What is the best part of life? The ability to learn, day by day, about people, places and things. Our minds are incredible, and allow us to be lifelong learners. That is what we strive to teach our students at Stevenson University — that the element of curiosity should always stay with you, and that you should remain intrigued and interested in the world around you.
We all learn things every day, from the smallest of things to grand-scheme lessons on life.
As such, here are five things I took away from 2013. Some are good, some not so good, but in each case, they helped me grow as a person and in understanding. If you feel compelled enough to share a few of the lessons you’ve learned, please feel free to post them in the comments area.
As always, thank you for being a part of my online world, and I look forward to “seeing you” in 2014.
You have to make time for yourself and what you love to do. If it’s my husband, he needs that time to exercise—run, bike, swim—whatever it is; he needs time for physical fitness. As for me, I need time to write. It offers me a sense of accomplishment, and I enjoy the journey and creative process. What is it you need to make time for this year? Whatever it is, here’s a tip: Schedule it into your calendar, as if it is a part of your routine. When something becomes routine, you do it more often, and you feel badly when you don’t make time for it.
This one’s huge. Adding laughter to your day is imperative. It keeps you happy and youthful. Laugh with your spouse, your mother, your father, your grandparents, your kids, your friends, your colleagues, your students. There is enough seriousness on this Earth–we need some time to lighten up and find things funny. We work hard in this country with little time off, so it’s important that we make the most of our working days and our off days. Put a little sunshine–and laughter–into them.
The year 2013 marked the year that our family made the plunge: we moved. And although we only moved 20 minutes away, it was a move nonetheless. The kids had to change schools, my husband and I had different (and longer) commutes to work, and we moved into a neighborhood where we knew no one. We had been looking to move for years, and when we found our neighborhood, we just knew it was the right one for us—and for the kids. I think when you know in your heart something is right, you do it, so you don’t have to stare down that frightful word called REGRET. We couldn’t be happier in our new place, we are excited to spend many years here, and we love our new friends we are all making. And though it required us to step out of a comfort zone we’d been in for 14 years, it was the best thing we did, on so many levels.
The wisdom of Mother Teresa! This was probably the most noteworthy lesson I learned this year, even as a 40-something wife and mother of two. I learned to be thankful for the people who are in my life—and want to be in my life—and who care about me and my family. (For example, when we moved, my dearest family and friends wished me well, hugged me goodbye, sent cards, came to visit, brought housewarming gifts and dinner, and called me to check up on me.) Simultaneously, I also learned not to dwell on and to let go of supposed “close friends” who did not do the same, and who only brought clouds to my otherwise sunny days. As disappointment is wont to do, I have come through it just fine—as anyone would—for the better, because as Mother Teresa said, there are those people who are lessons. They come in for a reason, you grow and are better for it, and as well, you find the strength to let them go because it was a lesson. From that, you are, by virtue of experience, wiser.
The point is, it’s those who are blessings that matter, and Mother Teresa said it both succinctly and well.
I have only the utmost admiration for this woman. JK Rowling won me over with her speech to Harvard graduates several years ago. Her wit and humility make her someone to look up to, on so many levels. As a writer and successful woman, she exudes a spirit of triumph. Additionally, I can only admire her determination to prove she can craft other works besides “Harry Potter;” however, I know she can write. I know she is a great storyteller. She need not prove anything to me.
But what she teaches us, and what I had to find out for myself over the last few years, is that she’s right. We all do have our own special magic inside of us.
And likewise, it’s important to put that magic to good use.
I found that particular brand of magic when I taught my very first class as a 27-year-old working professional. The feeling I got when I was in the classroom was unlike any feeling I’d had professionally. And though it took me many years to turn that passion into a full-time job, the magic was alive and well within me. In fact, teaching gives me such joy that it is difficult to put it into words. For me, the magical part comes as I strive to share my enthusiasm with others. My friend and colleague, Leeanne, said it best: “I would teach even if you didn’t pay me; however, what you do have to pay me for is grading the papers.”
Funny, but so true.
Here’s to 2014, readers. I hope you all find that special magic inside of you, and to those of you who have already found it, continue to use it.
Happy New Year.