As it was for so many, 2018 was a year of ups and downs in my life.
My highs were huge: I earned my doctorate, moved from the classroom to a district literacy coaching position, renewed my National Board certification, spent ten days in Hungary with my family, went to New York for the first time to learn at Teachers’ College, became an aunt, and watched my children grow into incredible 4- and 6-year-olds. It was an amazing year.
The lows were more subtle: the challenges of taking on a new position and the responsibilities I never expected, the day-to-day frustrations of parenting two strong-willed children, leaving the classroom while it was still a job I love, changes in my relationships with colleagues and friends, the ongoing struggle of being married to a man I adore who cannot empty the dishwasher…
As I’ve sat and contemplated a word for 2019, so many have run through my mind. Laugh (a constant reminder to savor every funny moment with my kids). Trust (in myself and others). Enjoy (find the best in every moment).
But as I looked across these words and sought out the deeper meaning of each, none of them fit just right. But they did lead me on the path to the word that I need the most: light.
In one respect, light means to enlighten, to illuminate. Both things I seek to do, both for myself and for others.
On the other hand, lightness signifies to me holding on to less of a burden. Stressing less when my kids struggle to listen. Taking things less personally when faced with criticism. Being more patient with my husband when he does things that frustrate me. Looking for the positive side of every situation, not the darkness. Learning from my mistakes without getting caught in negativity. Focusing on the positive. Remembering to not take every moment so seriously. Reminding myself that light is a choice: it is a perspective, an attitude, and a gift all rolled into one.
And so, as a fresh new year begins, my hope this year is to focus on light, keeping it at the center of my relationships, my love, my learning, and my growth.