Monday, January 7, 2019


I’m excited to be taking time to reflect and focus on my #oneword2019. In the past, it has been difficult for me to settle and focus on picking just one word that I plan to focus my year around. In fact, last year (2018), I didn’t even compose a post because I truly don’t think I had the time to sit and devote my attention to the process. That was a mistake. Self-care and self-reflection are vital- and while I’d like to think that I did have a word, not taking the time to write and process it was doing myself a disservice. That’s why I made the writing of this post a priority for 2019. I began thinking about my word choice at the end of 2018 and spent some time rolling it around in my mind for the first week of 2019. The process of picking a word occupied my thoughts in the car, cooking dinner, and even when trying to fall asleep. Ultimately, I picked a word that I could use to guide my year- both in my professional and personal life. This word is going to cause some happiness, some pain, some discomfort, and some frustration- but in the end, I keep coming back to it as the perfect word for me. My #oneword2019 is lose.

If you’re thinking this is a strange choice for a word and a year focused on self-reflection and self-growth- you’re not necessarily wrong. But here’s the way I look at it. When I focus on what I need to (because of what I have to) lose, the things I have to gain will be illuminated.

I’m big on lists- I’m the kind of person who makes a to-do list for everything. Sometimes, I make the actual list after I’ve accomplished something on my mental list. In that case, I write it down JUST so I can cross it off. Control freak? Maybe. Enjoy seeing things accomplished? Definitely. So, for my #oneword2019 journey, I’m going to make a list to keep myself on track and to serve as a reminder of all the things I hope to lose this year.

Things to lose in 2019:
1.      Lose the idea of doing things “right”
2.   Lose stress
Other things to lose but that don’t need a lengthy explanation:
3.  Lose negativity (and negative influences)
4. Lose (a little bit!) of control
5.  Lose myself (Thanks, Eminem....but mostly I mean to get lost in the world (travel) and maybe actually lose some of me (weight!), lol!
6.  Lose money (give myself permission to spend $$ on the things that make me (and my family) happy!
7.   Lose the frustration with the word lose after looking at  it so many times and thinking it just has to be wrong

I’m only going to focus on explaining a couple of these- in the interest of not writing a novel today- so let’s start with #1. This is probably my biggest determining factor for choosing the word lose. Lately, I’ve been stuck in a rut and feeling pretty down/frustrated/helpless with things like parenting, teaching, etc. After some (okay, LOTS) of reflection, I’ve come to realize that I’m feeling subpar on these things because I’m comparing myself to an invisible bar of “right”. I’m holding myself to this standard that, in reality, doesn’t apply to me. I need to lose the idea of tying my self-worth to something other than my own life and choices. Luckily, from a personal standpoint, I have someone to help with this. My husband is amazing and when it comes to parenting, he’s 100% my partner and supporter. I need to let go of how things are supposed to be and start realizing that our life is just that- ours. We don’t need our kids to be like everyone else’s kids. We just need them to be OURS. Same thing with teaching. The education world is inundated with best practices that you should be doing in your classroom. And I enjoy reading these things, I really do. However, what if the best practice for my classroom is doing what I think is best for my students? Of course, I will still read and learn and absorb all of the education tidbits in the world- but at the end of the day- what happens in other classrooms versus what does or doesn’t happen in mine isn’t right or wrong. I’m not doing anything wrong when I set out to do what is best for my students. With that as my guiding principle, I can focus on losing the idea of simply doing something “right” and instead focus on doing what IS right.

Next, I need to lose some stress. I’m not sure that the stress I’m feeling is unique- in fact- I think everyone with a full-time job, a spouse, in the last semester of a second round of grad school, and two kids feels stress. So, I’m not saying I want the stress to go away entirely, I just want to lose some of it that I absolutely do not need. I want those things I listed to cause me joy- not stress. For example, I want to focus on the parts of my job that I love- and less on the parts that make me crazy. Today was the first day back after a 2-week winter break. I truly and honestly missed my students. All of them. I missed their smiles, their shy grins, their energy, and even their attitudes. I mean, I do teach middle school, after all! However, stress tries to butt in and get in between me and those warm fuzzy feelings. I start worrying about time and, quite frankly, things in education that have nothing to do with the education of actual students. Therefore, I need to let go of the grip those things have on me and lose those worries. If I can stay focused on what really matters in my job, I can gain a lot more happiness and in that sense, everyone will benefit. In terms of the other things listed (the spouse, grad school, kids), I think if I focus on being less stressed in those aspects of my life, it will declutter my world and allow some of the gratitude to sink in. Sometimes, focusing on stress has been blocking my ability to be grateful for every wonderful thing in my life. Now, I’m sure I’m making it sound worse than it is- but the fact that I can say this at all means I have some readjusting to do. I am a lucky human. I live an amazing life with amazing people. I get to do a job I love every day and come home to people I love every night. I shouldn’t be letting stress win. I should be counting every lucky star out there that I get to lead a life that so many others are deprived of. Yes, definitely lose the grip of stress and gain the ability to appreciate and enjoy.

After writing this post, I remember why I loved doing this so much back in 2017. There’s something really genuine about sitting down and reflecting on yourself and your needs. Here’s to a great year in 2019 and all the things I hope to lose!