Being that I work in education, my life cycles in academic years. This year marks my first as a "professional" in higher education. I predicted that my first year as a real life advisor would yield countless "ah ha" moments and an intake of professional knowledge - while these things are true, what I learned this year came in the most unpredicted ways.
I encouraged my students to reflect on their past year by starting with "This year I learned...." so I figured I better take my own advice.
This year I learned.....
1. Go wherever it is that you need to be in order to do what you love.
2. Doing what you think is right is always in style; admitting when you are wrong is cutting edge.
3. "Separation is a natural part of the friendship cycle but if you miss her, be brave; call her." As we grow as individuals and our networks expand, it becomes challenging to stay in touch but go out a limb and let someone know you are missing them.
4. You probably are not ever going to have enough time so embrace it and carve out time for the things that matter.
5. Don't be too busy.
6. Figure out how to go to that place where the only voice you hear is your own.
7. All of my days can be enhanced with a bubble bath and glass of Cabernet. :)
8. Even on the most difficult day, I am blessed because I don't have just a job. Who I am and what I do are congruent.
9. You do not have to be the best to give your best.
10. Vulnerability gives you strength.
11. It always feels good to go home and it doesn't get any easier to leave.
12. Show up for people; show up for yourself.
13. Write it down or ripe it out. I have kept a journal on and off for years but I took it a different direction this year. I still record my thoughts but I started writing down quotes or cutting out images or pieces of magazine articles that inspired me. It was rejuvenating to have a new way to express where I am in life.
14. Families take all different forms; I have many different families and I wouldn't want it any other way.
15. Have a confidence person. I read this article recently and the author described sharing her latest performance evaluation with a friend. When she noted that she got a great review, her friend responded by saying something like, what else did you expect. We all need someone who believes in us when we don't believe in ourselves or feel threatened by other opinions.
16. A con to loving your job is the extra hours you put in. I found myself in a cycle of feeling guilty for not carving out the "me things" during the week which is unhealthy for me so instead I look at the little things I enjoy as a reward on the weekends. Making the best of the time I do carve out lets me fully appreciate my Saturday morning yoga class or the aromas that fill my apartment while I am curled up with my latest book.
17. I need to turn off technology and its okay not to be accessible 24/7.
18. Let go of the stuff you are not using in your home.
19. I have never had a set in stone life plan and I kind of like it because I am able to follow the next great life adventure wherever it may lead me.
20. There is still a lot to learn.