My word for 2013, realize, came to me last year as I was folding laundry on New Year's Day. It turned out to be the perfect companion for this crazy year. Reflecting on the past twelve months, 2013 felt like two very different years in one - the first half was jam-packed with incredible learning opportunities and professional experiences, while the second half was filled with many difficult personal challenges that left me emotionally and physically drained. As a result, I've retreated a bit from blogging and social media realizing that despite all the success from the first part of the year, I needed to slow down quite a bit and spend more time with my family and focus on doing my job to the best of my ability. Honestly, this is a truth I've had a hard time accepting and embracing. One of my goals for this past year was to "realize I can't do it all - and that's perfectly okay." I like to think that the celebrations and challenges of this past year have shown me how to strike a decent balance between work and life. Ultimately, realize helped me celebrate the wonderful moments of 2013 and face the tough ones with courage. And for that, I am grateful.
It wasn't until I really began searching for my 2014 word when it hit me that I'd already been living with it for many months. Once again, my word snuck up on me. For 2014 I'll be focusing on the word strength.
In 2014, I wish for physical and emotional strength for my family - as we continue to grieve the loss of my father, as my brother fights cancer, and as we welcome a baby into this world (in just a few short weeks).
I wish to strengthen relationships with my students and colleagues (near and far) - to make learning meaningful, to challenge, to inspire, and to know that we are stronger together.
I wish to strengthen my pedagogy as an educator - by trying out new opportunities, by stretching myself beyond my comfort zone, and through staying connected with those that inspire me.
Strength will require me to exert the right level of intensity, create a positive environment, and change up routines drastically. There will, no doubt, be a learning curve! And, like realize, strength will make me think deeply about myself and others, and require considerable amounts of determination, trust, and patience. So, I welcome 2014 knowing that the people, experiences, and opportunities of my journey will help me find and focus on strength in the New Year.