I am not really a fan of New Year's resolutions in any year, although I do like challenges and goals. This year, though, I just can't.
Choosing a word. Yes.
Reflecting on the year, yes.
2020 was a weird year. Where do we go from here?
We are exhausted mentally, emotionally, and physically. Although it's now 2021, this school year is only half over and we can't even predict how it will unfold.
So, it's a hard no to resolutions for me.
And yet, as December came to a close, I found myself looking back.
And looking forward with hope and anticipation for this new year.
And as usually happens, I read something that got me thinking. This year, it was Jessica Hutchison, a principal I know from the Chicago area. She's amazing. And real. And honest.
She shared this on her FB page. This is just part of it, but I was intrigued!
Right off the bat, I loved that it was a list! I can write lists all day! And I loved even more that it was just real reflections and lessons learned in this challenging year. Though sometimes it was hard to see, there were silver linings. In her post, she mentioned a podcast that focuses on self care for educators. I decided to listen and see what this list thing was all about. You can listen here: https://podcasts.apple.com/us/podcast/episode-27-remember-me/id1520097431 It's not long :)
Being honest, even self care felt like just another thing I was supposed to do this year when a lot of days I felt like doing NOTHING. And when I started listening, she shared the G word... GOALS!
I kept listening.
In the end, if you chose to, you could write 20 goals, or 20 things you looked forward to, or 20 anythings really. At the heart of it, it was writing a list of whatever you wanted. As many things as you wanted.
This I could do.
And so, I share with you my list for 2021... a list of 11 things I learned or discovered, and 10 things I am looking forward to in the coming year. Nothing fancy.
- Focus on the humans. As a school leader, this for me was mostly the grownups - staff, teachers, and parents. To keep the kids afloat, we need to lift up the adults. Love them, appreciate them, see them. I don't know if I did all the work I was supposed to do this year, but I feel like I focused my energy on the people. For more on this topic, check out John Eick's podcast episode. It's a great listen! https://learnwithjohneick.libsyn.com/season-5-episode-3-focus-on-the-humans
- Mostly there are not many emergencies. Distribute all the chromebooks on a few day's notice? Check. Write another safety plan? Check. Get 4 year olds you have never seen online for school? Check. I am constantly amazed by what has been accomplished this year by our educators and parents. And I am so grateful. No internet? No problem. We just learned this year to be like Gumby, to be flexible, to not freak out. If we stick together it will be okay. And the real emergencies? The humans.
- Music is everything. We have an Alexa in our office and having a soundtrack for our work has been so important. We laugh every time we request Office music and something about The Office comes on.
- I thought my one word for 2020 was focus. Nope. It turned out to be lemons! I bought lemon shirts, lemon lotion, even lemon hand sanitizer. Staff gave me lemon gifts. And we made lemonade. Lots of it! Finding the sweetest parts of what seemed like a pretty sour year. A drive by Halloween parade and two author zooms were highlights.
- Walking everyday is less about fitness and more about wellness. Getting outside, looking for things to take pictures of, and just taking some time to just BE kept me going this year. All in all I walked just under 2,000 miles in 2020.
- Rest. And then rest some more. Every day this break I have slept in. We need rest.
- When people show you who they are, believe them.
- You can never have too many candles or too much cheetah print. That is all.
- Leggings are pants. In this time of Zoom everything I have embraced the soft and the comfy and being uber professional from the waist up. This means for board meetings I put on a fancy necklace, maybe a scarf, and lip gloss. I always look professional, but right now when no one really sees us, let's all just be okay with our favorite pants!
- This year I gained weight, and with discipline and lots more water, I have faith that I can lose it.
- Most importantly, in 2020 I gained perspective. This will be an ongoing journey of learning and unlearning and growing.
- We are going to be grandparents this March!
- This April Sam and I will celebrate our 30th anniversary!
- This May I will be turn 50. Whoa! I'm excited.
- I'm almost done with going 100% grey! Saves time, money, my hair is healthy and it was just time. And my hair is getting long. I am looking forward to a haircut again one day.
- I can't wait for it to be safe to have students and staff on campus. To welcome families in the morning at drop off with music and a smile. To visit classrooms and be outside watching kids play.
- Meetings in person. Zoom, I am over you, even though it's the safest right now. I miss learning and connecting together.
- That August 2020 Maroon 5 concert has been rescheduled for July 2021. Fingers crossed!
- Traveling. Gathering. Family. Friends. That trip to NY. Any trip anywhere. The cancelled conferences. Christmas and Thanksgiving and cooking and visiting. Coffee with friends. Happy hour or happy half hour! I used to think I wasn't a hugger. But I can't wait to hug everyone as soon as I can!
- Seeing what new doors open.
- Book club! We have made the best of Zoom and a socially distanced picnic. We even had one book club on zoom where we came in disguises -- that was the spy themed book month.
Looking forward to 2021, I hope for health, justice, and peace for our country and the world.Looking back, 2020 was filled with much to be grateful for and lessons that I will never forget.
2020, I see you. Even with a cracked rear view.
2021 I am ready for you!