I was perusing a 'Mommy Mag' and saw a statement from the editor - she was expounding on the guilt most of us feel when we set, and fail, at resolutions for the new year. She made some very valid points - why would we resolve to get into shape, lose x number of pounds, etc., when we can barely drag ourselves out of comfy, warmed-through beds in the pitch black to get the day started? She went on about how we should all, male and female alike, cut ourselves some slack and try for resolutions in a few months, when Spring beckons.
I agree, to an extent. But I make resolutions on January 1st regardless. Yes, it is difficult to do it this time of year. But as a teacher, I find the end of the first semester to be a 'sweet spot.' I know my students now. I didn't in August. I know, more so, what I'm dealing with at school. I didn't in August. I have an opportunity to redeem myself where I've had shortcomings with the same students, the same material that I've been using the first half of the school year. The new year marks the very end of the first half of the school year, and I have a second semester to make amends with students who I haven't paid enough attention to, with duties I've half-heartedly accomplished - if only because the first half of the year I was trying to 'find my feet.' I know I'm a good teacher, but I always strive to be a better teacher. And I know - I KNOW - I have failings - every year, but especially this year. I feel as out of place this year as I did my first year teaching. A rather disconcerting feeling to say the least.
In addition to this 'sweet spot' in my occupation, there is the sense of calm that comes from spending time away from school. I allowed myself the majority of this winter break to forget about school. I spent one day grading. One day. Believe me, I needed more, but I also needed the break, the time to spend with my son, to go back to being a full-time wife, daughter, sister, friend. I managed to put my hats in order, and I will attempt to keep them in order, and prioritized.
So, this pause in my life marks another opportunity to take stock of where I stand and what changes I should make in the new year. Yet another reason I begin January 1st. I am lucky in that I didn't have to work the past two weeks, unlike my husband and many people I know. I have this period of time to set my goals in order and pursue them.
I find, too, that writing down my goals help me make them more permanent. The years I don't physically see them, they don't usually come to fruition. I try to be reasonable. I'm human. But I try to truly put them into effect, too. As long as I know I've put forth effort, I feel at peace with myself, and that, ultimately, is the most important goal.
Thus, I wish everyone a Happy New Year, and I wish everyone peace in 2011 - peace with yourself, whether you decide to pursue resolutions and changes or not, that you know who you are and are content with that person. Peace with the past - we all have regrets, decisions we'd alter, if given the chance - let them go and live your life. Peace going into the future - that you see your path, regardless of forks in the road, and feel the confidence and grace to follow your bliss. Happy 2011!