It is 2016 and I have no New Year’s resolutions. I course correct multiple times throughout the year thereby removing the need to at the end or beginning of a year.
I am embracing 2016 as the best year yet. I’m not job searching or looking for another place to dwell vocationally. There are no major life altering goals I have to meet. So I see this year as blooming where I’ve been planted.
I set my Goodreads reading challenge at 24 books for the year. I want to keep plugging away at finishing my Fanfiction stories while continuing my original works in progress. I’m continuing to find ways to work smarter and not harder as an educator. My work as a writing coach and editor continues to be gratifying. This, my daughter’s final year in high school, brings many large and small projects.
I foresee 2016 bringing me great joy and satisfaction.
It’s December 22 and I’m 3 months into 40. Today I’m feeling my age but in a good way. When I was 20, 40 seemed eons away. I just couldn’t fathom it. As the world keeps turning and the candles keep burning, each year gets seems to come faster. Perhaps that’s why I don’t feel like I’m aging or maybe aging is something different for me than it was then.
When I gaze at my reflection, I see the same person. It’s not until I look at photographs that I see the subtle differences that confirm I have, in fact, aged. Each visit to the doctor confirms the aging as well. My gynecologist scheduled my first mammogram and incidentally it was today. What a smash fest! My girls were pulled, prodded, and pressed between cold plastic during that “photo shoot” until they gave the camera what it wanted.
During my annual eye exam, the doctor asked me if I’ve experienced any changes in my vision since, “I see you turned 40 this year.” I wanted to say, “It’s been all of 3 months.” But I said, “Nope, I can still read really small text up close.” I have been near sighted and needed glasses since childhood. My vision hasn’t worsened with age…yet.
Turning 40 has bestowed many gifts. I know myself better than I have in the past. I enjoy people and socializing but my own company is just fine. Marriage has given me wings. I pride myself on doing the best, but I have nothing to prove to anyone but myself. I take no one for granted. Having a best friend or a lot of friends is overrated. The best giving is when you get nothing in return. Writing and/or reading a good story is bliss. Working through a struggle instead of escaping makes life meaningful. Sometimes the smartest thing you can say is, “I don’t know.”
It is true that American culture is obsessed with youth, but in the right context, this is the best time to get older. I’m only 3 months in, but 40 is wonderful.
December 1, 2015
Despite my teeth gnashing and occasional wailing, I am a teacher at heart. I enjoy building anticipation in my students. My excitement about anything spreads like wildfire. I am a builder of excitement and anticipation which is a big part of advent. We wait for the coming of Christ, the baby Jesus, O Emmanuel, God with us.
Our hearts beat a little quicker. We smile a bit wider. We look forward to good eating, fellowship, and gifts, receiving and giving. Unfortunately, for most of us, this is a time of hustle and bustle where we are filled with a lot of cares.
It’s easy to get bogged down in the details and things that have to get done. We quickly lose the excitement anticipation brings and instead the entire season becomes a burden. There is a better way.
I try to take each day, hour, and moment as it comes instead of harping on the past or worrying about the future. The twin to anticipation becomes experiece. The Christ child comes to bring salvation and abundant life. Advent commemorates these gifts that are better together.
Much too often, I forget that I am free. I surrender my freedom to forces outside myself and stew in the miasma of my perceived situation. I focus inward and create a “woe is me” silo. In this state, I become helpless and fearful. These twins manifest as negativity and fatalism. Essentially, I become someone else.
There’s only been one time in my life when this state lasted for more than a day or so. I’m casting this off because as I am settling into my vocation I’m becoming more and more forgetful. “STOP IT!” I say to myself.
I am free and unbounded. Daily blessed to shape young minds, thereby shaping the very matter and course of the future. I have words and the ability to craft them into stories that others read and enjoy. I am called on to help others craft stories. I’m loved and adored in Spirit and in Truth.
The challenge, the task is to remember that this freedom is mine, unbroken and unfiltered. Accomplishing this will surely bring that fulfillment I seek. It will overflow and break the bonds of others around me.
My heart is restless. Your heart is restless. I was just sitting here thinking about that. This is a literal restlessness–not as in troubled or without peace but never resting–that sustains life. Our hearts beat continually until we die. Is it really fathomable? All our other organs can “rest” but our hearts cannot. We can be brain dead and technically still alive as long as our hearts keep beating.
Sitting here thinking of my own insignificance, this thought happened across my mind. Gladly, I felt a little more significant because of this perpetually beating organ in my chest. That it is beating on its own not because of anything under my control (though dietary, physical, and mental health can help it beat longer) is also awe inspiring. I believe its beating because of a divine God’s will. It will continue beating until some unknown time. It is unlike any other thing we are used to. It gets stronger the more it beats.
Placing my hand to my chest over my heart, I can feel it beating gently. If my dog started barking furiously at a passerby through the window, startling me, my heart would speed up. Its tempo changes according to my moods, emotions, and activities, sometimes without my knowledge. Thinking on this makes me calm and peaceful somehow. It makes me appreciate that almost every other living creature has this organ also.
Maybe humans identify the heart as the wellspring or seat of emotions because it is always beating. If it is always beating then it is always present and accounted for in every experience we have. It is like a sponge in that respect, soaking in everything. I recall a movie, “Return to Me,” about a woman who received another woman’s heart through a transplant. The heart recipient and the donor’s husband met accidentally and fell in love. The recipient took on some of the donor’s characteristics. Even the donor’s dog recognized his former owner’s heart. Hollywood knows how to weave a heartwarming tale. I’ve read (unscientific reports) of recipients inexplicably picking up certain affinities that they attribute to the donor. I can’t attest to the accuracy of this phenomenon, but I feel that all hearts are unique.