Year-end thoughts: Personal

img_20161225_101011407There are five days to go in the year, but now has always been a time to reflect.  I start thinking about resolutions, about what went well this past year, and what didn’t.  I love both the official New Year, and the new school year, for allowing me the opportunity to refresh and renew commitments to myself, my family, my community.  I can’t remember a time when I didn’t pause at this time of year and promise to do something better.  Here are some thoughts on things that impacted me personally.

My foot. This time last year, I was recovering from surgery.  I was confined to the couch.  My family did all the Christmas tasks: shopping, cooking, decorating.  This year, I was mobile, able to shop, cook, and decorate, and so I did, and I was never more grateful.  My foot is still not 100%.  It still hurts.  It’s still not as flexible as it was.  I give it another six months, with a little more effort on my part, and I think it will be mostly normal.  I’ve never thought of myself as particularly active. I’ve never been a big runner or a gym rat, but injuring my foot made me realize that I’m more active than I thought, even if most of that activity is bound up in daily activity like housecleaning.  Not having full functionality in my foot affected how I thought about myself.  It sometimes affected my ability to participate in even the most basic activities simply because it was too difficult for me to get around.  I wasn’t just physically not at 100%, mentally, I wasn’t either, both from feeling down about what had happened to me, and from having to devote so much energy just to the basics.  While I sometimes get frustrated that I’m not 100%, I know how far I’ve come, how much worse it could be.  I take the discomfort in stride and hope for the best outcome.

My work. Also this time last year, it had been announced who our new head of school would be.  While it would be six months before she’d officially come on board, most of us at the admin level spent time meeting with her as planning for the next year was already underway.  Last year was a transition year, not just for the school as the community began to say goodbye to our outgoing head of schoo and begin to think l, but also for me as I continued to figure out what my role was and how to fill it. This year, the past six months with our new head of school, I’ve continued to shape the role and really feel like I mostly know what I’m doing.  No day is ever the same.  The challenges I face are difficult and the decisions I make are never black and white.  I liken myself to a chief of staff or key advisor. I’m mostly behind the scenes, laying groundwork, and getting things done that support the initiatives laid out by the head of school.   I’ve made some mistakes over the last year and I’ve questioned some of the things I’ve done, thinking about how I could have handled things differently, but all in all, I’ve felt satisfied with the work I’ve done. And I’m surrounded by a good team of people that I’ve spent the last nine months really getting to know, and increasingly relying on for advice and counsel.  And that’s been probably the best part of my work over the last year, just learning from the people I work with, and appreciating their strengths and what they have to teach me.  They make coming to work every day easier.

Health and productivity. The foot issue obviously impacted my health. It continues to.  But one thing I look forward to in the new year is a renewed commitment to health.  My whole family has talked about wanting to eat healthier.   The excesses of the holidays made us all think about this commitment even more.  On the productivity front, I’m thinking mainly here of house and personal things (at work, I have no problem being productive).  I actually did some good things around the house over the last week-ish of vacation.  I wanted a clean slate so that we could celebrate unencumbered by clutter.  I accomplished that.  From Friday until yesterday, though, I pretty much slothed around (a typical pattern for me: work, work, work, recover for 48-72 hours).  I think I need that down time.  I just need to find ways to work more productivity around the house and personal goals in so that the down time isn’t keeping me from important things and that I can really enjoy it.  This seemed to be the case this last time, which is good.  My family and I have talked about raising the bar on the state of the house.  We all agree we could do better.  I also would like to raise the bar on my own leisure activities.  There’s nothing wrong with binge-watching a good series or spending some time playing a video game, but I feel as though I could expand my horizons a bit.  I liked my 30-day reading challenge.  I enjoy reading, and I made it through a couple of books plus started a third during that challenge.  And I’d like to potentially tackle some other leisure activities. I’d like to blog more here, for example, but it always seems to get squeezed out for other things.

Next in my thoughts, my family.

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