I’m pretty sure I started making New Year’s Resolutions in about 1976, the year I got my first notebook for Christmas. I was 12. I’m pretty sure that every list of resolutions since then had “lose weight,” and “keep closet organized” penned on the page. Thanks to my daughter and her contagious 5K-junkie attitude, in 2014 I lost a lot of the weight I’d been lugging around the past several years, but I’ve given up on the closet. (That’s what doors are for.)
This year? I hesitated even thinking about my goals. I simply did not know where to start.
With the hope of getting ideas, I turned to my Personal Learning Network, some I know personally and some online.
1. I read my online-friend Elizabeth Ellington’s “Top 10 Reading Goals of 2015” and got a tiny inkling of ideas and a little overwhelmed. Elizabeth is a sharp educator and a brilliant and prolific blogger. I learn from her often.
2. I read this post, which I saw Sir Ken Robinson tweeted. It begins like this: “This New Year’s day I will not be trying to moderate Sancerre consumption, cut back on Nicorette gum, exercise more or aim to finish my next book by Easter. I have decided to postpone all resolutions until February 19th which according to the Chinese calendar is the ‘ Year of the Sheep.’”
“Year of the Sheep?! Hmm. More time to think of good resolutions,” I say to myself.
3. I read my colleague Erika Bogdany’s post “Cliche No More,” and it takes me to my knees. Erika writes:
“. . .every morning with the heat blasting . . . there’s an essence that is viscerally undeniable. I walk into a space, a quiet and waiting space, that invites risk, mistakes, setbacks, and quite frankly – the undeniable ugly. Yet, there is no judgement, discerning undertone, nor slight anticipation that today there will be no progress.
Why would I want to leave all of that in 2014?!”
The last few weeks before the break were hard. My failure rate was out the roof, and after contacting parents via email and a translator, and meeting with an assistant principal for an hour and a half, and forcing myself to leave a stack of 120+ essays on my desk at the demands of my worried husband, I began to question everything I’d accomplished in the fall. All that choice reading. All that critical writing practice. All the relationships with my students. All of it.
I’ve grown because of my challenges. My students have grown as readers and writers. Why would I leave all of that in 2014?
For some reason God wants me teaching in high poverty schools. (This article helped a few things make more sense: “What if Finland’s Great Teachers Taught in U.S. Schools“)
4. I read at Electric Lit, one of my favorite new sites: “Writers and Editors on Their Literary Resolutions.” Read it. You’ll see why it made me feel better.
5. I read Seth’s blog: “Used to Be.” And these words resonated:
“Used to be,” is not necessarily a mark of failure or even obsolescence. It’s more often a sign of bravery and progress.
If you were brave enough to leap, who would you choose to ‘used to be’?”
I repeat to myself, “Who would you choose to ‘used to be’?”
6. I read my poet-friend Dawn Potter’s “New Year’s Letter,” and felt the burn of my own candle. Dawn reminded me of my love for words. She sent me back to The Frost Place and the hope I had last summer.
7. I read a message from my friend Whitney Kelley. She asked if I followed Poets & Writers and got their daily prompts. I do now.
Today’s poetry prompt:
I pulled out a new notebook that Whitney gave me for my birthday in December. I uncapped a new pen. And I wrote.
I don’t even care that it’s not very good. Just like this new year — It is a beginning.
I’d hope for world peace but
inner peace matters more to me right now
My daughter left this morning
She’s driving to her new life 2,000 miles from mine
I want her to go
Until I don’t — I can be selfish like that.
I hope for greater love and
out-of-my-way kindness that he needs
That I need
I hope for burning lights and blurring lines and bold declarations
Be me. Be you. Be decisive and strong.
Let’s live a little and live a lot
Seek for understanding and
Understand for seeking
I’ll meet you at the airport with the camera