut up and let me be.
    Coping sucks. But, you know what? For a brief moment, I felt like I was in control of my life, and it felt fucking amazing.

    P.S. I missed you.

    Liked by 2 people

    1. First of all, thanks for the praise, but… YOU GOT PUBLISHED! Woohoo and good for you! That’s awesome and amazing and other adjectives annointed with As.

      Anyway, yeah, life is a bitch and it’ll beat you up pretty good. Or was that kids? Anyway, staying sane (I didn’t say sober) is a worthy endeavor, especially when you have the little monsters relying on you to be able to do laundry and dishes and take complaints with a smile!


      Liked by 1 person

  3. Justin, great seeing you! You look a mess. 😉

    Take time for you. I’m gonna use that old word that gets overused and everyone knows it and nobody cares about it until they actually implement it in practice and feel like themselves, on top the world, again:


    Take care of yourself as much as you need to. As often as possible. Relax. But not forever. There are folks out there that have figured out that relax is their only happy time (fooled themselves into that, more like) and they get nothing done. Get nowhere. Same thing happens to those of us who, at times in our life, went so full bore we got nothing done for ourselves.

    Choose balance, my friend. Sleep when you need to sleep. Clean when you must. Go 100 miles a minute during times that it is appropriate, I do, then shut the whole world out and down whenever you can. I do.

    You’re a saint and a superman. CAPH, for sure. But you’re also Justin. And Justin needs you, too.

    Liked by 2 people

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