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Onward & Upward

Good Riddance, 2021

I spent much of my day yesterday alone in reflection, similar to most of my year. 2021 was a tremendously challenging year mentally and emotionally, and one that I'm quite happy to leave behind. In time I may be able to look back on this year with a deeper understanding of why it had to happen or unearth all of the hidden lessons I'd learned along the way. But that's not today. Today is the day I bid this terrible, horrible, no good, very bad year adieu. One way I closed out the year was journaling. I've kept a journal in some form or fashion since adolescence but not consistently... a lot like my exercise regimen. Oh well.

Anyway, I'm proud to say that journaling has been a part of my weekly routine for a full year and it's one of the things that's helped me get through all of the challenges 2021 had in store. I hope this ritual remains intact for another year, even when life (hopefully) gets better. Another ritual I've made part of my life is this 1-second-a-day trend. If you've never heard of this, don't worry, I was late to the party too. Basically, this app allows you to visually capture one second of each day and then mashes it together in a 6-minute video to walk you down memory lane. I managed to remember to do this almost every day, but watching the result yesterday made me really depressed. None of the moments of my year were spent in my husband's arms or chatting over a homecooked meal together, and that reality made me question if any of this has been worth it. I know regret is a wasted emotion but I can't help but feel overwhelmed by it at times. Thankfully, I don't allow myself to dwell in that space for long. I feel it and let it wash over me; I cry and feel sorry for myself and then I go do other things that help me get over it. Yesterday it was cleaning and organizing my craft room and fabric stash.

Silver Linings

Even though the last year was awful in many ways, there were a lot of silver linings and a ton of personal growth. It would be tragic and foolish to not acknowledge that. So, in no particular order, here are the things I'm celebrating from 2021:

  • Invested in myself and my relationships

  • Taught myself how to sew

  • Paid off all of my student loans & debt

  • Started an investment account

  • Became more comfortable in my own skin

  • Developed healthy stress management strategies

  • Made lasting friendships

  • Started student news & announcements at school

  • Modeled vulnerability for colleagues

  • Connected with students and teachers in new ways

  • Facilitated lots of great professional learning

  • Deep dive into coaching practices

  • Learned alongside some amazing educators in PD

  • Picked up some more Greek on Duolingo

  • Spent quality time with Izzy and practiced my 'auntie' skills

  • Cooked some yummy dishes

  • Learned to make ice cream

  • Found some incredible podcasts & books to help me grow

  • Communicated my feelings in new ways and situations

  • Indulged in cat cuddles

  • Reduced mindless screen time

  • Intentional gratitude and journaling practices

What lies ahead

What kind of end-of-year reflection would this post be if I didn't turn my attention to the future and all the things that are in store for me (that I know of) this coming year? In my last personal post, I was in the throes of recruitment for the next school year, trying to decide if I wanted to be in Asia, the Middle East, or Europe. I updated my resume and cover letter what feels like a million times, had lots of interviews, received a couple of rejections and a few offers. And I'm happy to report that I have made a decision to join the wonderful learning community at the American School of Warsaw for the 2022-2023 school year! I'm beyond excited to be moving into new(ish) territory as the Upper School Instructional Coach working in MYP and DP technology integration.

And before I get ahead of myself and start living in the future, I want to pause and make sure I'm getting everything I can out of my last few months in China. That brings me to my yearly intentions and my #OneWord2022. I want to be present more. I want to remember that bad days are followed by good ones. I want to smile more and put my phone away in conversations. I want to reunite with the love of my life (obvs). I want to go with the flow more and remain unbothered by small inconveniences. I want to find ways to show people that they matter. I want to enter spaces and conversations with a more positive outlook. I want to give and receive empathy and compassion. I want to learn and apply new skills and practices. I want to continue to grow and progress in all ways. I want to be the best at my job. I want to sew more new clothes. I want to have a smooth transition to my next home.

I'd love to hear what others are doing to welcome the new year. Do you set intentions or participate in the One-Word movement? Do you have a resolution or something you're committing to in the new year? If so, let me know! Until next time, cheers to a happier, healthier and more positive 2022 🥂.

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