Happy Sunday Educators! I’m hoping you are looking forward to the short week and planning for your personal version of relaxation and reflection. This week I received the sad news of the passing of a college classmate of mine. She was in her early 40s. I didn’t know her well but recalled that she always had a beautiful smile on her face and a kindness about her that was memorable. She, like I and most others her age spend very little time thinking about our passing and are typically pretty certain that time is most likely on our side with many more years on the horizon.
The day I heard of her passing, I was celebrating my own birthday and usually I typically take time to identify the areas I still want to develop; what issues I want to throw my effort behind; what difference I still need to make as a parent, a sister, friend, etc. This year, I chose to do something different. Instead of listing out everything that still required my attention, I took time to review my recent year and list out all of the points of celebration I could find. The mini accomplishments such as trying something new, along with the major ones like choosing to forgive and let go rather than seek the revenge which would have felt amazingly sweet for a time. At first it was hard to come up with a few but after a bit, I found myself with a list of about 15. I sat back and felt immense gratitude, pride, and joy for my life, my efforts, my push, my gifts, etc. I know I have so much more to reach for in the upcoming year but in that moment, what mattered most was the acknowledgement of how much had already taken place.
What mattered most was the acknowledgement of how much had already taken place.
There is value in driving hard, leaning into the discomfort, stepping outside of one’s comfort zone…I know. When, however, do we take a step back; survey the progress; and apply a bit of grace when we believe we’ve fallen short of where we intended to land? When do we celebrate just how far we’ve come in just one or five short years? For me, the answer was…rarely to never. Maybe I’ve been thinking that there really is no reason to celebrate…yet or when I accomplish this huge feat, then I’ll acknowledge my efforts. In the meantime, I’ll just keep my head down and work. Sounds great but keeping my head down requires that I forego taking in life happening around me. It passes off the importance of taking the time to recognize the significance of who I am now and what I am already bringing to the table. It fails to recognize how fleeting life can be and that the time to recognize is now.
When was the last time you celebrated you without adding caveats of what would have made things better?
How often do you find yourself doing the same thing? When was the last time you celebrated you without adding caveats of what would have made things better? Don’t get me wrong…I am all about excellence and perfectionism is a disease I’ll not likely be cured of any time soon. I know, however, that there is enough challenge in life and critics lined up that I feel the need to admonish that if no one else is in your corner, you should at least be there. Let’s not wait for others to celebrate us, point us out, speak truth to our hearts about who we are…let’s do it for ourselves. Let’s find the words of encouragement that our hearts and minds need and fill our own tanks with love, kindness, and acceptance.
As we head into a week of gratitude and time away from the norm, try starting from within and celebrating the light you bring to every space you are a part of. I am certain it will serve you well. I appreciate you and the mind space you give this blog and I'll start you off by sending love and gratitude in your direction.
In Solidarity and Love,