For some reason, it didn’t hit me until recently that this year’s end also meant the end of the first decade of this century. I just posted a “Top Ten” of the decade on Facebook after seeing a friend do the same, and it helped spur me to think more about my goals for next year. Sure, you could call them resolutions, but I like “goals” better. Goals don’t get “broken,” and they don’t carry that same sense of pressure, I don’t think– there’s a connotation of struggle and progress, of fall-back and step-forward, in the word “goal” that just seems more realistic to me.
The advantage of blogging is that I can look back one year and see what I was thinking at this time last year. I did paint that bathroom and that entry hallway, for example, and that reminds me that by this time next year, I want to paint/finish our staircase and spare bedroom. I’d love to clean out the basement too, while I’m at it. But again, I want to look beyond to-do lists and think more about the quality of my life, where it is and where I want it to be.
In the career arena, I’m in the best place I’ve ever been. I love the school where I teach, I feel really rooted in the community there, and I feel like my talents and voice are not only recognized, but valued and rewarded, which is just a phenomenal feeling. I’ve made new friendships and alliances and have strengthened others, and have taken on new responsibilities that are deeply satisfying. I’ve got piles of undone grading to plow through, and units to plan for the spring, but that’s part of the job too, and I’m confident I have the resources and abilities to achieve all my goals there.
On the personal side, that’s where I haven’t made as much progress as I had hoped last year I would. At the beginning of this school year, I panicked a little because I was feeling disconnected from my girls’ life more, but I think I made up the balance there through my time in their classrooms and Brownie troop, and trying to be more present when I was with them. But last year, I wrote: there have been too many nights when I’ve flopped on the couch, turned on the television, or stared at my laptop screen for a few hours because I’m too weary to tackle anything else. Those couch hours don’t make me feel refreshed, and they’re mostly unproductive, and the next day, all my undone projects and obligations are still there, and that still has an unpleasant ring of truth to it. This fall was really hectic for me with increased work commitments, and the part of my life that suffered was definitely the domestic sphere. I didn’t cook as often as I like, I didn’t bake as often as I like, and I didn’t write as often as I like, and those are all important creative and nourishing activities for me to feel healthy and fulfilled, mentally and physically. My energy levels were depleted far too often, which became a vicious and depleting cycle.
So I think my mantra for this year will closely resemble the one I wrote for last year: Spend more time with people and projects that are pleasant, productive and fulfilling, but will also be a little expanded and refocused.
In 2010, as I begin a new decade, I want to continue making progress in my work life, but I also need to be more present in my family life, and in caring for myself physically and mentally, to enable that progress to continue and pervade every area of my life.