Let’s face it, work is a kill-joy. Even if you love your job, or find meaning in it, it’s just so daily. I switched careers and became a teacher a couple of years ago, and even though I find my work fulfilling, I’d much prefer to win the lottery and not have to work at all. Who wouldn’t, right? Work is necessary for most of us, though; especially if you have kids who you’re helping with college expenses, or parent’s that you’re helping care for.
One of the ways I’ve found to motivate myself and survive the workday, is something many of you do: I place pictures of my family on my desk. The pictures help to remind me why I’m working – to pay for their educations, and to save for my retirement so they don’t have to support me. At my previous job, I even posted a notecard with an arrow pointing to the pictures, “This is why I’m here.”
However, we want to do more than survive the workday. We want to enjoy our day and come home energized to celebrate our personal time. For myself, I’ve found that it’s necessary to apply an adventure-mindset to my work, so that I don’t come home completely drained. I admit that sometimes that’s hard. Frequently during the school year, the only mind break I get during the day is doing the NYTimes Crossword puzzle at lunch. I try to make an adventure of it by challenging myself to improve my time; i.e. can I do a Monday puzzle in less than 12 minutes, etc. Sometimes I listen to podcasts during my planning period, to let my brain have a little adventure by learning something new – my favorites are RadioLab and This American Life. Experiment – you’ll find something that works for you to make your day more enjoyable.
This week I took several Professional Development classes offered by my district. The classes were well-done and I learned many things to apply to my classroom teaching, but I also got to combine work and adventure by exploring a museum I tend to forget about: The Tulsa Historical Society and Museum. I spent most of my day at the historical society in a class, but I used my breaks and lunchtime to explore the museum and the surrounding area. See? Combining work and adventure.
The Tulsa Historical Society and Museum is located in the Travis Mansion, which was constructed in 1919, during the golden age of Oklahoma’s status as Oil Capital of the World. It’s a beautiful building, and I love the long lawn that sweeps down to Peoria, with the circle of statues representing Oklahoma’s famous Indian ballerinas (The Five Moons).
The exhibits in the large gallery on the first floor change regularly. When I was here a year ago, the exhibit was a retrospective of
Tulsa in the 1950’s. This time the exhibit is entitled: On the Move: A History of Transportation in Tulsa. It may sound a bit dry, but it’s a fascinating and well-done exhibit. There are a large variety of artifacts, and there are also photos. I love photographs, so I was quite interested in the large number that are well-displayed and captioned throughout the space. The very old photographs of the ferries that navigated the Arkansas River, accompanied by a brief, well-written history, caught my interest. I’ve lived in Tulsa all my life and I don’t often stop to think about what it was like before bridges and roads were built. There are additional exhibits on the second floor, including one with some art deco artifacts that I wouldn’t mind having copies of in my home – it’s beautiful stuff.
The Woodward Park Arboretum is immediately behind the historical society. I strolled on the paved path through the large collection of native Oklahoman trees and shrubs during my lunch hour. It’s a lovely spot. The Tulsa Garden Center and Rose Garden are next door. I didn’t have time to visit them on this day, but I have beautiful memories of taking my kids to fish for tadpoles in the Rose Garden ponds, and letting my girls stroll among the roses and pretend they were princesses.
I think a visit to the Tulsa Historical Society and Museum, followed by a stroll through the gardens, would be an amazing adventure to have with a parent or other older family member, to hear their perspective of the exhibits – and it just might make us feel younger. It is open Tuesday-Friday, 10A-4P. Admission is only $5 for adults/$3 for seniors/free for children. The Arboretum and Rose Garden are free.