to resolve or not to resolve?

i have never been a big fan of making new year's resolutions. as long as i can remember. call it rebellion against the conventional or trying to be out-of-the-box or non-conformist or avoiding the trendy thing. possibly all of the above. and it's possible that in the last 3-5 years i hated the idea of making resolutions more than ever because i felt more despondent about my lack of progress in every aspect of life, so the idea of trying to set goals i might actually be accountable to overwhelmed me. luckily, i wore the rebellious-nonconformist-untrendy thing like a badge of honor which cleverly disguised my despondency. so so cunning.

about 3 years ago i wondered if maybe i hit my personal peak as a college student. athletically, intellectually, socially, and professionally i was a bright and shiny star of energy and potential as a 21 year old. aren't we all? it would forever be the measure against which i compared myself. as an adult, in my post-collegiate years, i felt overwhelmingly that i wasted all of that potential. i walked away from my dream of teaching in the inner-city because i was afraid to go out and pursue that dream alone. what kind of person does not fear danger but fears being alone? i've never been afraid of the conventionally terrifying things. but i was afraid to go after my dream. and that made me feel like a disastrous failure for years. i allowed my teaching certificate to expire, which felt like a stab in my heart after all of the hard work i put into earning that license. i gradually became squidgier and softer and less of a bad ass athlete, but no less competitive, which only made the pain of losing my athleticism more acute. my identity as "one of the guys", sporty-mendy, runner-girl was in jeopardy and i was floundering without my sense of self. i put more and more distance between myself and other people to shield myself from embarrassment, judgment, and the overwhelming compulsion to compare myself to others that seemed to be getting "it" right. damn the 21 year old mendy. she was making my life a misery, the memory of her.

i am fortuitous, however, to have a scrappy personality that is able to bend without breaking. i may not be a resolution-setter but i know how to put one foot in front of the other and walk uphill into a strong wind. the first "step" was getting my teaching license reinstated, second "step" masters program in special education, third "step" applying in KCK, fourth accepting the EBD teaching position at Washington High, fifth, 6th, 7th... opening myself up to dreaming again, to loving my students, to finding my "home" at Washington, learning from and befriending coworkers, leaning into the good things, completing my masters, and giving a damn about being better at my job everyday that i'm there. amazing what momentum that created for me.

next big step has been my journey this past year, reclaiming my sporty self. starting to run again and rediscovering that i'm actually pretty good at it! doing my first half marathon in almost 4 years and not allowing my progress to fizzle into smoldering embers the weeks after the race. getting stronger, faster, slimmer, more confident, less anxious about EVERYTHING.

so, no, i usually don't make new year's resolutions. i just try to make forward progress, however small the step. i'm generally pretty good at setting goals for myself throughout the year, short-term and long-term goals, professional goals, personal goals, goals for reading, goals for cooking goals for dressing better for work, goals for making it to that next block on a run, goals for running 5 miles, 6 miles, 8 miles without stopping, goals to not look at the clock when running on the treadmill or not look at the clock when at work, goals for positive interactions with students, redefining my goals when i've failed, reevaluating the appropriateness of the goal... i make a lot of goals. so if you must know, i resolve to continue with the same progress that i've been on for the past year. i resolve to reinstate my 2o-minutes-a-day-of-cleaning plan now that my house has been massively cleaned from top to bottom during this break. i resolve to keep running because of that guy i saw in the gym that could barely walk but he was there and he was trying! i resolve to keep returning to the path after i've strayed from it (henri nouwen-ism). so happy new year.

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