Year in Review

In Mindful Life by Jenn0 Comments

A friend posted a link to this list of year in review questions on Facebook, and I love these things so of course I stole it.

  • What one event, big or small, are you going to tell your grandchildren about? Probably our wedding day, but if they get bored of my yakking I’ll throw in that a month before getting married I voluntarily jumped out of an airplane.
  • If you had to describe your 2015 in 3 words, what would they be? Pleasantly surprised. Refrigerator. (I needed a third word.)
  • What new things did you discover about yourself? That I can survive outside my physical, mental, and emotional comfort zones better than I ever imagined, whether that’s hiking around the Grand Canyon (not the whole thing) while 4.5 months pregnant, not verbally disemboweling the student who asks how they can raise their grade on the last day of the quarter, or just accepting the slings and arrows of outrageous fortune with a bit less fuss than before.
  • What single achievement are you most proud of? Honestly, not quitting my job in October. I was exhausted from growing a placenta, sick all the time and not able to take any cold medicine, and having to walk literally a quarter-mile to use the restroom every two hours.
  • What was the best news you received? If we’re judging based on the joyfulness of my reaction, it would not be the positive pregnancy test, I’m afraid to say. (Though in the grand scheme of things that probably was the actual best news.) The most exciting, almost-made-me-cry-in-public news was finding out that I had 4.18 sick days left from a previous job that I could transfer and use for my maternity leave, thereby (most likely) preserving my salary and insurance for the summer. MAKE AMERICA GREAT, FOLKS.
  • What was your favorite place that you visited in 2015? The whole Caribbean honeymoon was pretty great, but my favorite stop was probably snorkeling at Buck Island Reef National Monument in St. Croix. Although I have to say that crawling into the en-suite whirlpool the night of our wedding was also pretty awesome.
  • Which of your personal qualities turned out to be the most helpful this year? Probably what a former employer called my “middle school face/voice,” which is the ability to calmly and patiently repeat facts up to seven times seventy times without emotion in the face of an avalanche of nonsense, which I learned to do while student-teaching 8th grade. This skill served me well in wedding planning, teaching adolescents, and dealing with friends and family in various states of real or imagined crisis.
  • Who was your number one go-to person that you could always rely on? My husband, who provides me with middle school face when I need it.
  • Which new skills did you learn? Skiing, falling out of an airplane (safely), layering clothing for outdoor survival, and I’ve brushed up my sewing skills significantly.
  • What, or who, are you most thankful for? Many things…my dad’s successful surgery and recovery, our wedding and all the friends and family who celebrated with us in person and in spirit, the opportunity and means to travel, a new job that isn’t an hour away, awesome coworkers, lots of support and friendship during my pregnancy, and of course my husband and our baby boy.
  • If someone wrote a book about your life in 2015, what kind of genre would it be? A comedy, love story, drama, film noir or something else? Comedy, because if I can’t laugh at the night terror I had the morning after our wedding, the student who asked me if bats can fly, or the hemorrhoids I’m currently sitting on, I might just lose my mind.
  • What was the most important lesson you learnt in 2015? That many things are worth waiting for, and that more often than not, the wait itself is a good thing, not just something to endure.
  • Which mental block(s) did you overcome? About two months into my pregnancy, I had to accept that things were just not going to be easy/easier this school year the way I’d expected. I think once I stopped fighting that reality, I was able to let go of the “I didn’t ask for this,” mindset and just focus on surviving. Which I also had to accept as a new reality because I’m not used to “just getting by.”
  • What 5 people did you most enjoy spending time with? Ugh, I’m the worst at these. My husband, my family, my friends. Don’t make me be more specific!
  • What was your biggest break-through moment career-wise? Oh boy. I need to digest this question a bit, and probably not in a public forum. Let me just say that looking forward to having a baby has really changed my perspective on my job.
  • How did your relationship to your family evolve? I think that my parents have finally come to see me as a “grown-up,” though that hasn’t stopped them from loading us down with food every time we see them  especially now that I’m pregnant. 
  • What book or movie affected your life in a profound way? Um…I guess Star Wars: The Force Awakens…? 
  • What was your favourite compliment that you received this year? I asked students to write a short reflection on first quarter and one kid said that he enjoyed my sense of humor.
  • What little things did you most enjoy during your day-to-day life? SLEEP. ALL THE SLEEP. ALL THE TIME.
  • What cool things did you create this year? My wedding bouquet and veil, various and sundry flannel items for the baby, lots of pizzas. Oh yeah, and the baby.
  • What was your most common mental state this year (e.g. excited, curious, stressed)? The answer for the first 2/3s of the year would be excited. The answer for the second 1/3 would be tired.
  • Was there anything you did for the very first time in your life this year? Skydiving, going on a cruise, riding an ATV, getting married, being pregnant.
