The start of December has been BUSY, and I’m afraid there’s not much promise of it slowing down anytime soon. Still, I would be remiss if I didn’t try to squeeze in some time for reflection. After all, you have to consider where you are to know where you’re going. Jaemie, from my old stomping grounds in Johnstown, started a wonderful site, #Resound11: Reflect & Reinvent, to focus participants’ and readers’ reflections about this past year as we think about the year ahead. As I can use all the help I can get these days when it comes to focusing, I decided (albeit a little late, as per usual) to play along.
My intended one little word for 2011 was REALIZE. One could argue that, through what became a very trying year, I did realize according to the first definition of the word, to understand; I realized a lot about myself, and that’s always a good thing. The fact that the second definition of the word, to make real (a plan, dream, etc.), didn’t come to fruition saddens me. In fact, it led me to think that the real word for 2011 should be disappointing, but I concluded that this wasn’t a very fair evaluation as there was a lot of good that happened this year. Really, the word that sums up the year is SURPRISING. Some surprises were not so great (hi, third layoff in two years!), and some, like getting to meet a favorite author, were happy, welcome surprises. For good or bad, the bottom line is that this year didn’t turn out anything like I had planned. As such, I was reminded that I can’t control everything; the only thing I can control is how I react to what happens, and that’s a realization I’m going to take with me into the New Year.
I successfully gave up caffeine… for less than a month. Diet Coke is my kryptonite. As far as vices are concerned, it’s not the worst I could have, right? The vices I need to give up still remain negative self-talk and procrastination, which I’ve realized only fuel each other.
Fortunately, I think the good I’ve done this year outweighs both the inaction and not-so-great habits. I’m most proud of how I’ve jumped into the community and have begun practicing what I preach through volunteerism. In the past year, I’ve dedicated my time to sit on boards, head committees, raise money, and – most importantly – teach.
Sadly, my most recent superpower is being bitten by fleas. Seriously, guys, I fought the fleas, and the fleas won. Hm, is it a superpower to parody songs? In all seriousness, I think my greatest superpower is that of flexibility. Whether in my classroom on Sundays, at work, or while planning an event, if something doesn’t go as anticipated, I’m pretty darn good at rolling with the punches. Perhaps I can one day learn to apply this superpower to my personal life.
Neko Case and Nick Cave’s version of She’s Not There really spoke to me this year. Of course, it helps that the song was the theme for the first episode of True Blood this season, but more than that is the fact that, until recently, I spent the majority of the year not feeling like myself, as though I wasn’t there.
I thankfully feel less like that now; however, it’s still a great tune to dance to!
Thelma & Louise
Having been fortunate to find a great group of friends here in Cola, there are a number of Thelmas to my Louise. Some would bail me out of jail, some would probably be sharing the cell with me, and a few would be there afterward to help pick up the pieces. There might even be one or two who would be willing to drive off the cliff with me…given enough alcohol.
Though I’m by no means great at it, I can say that I learned to read Hebrew this year. This is something I’ve wanted to learn for the last decade and simply never took the time to do. I’m glad I allowed myself the opportunity to finally realize this goal.
While I still love my catch phrase from 2010 (so much so that I had to include a video of it again),
there is a phrase that I found myself saying a LOT this year. SRSLY. Written, spoken, or texted – whether you end it with a period, question mark, or exclamation point – “seriously” gets the job done. Don’t know what I mean? Watch the clip below. Seriously.
I’ve always loved this word, but since I started working with middle schoolers again, I find it’s become a more frequently used part of my vocabulary: Seriously, did you just do that after I told you not to? Seriously?! Yes, you’ve earned the right to lose your recess – seriously.
And thus wraps up the first week of #Resound11. I’m looking forward to a little more reflection this month and a whole lot of thinking about how to make the coming year better.