The Best Version of Ourselves

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This year I have read a plethora of reasons NOT to participate in the tradition of New Year’s resolutions:  “If you can’t love yourself at 185 lbs., you can’t love yourself at 150 lbs.”  “Embrace who you are.”  “Be gentle with yourself.”  I am a believer in self care and proactive, positive change but these loud and prolific proclamations evoke the images of Mr. Scrooge and his “Humbug” response to considering the notion of goodwill toward all people during the Christmas season.

Part of family tradition with my mother included annual New Year’s Resolutions.  The pens and erasers and note paper from stockings were put to good use.  My mother, my older sister and later my sister-cousin, would compile lists of things that we were going to do in the following year.  It was a time of dreaming big and thinking through all of the possibilities.  I did learn to ski, snowboard, water ski, drive, finish a 10 km run, do a mini-triathalon, finish my MA, take the kids to the park rather than clean the house, entertain, travel and rotate between personal and professional reads.

Yes, I have also been a chronic breaker of New Year’s resolutions.  My eating habits slip and so does my exercise regime.  My love affair with diet coke re-ignites.  I don’t sleep enough and work too late.  I don’t invest enough time into human rights work.  I don’t do all of the wild and wonderful things I had planned for the new year.  But the possibility remains that I will and if I do, I will be proud of my accomplishment.

I still heartily believe that I can be a better version of myself. And so I am in the process of making both personal and professional goals for the upcoming year.  This will be the year I unfriend diet coke, eat less junk, take more stairs, stretch before I exercise, get enough sleep and maximize engagement in relationships and in online possibilities.  And yes, I believe I can do it.  At least some of it.  Hope still burns!  And in my wake of enthusiasm, I will encourage my relatives, friends, colleagues and students to join me in the pursuit of being the very best version of ourselves.  Good luck with your New Year’s resolve and accomplishments big or small along the way! Continue reading “The Best Version of Ourselves”

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What Matters Most?

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Santa chose a winner with the book selection for my stocking this year,   Fifteen Dogs by Andre Alexis.  This  Giller prize winner is a quick, enjoyable read with prompts pondering of the big questions of life.  Apollo and Hermes make a bet that given human intelligence, any animal would be even more unhappy than humans at death.  Fifteen dogs in a Toronto veterinary clinic are gifted or cursed, depending on your perspective, with human consciousness.

The responses to the change in their lives brings reactions in the dogs that we are all quite familiar with…

fear of change, clinging to a notion of “old ways” that results in an adherence to a bastardized version of the past, embracing change, efforts to adapt, a quest to communicate, formation of alliances, fear of differences, plotting, selfishness, brutality, subjugation, revenge, jealousy, love, betrayal, loyalty, hope, loss…

In the lead up to the season of New Year’s Resolutions, it begs the question, what matters most?  How do we lead life in a way that maintains the integrity of our core beliefs?  Just a few more days to figure that out.

 

To New Year Resolution or Not to…

Everywhere you go these days, the shift has happened from Merry Christmas to the focus on New Year plans and best wishes. 2015 is nearly upon us and I will not be going to bed early. I am a grand believer in celebrating each new year. I’m also a grand believer in the New Year’s Resolution. Current wisdom dismisses this exercise as a futile waste of time. I disagree.

In my quest to get organized for the new year, I have been emptying inboxes and wading through my accumulation of paper. I came across New Years resolutions written by my Mom. I recently saw WILD (a must see movie with Reese Witherspoon) and have been reflecting on the nature of the mother-daughter relationship. What my Mom gave me was a “cup half full” view of life. Yes, every year, she wrote the same resolutions. Yes, she believed in the promise of new beginnings and the hope that things could in fact change for the better. So she signed up for yoga and french classes and did her leg lifts and joined the quest to be more and do more. Perhaps this is why she could whether the storms tossed in her direction and they were many. She wasn’t able to be optimistic because life was easy. She stayed optimistic because she was interested in life going on around her. She delighted in the birds at her window, driving with the top down, a good cup of tea, the chat, and being with her family.

When I reflect back on the year, I could bemoan the shingles, the strike stress, the hot water leak, the not being all things to all people and the dishwasher out of commission for Christmas dinner. However, in the big scheme of things, the good far outweighed the bad and I’m excited to get to my partying and resolutions. I have been told I’m naive. I prefer the label of “a diehard optimist”.

The book study group with colleagues: Guiding Readers. making the Most of the 18- minute Guided Reading Lesson (Lori Rog Jamison 2012) holds promise for my Gr. 3/4 ELL to get more time on text at their level. The iPad pilot is opening up new possibilities with use of Book Creator and Showbie and who knows what next. Professional involvement in Phi Delta Kappa and the International Reading Association holds promise of good conversation. And yes, I will exercise more, get better at skiing and boarding, try Vinyassa Power Flow, eat better, cook delectable meals and stop drinking diet coke. The possibilities are endless…

Happy New Year! Don’t forget the resolutions 🙂