I’ve decided I’m over resolutions. They don’t work for me – they make me feel bad about myself and have always felt like they’re made to be broken.
Last year, I came up with two phrases to guide 2017 for me:
prime number, prime life
action over inaction
Both of these have been tremendously effective. Prime number, prime life comes out of the fact that 2,017 is a prime number, and just remembering that little fact throughout the year made me…happy. It made me remember that I could find some small thing in whatever situation that was good and to be proud of – to build my prime life.
Action over inaction made 2017 a year of constant motion for me. It made me take the options I would have normally passed over as being just too much effort. It’s easier to stay where you’re at. It’s easier to say you’ll wait until the summer, or next school year, or you’ll stop at McDonald’s just today and go grocery shopping tomorrow. This year, I took the action over inaction. I bought a house, started grad school, stopped drinking pop, started cooking way more for myself, cleaned more often, went and visited friends, called my mom more often. Living by this phrase WORKED for me.
So this year, I’ve come up with another one. Motivated by UN, meaning not. All the things I DON’T want to be in 2018. Or, looking at it another way, all the things I don’t want to hold me back.
UNASHAMED, UNAFRAID, UNFINISHED.
UNASHAMED – I don’t want to adjust the things I enjoy or am passionate about because of what other people are. This has always been a point of pride for me – I don’t watch a lot of the popular tv shows because I prefer reading, I love bands that “went out of style” years ago, etc. I also want to look at this word a different way in 2018 though. I want to be unashamed to call out someone’s racism, homophobia, or transphobia. I want to be unashamed that I didn’t think that rape joke was funny. I want to be proud to be a teacher and a single person and to make decisions that maybe you wouldn’t make. And yes, I still want to be proud of my interests and not think that “guilty pleasures” are a thing. I want to make my struggles public and feel good about them because they will get me where I’m trying to go, not to hide them all to try to feel like a perfect human!
I want to admit when I don’t know something, and not be ashamed of that because it is an opportunity to learn from someone else and to add more knowledge to my life!
UNAFRAID – I want to take risks, I want to speak out for those who can’t, I want to try new things and do things I never thought I could. I want to strive to reach things I dream of and not be scared of money or failure stopping me. I want to be the person who speaks up when something is wrong and have the hard conversations that I’m scared to have. I want to try new things and say “yes” when it’s easier and more comfortable to say “no”.
UNFINISHED – This word came from a professional development session our staff had before break, in which the speaker told us to “stay unfinished”. It was such a powerful sentiment – that we should never believe we are at the finish line of what we’re trying to do, because we can always become better, reach further, try harder. We should never stop learning and pursuing that knowledge that will help us to continue to become better and better and better, with no end! I want to read more diverse things, to try new things in my teaching and analyze what could be improved, I want to make my budgets better and become healthier and take care of myself more – I want to see all the growth I have made but also to see HOW FAR I CAN GO, which is ALWAYS further, because I am UNFINISHED.
One part of our school vision statement says that we will be “relentless in our pursuit to help all students overcome every obstacle to reach our potential”. I want to embody that phrase, but in my whole life. Relentless in the pursuit.
All of these UN words work together – Unashamed, Unafraid, Unfinished. All of them are about proudly being who I am and about working to improve that person to be even better than she was before. All of them are about speaking out and stopping the cycles of hate. All of them are about being in motion instead of being stagnant. And that is how I want my 2018 to look.