You are ’16, Going on ’17…

Happy New Year! I’m apparently addicted to cheesy titles, especially if it’s an allusion to a musical, so you are welcome!

Since last year, I realized that I did 15 things for 2015… and then did 15 again last year for consistency. Therefore, I will learn from my errors and do 17 things, still categorized and briefly presented for your perusal (and to try and keep the years straight).

5 Cool Things I/We Did This Year:

  1. Traveled to Puerto Rico for a work conference for Chris in February. We snorkeled, hiked the rainforest, and ate amazing food, all with wonderful friends. #friendcation2016 was a blast!
  2. Traveled to Dallas for our anniversary weekend (4 years already!), traveled to Tennessee for my cousin’s wedding, traveled to Iowa for the family reunion, and hiked around Arkansas in the Spring and saw some awesome waterfalls. I also went back to Dallas in September for a bachelorette party and had a blast. I feel like I’ve spent the majority of this year in a car, going somewhere!
  3. We had our first garden since we now own a home! The tomatoes took over, I found out lettuce in a box is work-intensive in Arkansas heat, and we had so many cucumbers!
  4. I mostly got the hang of long-boarding (skateboarding) over Christmas break with my husband and his siblings. This is impressive if you understand my default level of coordination. Maybe I will work on surfing more next year haha!
  5. Remember that gym I joined last year? I spent this year struggling and getting back into a gym routine. It was suuuuuuuper slow and difficult getting started (May, June, July), but I’ve been fairly consistent since August and am loving it again. We go early in the morning, but I have adjusted… mostly.

5 Things I have Learned This Year:

  1. Cut out the things that cause you excess stress and/or change your perspective. Let go of things you can’t fix. If someone you love is not ready for change, love them anyway and pray they will come to the conclusion on their own. You can absolutely love someone and not agree with their life decisions. Leave work at work and unapologetically ignore your phone/email in favor of family if necessary. Stand up for yourself if you are being overtaxed. It is OKAY to have boundaries, and just because someone else is sacrificing more does not mean you have to do the same. Be you. Be happy with being you because boundaries allow you to be your best self. Be grateful for what you have and continue to work hard without stressing.
  2. Rejoice with those who are rejoicing, mourn with those who mourn. Everyone is on their own, perfect life schedule. Don’t compare, just be happy where you are and connect with others wherever they are, and whatever they are learning. Still be content with what you are learning, even if others can’t relate or don’t want to hear it. BE PASSIONATE AND AWESOME ANYWAY!  Related: send out New Year’s cards if that project you were supposed to finish in November takes over your life… start projects sooner and focus more on doing rather than deadlines all the time.
  3. Enjoy the glorious now! It can be painful or beautiful or both, but live it for yourself; after all, the present only happens exactly once… as it happens… and then it’s gone (according to our chronology anyway).
  4. I am much happier with a workout routine. It reduces my stress and anxiety immensely. Also, please be my fitbit friend. I like the motivation to move more frequently!
  5. Teaching is terrifying and also the best thing for me. I had a rough last school year and spent some time over the summer reevaluating my life decisions and taking a break from everything. I didn’t teach summer school (as I had the past two summers), and I seriously considered a different career path. What I ultimately concluded was that the year was awful and that, as much as test scores and society would like me to believe, students do not always reflect what teaching they have received. There are many times I am concerned that I’ve overlooked a student or said the wrong thing at a crucial moment out of my own weakness and frustration, but what’s awesome about teaching is that I get to know students over time, and by getting to know each other, we build a trust and a bridge for learning. I frequently feel paradoxically that I am comfortable teaching and have soooo much to learn. Ultimately, however, I still feel as though teaching is my calling, and I am in education to stay. Working through those things is a wonderful affirmation.

7 Goals for 2017:

  1. Keep going to the gym.
  2. Practice Yoga 2+ times a week
  3. Incorporate more brain breaks or small fun things that complement students’ learning
  4. Accept that I don’t know a lot about what the next few years will look like yet, and that is awesome if you really think about it.
  5. Attempt a garden again, only plan a little better
  6. Enjoy the last full year we are for sure in our awesome house in Arkansas.
  7. Discover new perspectives by observing, asking questions, and doing new things.

I made it to 17 and it’s only 1 AM! Happy New Year!