Blank pages in our calendars.
Resolutions in the back of our minds – whether we make them formally or not.
Hopes of better, healthier, happier days ahead.
The new year brings contemplation and reflection.
I’ve been thinking about what I’ve learned over the last two years.
You see, after we finish growing up, we like to think we have the things down: how to do our jobs, handle our roles, pay our bills, be decent human beings – you know, the basics. Perhaps you have this all locked and loaded. I, however, often feel like an interloper in life. What am I doing? Am I doing this right? Should I be doing something different? Why does this thing or that keep going wrong?
Thanks to a wonderful community of friends both far and near, I have learned a few things over the past two years, and much of my personal growth is due to their examples. As a way to start the new year, a reflection on a few of these lessons is in order.
*A good friend in Georgia taught me that you can be silly, play video games, get way excited about sports and be a responsible happy grown-up. Adulting doesn’t have to be boring.
*A new friend has shown me that bravery comes in many forms: trying new things, asking for support, expanding one’s interests, taking care of one’s health – this woman is the epitome of growth and personal development.
*My dog has shown me that an after breakfast snuggle is a really good idea.
*Another friend has always shown me the value of art: from her talents to her family’s shop to art history to making chai. Over the years of our friendship, my eyes and heart have been opened to the fact that art is everywhere in infinite forms.
*Two friends in particular embody perseverance. Both of these women have stuck with partners and situations when lesser people (read: me) would have given up and walked away.
*I have several friends who are marathoners and triathletes – talk about perseverance! But, the thing they have particularly shown me is that you don’t have to be perfect to be active. Broken knees? Shaky glutes? Saggy biceps? All par for the course – just move!
*A writer friend continues to show me that time and distance do not have the power to separate people. She is supportive and generous even though we are thousands of miles apart.
*Too often, we can feel like we have the answers and others would just be fine if they would accept our answers. One of my college friends is incredibly adept at offering support and care without being a preachy bully.
*Yet one more friend reminded me that travel is really an essential – not a luxury. Travel down the block, across the state, over continents of airspace: everyone needs a bit of sightseeing.
This is a only a beginning list; I could include my sons, my other family members, and even casual acquaintances in the list of people who have taught me something the past two years.
We are all teachers in some way, and we all have something to learn.