When New Year’s Eve rolls around, most people are focused on the year to come. They make resolutions for what they’re going to do better, wishes for the dreams they hope to see come true before another 365 days come and go and leave behind nothing but memories. I have resolutions, like anyone, but I also have reflections. Things the past year has taught me and left with me. Little tattoos and scars of the year past.
I won’t make resolutions I probably won’t keep. I won’t even say I’ll blog more – my track record says I probably won’t. But I wanted to write this so I don’t forget to keep the year, and its lessons, in perspective as I gear up for a new one….
I’ve tasted what the real joy of experiencing success in a career feels like. When I chose to pursue a Master’s in Teaching and quit my job as a marketing director, I didn’t really know what to expect. I had a lot fear – Would I like teaching? Would I even be any good at it? As December began, and I said goodbye to my students and friends at a little middle school in Illinois, all my fears were put to rest. I loved teaching. I loved my students. And that taste of success? Well, all I can say is that when 120 twelve to thirteen year olds throw you a party and cry over your departure, write to you how you have impacted their lives in meaningful, positive way and made them feel special and cared about – I can’t really imagine any other career in the world has that kind of benefit package.
I’ve also known all to well how it feels to experience failure and defeat. There aren’t words to describe how awful and helpless it feels to have a nurse call and “accuse” you of not doing enough to save the life of your unborn child. I’m sure that was never that nurse’s intention in the slightest, but when you’ve walked through a year and half of infertility and useless, expensive treatments that left you with nothing to show but two very early miscarriages and one very large medical bill, it really does feel that way.
I’ve walked through the Valley of the Shadow, and I’ve come out on the other side. I’ve laid down in green pastures, and enjoyed them. I have shaken my fist at the heavens and told God exactly how unfair I feel He is, and then run back into His arms moments (sometimes days) later only to realize how wonderfully blessed I really am.
Thankfully, I’ve always had a companion beside me though each and every step of the trip this year. We’ll be going on only three years of marriage, but already I really can’t imagine my life without my husband. He’s my best friend, and he always has my back. I can’t fathom a better partner to go through life’s crazy journey with hand-in-hand. With him, my wonderful family and some really loyal, great friends, I made it.
2011 – you weren’t easy, but you were good. I learned from you. I grew. I gained confidence, and tested my faith’s endurance (turns out, it’s stronger than I might have originally guessed). As 2011 ends, that’s all I really wish for 2012. I don’t expect it to be easy. Life rarely is. But, I do plan to make it good, and I intend to learn from whatever comes next. When joy rolls around, I plan to revel in it and love every second for all its worth. When sadness or heartbreak crashes the party, I refuse to live in its shadow longer than I have to.
Here’s to 2012!