Saturday, October 22, 2011

Effort of Maintenance

A great memory is not one of my strengths, however, if I could remember, I know I wouldn't count more than a dozen times that I've been to a hair salon and had a professional haircut and style. I have, or used to have, that easy, wavy, "wash & wear" kind of hair. Every now and then, my mother would trim the ends and some old friends may even recall that with a cup of mayo and a plastic cap, my hair was refreshed, deep conditioned, and shiny again. Yeah, my hair was that easy. But as I've gotten older, I've found that I am needing to spend more time and money on plucking, pulling, trimming, covering up, moisturizing, soaking, and manipulating. And getting more suggestions from beauty professionals of additional things I should pluck, wax, and cover up.

The concept of "maintenance of effort" in the education budget means, in layman's terms, that a school system must spend at least the same amount of money on each student as it did in the previous year. It can spend more, but not less; to spend less, the system would incur a penalty. I thought of that today (I know, too much time in too many PTA meetings) as I was getting my hair done. There's no going back, is there? I am past the days where a quick shampoo and condition will give me long, bouncy, waves. I can do it; often, when in a hurry, I'll rinse and condition and run off to run errands, but my hair is not the mane it once was. Where a swipe of lipgloss used to be enough, now I need a few minutes for a mini-makeover before getting out the door. Lets not even talk about a diet of Ruffles and Pepsi at twenty years old vs. now. When I was younger, walking across campus was enough exercise. Now, I've got to fit in a regular run and workout on an almost daily basis. To try to go backwards, a penalty would be incurred.

I believe the concept of maintenance of effort is to ensure that a system is in constant improvement. That at a sign of hardship, resources are not cut or diverted somewhere else. This concept forces us to take care of ourselves, whether there are braces and team uniforms to pay for and carpools to drive, a career to keep up, an aging parent to care for, or all of the above. Despite the fact that life gets busier and more complicated as we get older, we all want to continue to be our wonderful selves (we all do consider ourselves to be some kind of wonderful, right?). We have to at least make the effort of maintenance.

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