  • What was your favorite moment spent with your friends? Probably getting ready for my wedding. My bridesmaids had slept over the night before so we had a middle school sleepover remix A friend and some of my former students did hair and makeup for my and my bridesmaids, a friend officiated our wedding so she was there for the pre-game too. All in all, lots of women, laughing, beauty products, and ’00s pop music.
  • What major goal did you lay the foundations for? Becoming a family. 
  • Which worries turned out to be completely unnecessary? Just about any and all of the wedding details, or maybe I’ve just blocked most of them out.
  • What experience would you love to do all over again? I wouldn’t say no to another Caribbean cruise right now.
  • What was the best gift you received? The honeymoon cruise was a wedding gift from Science Guy’s mom and that was pretty great.
  • How did your overall outlook on life evolve? I’ve learned to stress (a little less) over the many things in life that just cannot be rushed. 
  • What was the biggest problem you solved? How to juggle 150 students without losing my marbles. Maybe “solved” is a generous word for it but that’s what I’m going with.
  • What was the funniest moment of your year, one that still makes it hard not to burst out laughing when you think about it? I laugh too much and too often (but only at myself, claims Science Guy) to effectively answer this question. The most salient instance I can think of was looking at the goofy animal names that went around Facebook in September. I laughed so hard at Trash Panda that I cried and Science Guy thought I was insane.
  • What purchase turned out to be the best decision ever? Uh, our slightly more grown-up looking IKEA couch? I’ve actually spent a good part of the year systematically selling off redundant items.
  • What one thing would you do differently and why? I would have ponied up for another hour or so at our wedding reception (and urged our photographer to move along through the pre-wedding portraits) because I felt like we barely had a chance to talk to anyone. 
  • What do you deserve a pat on the back for? Not quitting anything important…geez, I sound like my students.
  • What activities made you lose track of time? Sewing baby things, and shopping on Facebook buy-sell-trade groups for baby stuff.
  • What did you think about more than anything else? “Can I actually be responsible for the care and feeding of a tiny human?” and “What are we going to do about my job next year?”
  • What topics did you most enjoy learning about? Baby development and sewing.
  • What new habits did you cultivate? Flossing…sort of.
  • What advice would you give your early-2015 self if you could? You can do this.
  • Did any parts of your self or your life do a complete 180 this year? Not that I can think of. I turn like the Titanic, it takes several years if I don’t hit an iceberg first.
  • What or who had the biggest positive impact on your life this year? Besides Science Guy, I’d say my students from last school year. They gave me the confidence to teach again.
  • What do you want the overarching theme for your 2016 to be? Community. Though I’ve spent a lot less time with non-husband non-student people in the last five months, it’s been gratifying to reach out to like-minded and like-hearted mommies and teachers through the magic of the Interwebs. Ideally I’d like to translate that back into face-to-face time in 2016.
  • What do you want to see, discover, explore? I’m excited to see everything from baby’s perspective, where everything is new.
  • Who do you want to spend more time with in 2016? My friends and community both near and far, especially if this is our last year in town. First trimester pregnancy and first quarter at a new school kind of made me a hermit.
  • What skills do you want to learn, improve or master? Let’s stick with parenting. And if there’s any way to turn any of my skills (graphic design, writing, crafting) into a work-from-home arrangement, that would be great too.
  • Which personal quality do you want to develop or strengthen? Patience, endurance, and foresight. I think I’ve developed a habit of getting overwhelmed by the moment’s struggles and fortunately I’ve learned not to obey that offhand, but I’d like to feel less whelmed to begin with. 
  • What do you want your everyday life to be like? Balanced.
  • Which habits do you want to change, cultivate or get rid of? Well, I need to floss more and put things back when I’m done using them. (I realize these may be unrealistic goals when baby enters the picture.) I also want to restart some mindfulness practices like yoga, journaling and creativing–it’s a word now, okay?
  • What do you want to achieve career-wise? Find a way to do fulfilling work at home so I can help support our family financially and by caring for our baby.
  • How do you want to remember the year 2016 when you look back on it 10/20/50 years from now? In previous conversations about my maternity leave, Science Guy said that the one thing he didn’t want was for us to look around in 10 years and see nice material things (house, car, career) but realize that other people raised our children. It’s pretty much a given that we’ll remember 2016 as the year our first child was born, but given the choice I want to remember seeing him roll over and smile and teeth for the first time, not remember sending him to daycare at three months old. We don’t know what’s going to happen yet, but that’s what I want.
  • What is your number one goal for 2016?  Love husband, self, and community. Birth baby, don’t die. Care for baby, don’t break it. Don’t go bankrupt or insane. The rest is just details.

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