Monday, December 31, 2012

2012: A Year of Growth

I love the New Year; it's a time to reflect and think about who we are and who we want to become.

2012, for me, was a major year of personal growth.

In work, I learned so much about myself and what I am capable of. I learned from each of my students and feel thankful for every one of them. I saw myself do things I never thought were possible. I looked in the mirror and felt professional, and, momentarily (at least once every day), I felt like everything was under control. I constantly was aware of how I could change and become better; I learned how to give myself kinder constructive criticism. I learned how to "just deal with it." I moved into my first real office. I felt brave. I tried to be the teachers I've always looked up to--kind, fun, understanding but uncompromising with high expectations. I tried to instill confidence in my students--show them their strengths and how they were improving. On the best days, I saw my students become independent. I heard some reiterate points we'd discussed in class to their peers and felt proud of them. I read some papers that were amazing, honestly outstanding, and I felt fulfilled. In the fall, I started with 175 students. 173 finished...90% of them passed with a C or higher; To see them succeed makes me happy. I feel that I am succeeding too.

I wrote things I was happy with again this year. I didn't write enough things, and I didn't make enough time for it, but I did some of it. I read it to other people, and I submitted it to many places. I got a lot of rejection, and actually, rejection didn't bother me too much. I told Brendan I'll be writing for my whole life...maybe I won't publish until I'm older, but I found writing fun again. I had missed that, and I felt it again this year. It made me hopeful--I realized there are so many reasons to write...and sometimes the doing is more important than the end result of what happens with the work. And what I've learned is to push myself spend more time with the page, take a small piece of advice and run with it, be more precise with my word choice, and take time to fix all my horrible similes. Things will happen when they happen, and so much of it isn't up to me to decide; I can only find joy in the doing and then hope for the best.

I did a lot of yoga this year. 2012 was like my year on the mat. At least twice a week for one hour, nearly every week of 2012, I was in a yoga class. I credit friends Jill and Kristen for this, as well as outstanding teachers, Heather and Jessica. Yoga is the closet I've ever come to a spiritual experience. It makes me pause and reflect, take time to breathe, and stop (or attempt to stop) any annoying inner dialogue. I'm a big wimp, and I think I've improved--become a little less afraid and stopped holding myself back. Yoga never lets me have an one is ever the best at every single pose. I am humbled every day by it, knowing there will ALWAYS be something to work toward. I'm stronger because of it, physically, and I'm happier because of it too. I see yoga as the perfect metaphor for life...If I was going to explain that fully, it would take a few paragraphs, but basically, you need to stop thinking and start trying, and as soon as you get it perfect--wait 5 seconds and see what happens :)

Perfection is impossible, but in 2012, I tried to be the best friend, sister, daughter, partner, person in the world that I could be. I developed more self-control than ever before and more ability to say "okay, this isn't a big deal." I thought more of others and my world view continued to change, as I continued to see how complex and complicated this world is. I want the best for everyone--I want everyone to have chances and rights and opportunities. I want my students to still have a shot at the American dream. I want upward mobility for everyone that is willing to work for it.

I still don't have enough patience. I think it's going to happen one of these days, maybe.

This year, I filled my life with everything I wanted it to include. Travel to 15 states, good friends old and new, more cooking, more exercise, lots of family time, the man I love.

Brendan and I made a promise to each other this year to spend our lives together. I've never been happier. I finally found that person that loves me for exactly who I am (bad similes, lack of patience, and all). There was a time when I didn't think that was possible to find. The love I have for Brendan is indescribable: I look at him and know it won't always be easy, but I know we'll be there for each other. We're building our lives together. It feels all our own.

I know I'm ready to welcome 2013...I'm ready to teach 1302, to write more stories and keep submitting them, to get back to the mat and to the gym, to nurture my relationships with friends and family, to travel, to try new recipes and blog about them, to be grateful for finally marry this man I've loved for a long time, to celebrate with everyone, to go to Hawaii...but I'm also ready to discover what unknown things will happen...what new people will come into my life...what new adventures are in store...

I think 2013 will be a year of adventures. I'm ready to take them.
<3 S, B, L&Z

Wishing a peaceful and safe New Year to all! May your year be filled with happiness.

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