School starts tomorrow, and with it, for me, officially starts the new year. While I left Omaha last week in hopes of getting all kinds of work done, I haven’t done much of anything. Well, there’s nothing like church to speak to our weaknesses. Our bishop talked about goal-setting, and it caused me to reflect on 2007.
2007 was a pretty tough year for me. In December, when I told a friend that I’d be missing yet another funeral, she emailed back, “I guess you are intended to learn something about helping others deal with death this year, huh?”
Thing is, of all the funerals I should have attended in 2007, (8 total), I attended none. I was isolated, out here in Buckeye Nation, unable to give hugs, make dinners, help plan funerals or provide music for them…I felt totally helpless. So I’m not sure I learned anything about helping others deal with death. But my friend’s comment got me thinking: if I didn’t learn about helping others deal, then what exactly was I supposed to learn?
As I considered this question, concurrently considering possible goals for the New Year, it became clear to me what I was supposed to learn. I was supposed to learn how to live.
I think I’ve spent the past nine and a half years, since getting home from my mission, in a holding pattern, waiting for a man to show up and say, “Abra Cadabra: your life starts…..NOW!” Well, I turn 35 this year, and it’s time to grow up and start living the life that I have instead of waiting for the life that I thought I wanted.
Before grad school, I spent six years teaching high school, taking on extra duty assignments that resulted in (sometimes) 70 hour work weeks. School was my life. I was often in my classroom by 6:45 AM and rarely left before 5 PM. And on the days I left before five, I was usually back in the evenings. I would always talk about the things I wanted to do: sing in a community choir, see plays, scrapbook, go to the library, read books that I wanted to read (and maybe have a book club!), teach piano lessons, get to the gym, go out to dinner with friends, and spend more time with my family.
So, while I have five specific goals for the new year, they are united by a theme. This is the year I am going to learn how to better live my life. This is the year that I learn how to say “no,” the year that I learn to give myself permission to set aside my stress for a night or two to scrapbook, the year that I find ways to keep friends close. This is the year that I do more things that I want to do, improve things I want to improve, develop skills or habits that need a little developing.
What was I supposed to learn? Oh, there are hundreds of maxims and cliches that I could employ here. But it comes down to this: it’s time to live.