A Year End Reflection

futuredreams
Goal setting, 1994-style.

The end of a year inevitably brings reflections, varying top 10 lists of the year’s best and worst in every category imaginable, pop culture trivia games, and the ritual taking stock in your life followed by setting goals for the new year that beg to be broken by February.

Instead of coming up with some deep end-of-the-year reflection, I thought I’d share a different kind of end-of-the year reflection; one I wrote in the sixth grade. I came across this recently in a box of my things that I’ve haven’t sifted through in over a decade. I found this piece in a composition book that was passed from grade to grade that was meant to be an exemplar of the work we had done that year. Though I was only twelve when I wrote this it resonates for some reason at the close of another year. (Author’s note: the names have been changed to protect the innocent.)

Sixth Grade-The Final Year In Elementary School 

The year has been good to me. I entered sixth grade on August 29th, 1994. It was hot and I sat down in a group with Tara, Andrea, and Ellen. I remember thinking that the room was unfamiliar. I stared at the walls, seeing what was on them.

I had trouble making friends because people had changed. I then began to hang out with Leidy, Rachel, and Anna in about October.

By November, Andrea started to hang out with us. We all did a play in December for a wonderful party (Christmas) our class had. It was the beginning of our wonderful friendships that we have kept this year.

We got first grade buddies who are wonderful. My first grade buddy is Amelia and she is a wonderful little girl. She is kind and very cute. She has character.

Andrea and I had become closer friends throughout the year. Best friends in fact. We’ve had our share of hardships, but we’re still best friends.

Now the year is coming to an end (or close) and there is nothing left to learn. Our teacher keeps on saying that the class will never be together anymore. I used to just not listen to that but now I’m sad. Very sad. I could even cry. I might later, but not now. I say I want to leave Atwater, but the truth is, I don’t want to. I’m finally going to close the doors on Atwater, on my elementary years.

compositionbook
The assignment, which never made sense to me until I became a teacher.

Hello Endorphins, My Old Friends

I used to work out all the time. And compete in races. (And dye my hair blond.)
I used to work out all the time. And compete in races. (And dye my hair blond.)

In keeping with my positive outlook for 2014, I’ve made a concerted effort to work out more. (Read: at all). Last week, I did two kickboxing classes and an aquacycling class. This week, I have big dreams of doing yoga and finding some crazy, cool new cardio class to try out. Though I’ve come up with many excuses, both clever and lame, as to why I can’t get into a good workout routine in the past couple of years, there really is no reason why I shouldn’t be working out at least three times a week. I’m not a lazy person and I used to be an athlete!

College swimming!
College swimming!

Speaking of being an athlete, while home for Christmas, I came across an old college swimming schedule that I had pasted to my dorm room wall (what can I say, I love mementos). In addition to the five two-and-a-half hour evening practices we had, there were three mandatory morning practices at 6am. Missing those AM practices was not an option. In fact, once I slept in just to see what would happen and you better believe my swim coach called me up and yelled into my answering machine until I got out of bed and over to the pool.  You see, I used to be incredibly physically active! Nowadays, it’s hard to imagine what working out 8-9 times a week would feel like.

Getting pumped up to swim at a swim meet in 2005.
Getting pumped up to swim at a swim meet in 2005.

I truly miss the days of swimming all the time and it wasn’t until I got back into the gym the other day for an old-fashioned ass-whooping (thanks Anne and Melissa), that I realize what I truly miss and crave is the release of endorphins. I love that natural high that comes when you push your body to its limits and then out of nowhere, you find the strength for just a couple more reps or to sprint across that finish line. Thanks, endorphins!

There are so many benefits to working out regularly and I was certainly reminded of that last week. It was the release of those endorphins that put me in an overall better mood despite the ridiculously cold temperatures brought on by the polar vortex.

The moral of the story is work out. There’s no excuse. Quit whining. Get off the couch and get that endorphin high. You’ll be glad you did.

To Making New Year’s Resolutions, Giving Thanks on Thanksgiving, and Spreading the Love on Valentine’s Day!

NYE champagne toastAs I’ve mentioned before, I’ve never been one to make New Year’s resolutions. I firmly believe you can make positive life changes on any old day. If you want to eat healthier, then start with your next meal! If you want to drink less, order a seltzer and cranberry juice the next time you’re out with friends. As the adage goes (and no folks, Gandhi did not say this), be the change you wish to see in the world. Don’t wait until January 1st. It only takes a week or so for a new habit to become a routine. Personally, I prefer to start new routines on Mondays, but that’s just me.

While I don’t make formal resolutions, I do like to make crazy lists. The other day, I found myself writing down a bunch of things I’d like to focus on this new year. I guess you’d call it resolutions. Here’s what I scribbled down in my planner as unpacked from my Christmas vacation:

My "resolutions."
My “resolutions.”
Inside the Guggenheim.
Inside the Guggenheim.

The list has a lot of standard items like work out, clean, read, etc. However, two items really take precedence here as far as I’m concerned: going to the museum and getting off my phone. I live seven avenues from museum row and I’ve haven’t set foot inside the Met since 1990. (In my defense, it was closed the day I ventured over there). I’m so close to so many cultural gems and there’s no excuse to ignore them! Secondly, I need to beat my iPhone to smithereens with a sledgehammer  take some time to unplug from my phone. But, Instagram! Anyone that knows me knows my phone is always within arm’s reach and it’s getting to be a bit ridiculous. Even I’m annoyed. Baby steps!

Facebook status
Haters gonna hate.

I was having a conversation with a friend at work the other day about how many people in our Facebook feeds like to kindly remind us that we shouldn’t wait for New Year’s to make change, for Thanksgiving Day to give thanks, and for Valentine’s Day to express love. He pointed out, if that’s what you need to put a little positivity out there, then so be it! I couldn’t agree more. Just like some people need conversation starters to talk to people who intimidate them, others need the boost of the holidays to give thanks, share their love, and make resolutions.

So instead of hating on New Year’s resolutions, as I may or may not have done in years past, I fully support all of your goals for 2014! Who cares if you made them on January 1st (or in my case December 28th)? Let’s just make some positive changes in 2014 and spread the love!

I’ll see you at the museum.

A New Year Brings New Things

I’ve never been one for making New Year’s Resolutions. I’ve always operated under the notion that if you want to make a change, then make it already. You don’t need to wait for a new year to begin in order to make positive life changes (or any life changes for that matter). In fact, I prefer to make life changes whenever I feel so inclined. If that happens around the time of a new year, then it is only a matter of coincidence.

While I’ve never really made formal New Year’s Resolutions, I have often made lists titled “Things I Must Do.” These lists functioned as big ideas that when completed would contribute to my overall quality of life. Tasks such as “be outside,” “go to new restaurants,” get my driver’s license,” “buy good photography to hang up,” “watch classic ’80s films, “read poetry suggested by my professor,” “buy a Mates of State album” were all examples of things that I felt compelled to do in order to bring myself to the next level of awesomeness -at-life.

Now that it is 2012 and many things still remain on my “Things I Must Do” list, I’ve opted for a slightly different approach at accomplishing these “big idea tasks.” Instead of debating back and forth and spending hours agonizing over  what to do next, I’ve simply picked something I’ve always wanted to do and made that my number one priority. For me, that something is moving to New York City. So instead of talking about taking action, I took action and will be moving there next month.  Though this change coincides a little with the start of a new year, the passing of another year has only signified to me that I don’t want any more time to pass without making a move.

So, here’s to 2012! I hope that before the year’s end, you can accomplish some of your “big idea tasks.” Whenever you feel so inclined, of course.