This post was heading in a totally different direction at 1:00PM Central time this afternoon. I headed out the door to walk the dogs feeling content that my birthday was off to a very pleasant day. It was a partly sunny day–after a number of cranky grey days. My Facebook account was hopping with messages and I was also receiving texts and phone calls from family and friends, wishing me a happy day. An asynchronous day for students and staff, meaning after signing in for attendance, teachers and students generally work independently and I was having fun with my students, receiving plenty of birthday wishes and having great discussions about current events.
When I got back from my walk with the dogs and went back to the office and my 7th period class, one of my students asked what was going on in DC at the Capitol because an auntie in Brazil had called his mom after seeing something on the news. Turns out, craziness was erupting as Congress was completing the January 6th Electoral College vote count.
What an afternoon!
And I thought Nancy Kerrigan being attacked on January 6, 1994 was the most newsworthy event that had taken place on my birthday!
What a day.
But now that things are settling down and it looks like the Electoral College vote count is going to go forward, I want to finish this post! I set a goal of 52 posts in 52 weeks a year ago and I don’t want the rioters to stop me from completing my goal!
So here goes…
As 2019 started, I re-sparked my use of a Three Word Mantra to help guide me through the year. In 2013, thanks to the wonderful role-modeling of Phillipa and her blog The Feisty Blue Gecko, I found the idea of 3 self-chosen words helping to guide my path throughout a given year to be a wonderful lens to look at my life through. Here are my words so far:
- 2013: Agility, Openness & Creativity
- 2014: Nimble, Frugal & Cultivator
- 2015: Seek, Nurture & Reconnect
- 2016 & 2017: Nope.
- 2018: Tried to use the International Baccalaureate’s Learner Profile. Did not work well.
- 2019: Caper, Sponge & Craft
Frankly, I could not have picked a better 3 words for the year that was 2020:
In the spring 2019, Recovery on Water (ROW) brought in a renowned Masters Rowing Coach, ‘Coach K’, Reba Knickerbocker, to speak to the team with a couple of talks about rowing, competition (the ‘C’ word), teamwork and being a female athlete. One of the takeaways from her talk was the idea of rather than trying to balance your life, try to find ‘life harmony’. There are always going to be times when things in our lives are louder and so the idea isn’t to drown those things out, but to find ways to make that a part of our own personal symphony’s music. Practicing harmonization in the midst of a global pandemic was actually an ideal goal and one that I feel I actualized. Virtual teaching, my virtual involvement in ROW, walking the dogs, reconnecting through Zoom, etc. all required me to harmonize.
I also set out to lighten my load. I was still learning how to live with the fatigue of hypothyroidism a year ago and I had to come to the realization that I couldn’t do everything quite the same way I might have in the past. I wanted to embrace making choices that allowed me to live a full life, but also give me time to breathe and recharge. Another perfect goal for 2020! I have lost track of the cleaning projects I tackled during 2020–and completed. Office, closets, work spaces, bedrooms, clothes…and the list goes on. All made me feel lighter. However, that wasn’t the only way I wanted to use the word lighten. I also wanted to be conscious of what I need to illuminate my path–to make my route a little clearer. All of the virtual classes I took and workshops I attended were all moving me in that direction. Not that I have it all figured out, but it did help.
My third word was revitalize. Having to pivot and become a virtual teacher in the midst of a pandemic was the definition of revitalize. There were a number of areas I wanted to hit with this one, but basically, I wanted to reclaim some things that I felt I had lost, dust some areas off, reconnect with old friends, and set some goals. What’s important? What needs some work? All of those things fell under revitalization and I really do think I succeeded in revitalizing a number of areas, like my writing, friendships, and teaching.
The most fun I had, however, was with my lagniappe. Living in New Orleans, I first heard the word lagniappe used. A lagniappe is something given as an extra gift or a bonus, like a baker’s dozen. Last year, on top of my 3 word mantra, my lagniappe was to embrace turning 52 with some goal setting. In particular, I wanted to write 52 blog posts, read 52 books, and connect with 52 friends/family members.
•Between a pre-COVID wedding in February, multiple Zoom reunions with family and friends–especially Peace Corps friends–and my nephew Adam’s summer graduation party COVID style, I think I can safely say that I hit the goal of reconnecting with at least 52 friends & family members.
•I only completed (or read multiple chapters of) 26 books, but I did attend book talks and presentations by at least 10 authors, including education historian Diane Ravitch, rower Asray Cooper, and historian Kellie Carter Jackson, which was cool. I did end up watching more than 75 movies, though, so there is that.
•With this post, I am finishing my goal of 52 blog posts in a year! I wrote 50 posts in Searching for EMWA and another 2 at A Home for the Family Tree. Woo Hoo!!!!!
And now, without further ado, my 3 Words to help guide me along the way in 2021:
Each word resonates for me in different ways. I want to activate on projects and dreams I’ve visualized this past year. I want to reconnect with my Public History degree and begin to curate the different history and genealogy projects I have started. I also want to remind myself daily to do things to recharge myself, so I pace myself and make conscious decisions to be mindful of what I need to keep me energized and feeling good.
And with my 3 words committed to this post, Terry and I headed out to the Bombobar on Randolph Street and had a very decadent birthday treat. Totally yummy and a great way to end a special, yet very unsettling day.