At the beginning of the year, I christened 2018 The Adventurous Year.
I didn’t exactly know what that meant at the time, but I knew it would be good.
There were a couple major wins in 2018, mainly moving out of a challenging and uncomfortable living situation to a place I actually
like love, and getting a full-time job in line with my career goals. I also went above and beyond my reading goals for this year. After multiple years in a row of lackluster reading, I vowed to read 30 books in 2018. When I realized that I would complete this goal by mid-summer, I increased my goal to 45 books.
While the trip my German friend and I were talking about going on to South Africa fell through early on in the year (when I woke up from my day dreaming slumber and actually looked at my bank account to realize how NOT FEASIBLE THAT WAS on a substitute teacher who isn’t called in everyday’s pay grade), I was able to plan a trip closer to home with her. I finally got to see New York City, a place I’d been wanting to go to for years, and I also got to show her around my adopted city.
My parents visited DC a couple of times this year and my brother was in town for multiple weeks near the beginning of the year for work–we were able to spend some time together, and he took me out to dinner for my birthday. Aside from my German friend spending a week with me in DC, I also got to host one of my closest high school friends for a few nights this summer.
I went to Minnesota twice, once for a good friend’s wedding and also for Thanksgiving. Both times, I enjoyed seeing friends and family. Plus, the wedding’s June date meant I got to experience Minnesota’s short-lived, glorious summer weather for the first time since I moved to DC, having only visited during the frigid holiday season in the last couple of years. I’m excited to close 2018 out and start 2019 in Europe, when my parents and I go to visit my brother, who is living there, for the holidays.
As was my hope, there was a good amount of physical adventure in 2018. Yet, some of the best adventures have been smaller, more internal and within my immediate surroundings. I’m known for having incredibly high expectations for myself and others, and I’ve been trying to become more open, lenient, and forgiving in this respect. Specifically, I’ve learned that my high expectation make living with people difficult regardless of who they are, and that I can’t let those high expectations get in the way of fostering healthy roommate relationships. Even though I really like my current roommates overall, damn they have some annoying habits. Learning to pick and choose which habits I call them out on has been really good for me. Learning to ask, “is this impacting my quality of life in this living space or is it harmless annoyance I can overlook?” has put a lot into perspective. I’ve also developed firmer boundaries regarding what I truly don’t find tolerable–when you learn to not sweat the small stuff, focusing on things that actually aren’t okay becomes easier. This has not only been valuable in a number of situations in my personal life, but it has also positively influenced my classroom discipline techniques.
This year, I’ve also found myself becoming more and more interested in sustainable, lower waste living, an adventure in itself. I’ve been feeling more and more of a pull to make conscious, sustainable, and ethical choices in all walks of life. I’ve been investing money in household products that are better for the environment, and I’ve become more concerned about product chains. I’m interested in lowering my physical waste and energy usage, as well as giving money to companies that support ethical supply chains. I recently started taking my food waste to a nearby farmer’s market, where a compost tent is set up, and I’ve been bringing mason jars to the grocery store to buy dry goods in bulk (major thanks to Sustainably Vegan on YouTube for this pro sustainability tip). This journey into more sustainable living is a relatively new adventure largely tied to my interest in living a minimalistic lifestyle and being freaked out about climate change, and I’m slowly dipping my feed into its waters with excitement. Knowing I’m making decisions that are better for the world fills me with joy.
I’m also APPLYING TO GRAD SCHOOL. More on that later. I’m so ready to get my Masters of Education, though.
In my 2017 recap, I wrote:
In 2018, I want to have a healthy dose of adventure. I want to challenge myself in new ways, and I want to push myself in my teaching career. 2017 has been a year of massive internal change and, in 2018, I want to bring that change–slowly, quietly–into the world.
As I reflect on 2018, I feel with a sense of pride that I’ve accomplished those goals. Did 2018 pan out how I thought it would? Of course not, but life rarely does. Yet, I feel so much better off for all that I’ve experienced this year. I have brought the internal experiences of 2017 out into the world, and it feels incredible to have done that successfully.
So what’s next in 2019? With grad school on my mind, I want 2019 to be educational. Hopefully in the classroom, but also out in the world. I want to continue developing mindfulness habits, in how I live and how I consume. I want to focus on learning and experiencing as much as I can. I want to continue to honor the introvert in me, while also pushing myself to learn and grow as an educator. I want to spend time with people who lift me up, and I want to focus on fostering the relationships I have while also nurturing new relationships that come my way.
Cheers to the adventurous year. It has paved the way for so much to come, and for that I am grateful. 🙏