I tend not to make a New Year’s resolution, in part because, as an educator, my “year” has started in August and ended in June for the past four decades. Thus, January is often more of a midpoint for me than it is a beginning. That said, over the past couple weeks, I have had a little time on my hands for reflection (thank you winter break!), and I’ve decided to change my non-resolution-making ways.
With time comes the ability to reflect
The week before Christmas, my husband and I went on a brief hiking trip, and I did not bring my laptop or any work to do–a huge accomplishment in and of itself because I work way too much on the regular. Side note: I also did not bring my children–one of the wonderful secrets of having older teens is that, at some point, it will be okay to leave them home alone overnight, and you’ll mostly be confident that the pets will get fed, the mail taken in, and the garage door closed at night.
An unexpected gift
My husband and I didn’t know when we arrived at Shenandoah National Park that the area had had an ice storm the night before, nor that the main road through the park would be closed to cars (though this information WAS posted on the park website, and more careful planners could have discovered as much). But we made the best of it. We hiked in on foot and covered nearly 15 miles of beautiful, often icy trails over the course of two, gloriously clear, blue-sky days. We wore lots of layers and each carried two large sticks to use as hiking poles for balance on the slippery and rugged surfaces. And you know what? Ice and all, the trip was fantastic, the views beautiful, and the time spent in nature irreplaceable. The conditions may not have been what we were expecting, but they were absolutely what we needed: time to reset, to connect with each other, and to disconnect from the demands of our daily grinds.
A New Year’s Resolution after all
And for the first time in I-don’t-know-how-long, I made a New Year’s resolution. Inspired by our unexpectedly satisfying trip, I’ve resolved in 2023 (and hopefully beyond) to show up with authenticity and to remain open to what the universe has in store for me. If you’d asked me ahead of time whether I WANTED to hike up a mountain in the aftermath of an ice storm, I’m sure I would have turned down the opportunity, opting instead for comfort and predictability, lower altitudes and stable ground. And, if I’d listened to the notions in my head on the matter, I would have missed out on what will go down as one of my favorite hikes to date.
This year, just as I did on my hiking trip, I’ve resolved to remain open to possibility, to listen with my whole body to what is calling me forward, and to step towards that calling, even if it scares me–or makes me feel off balance to do so. There were times during my husband’s and my uphill and downhill climbs when it was difficult to find secure footing. I had to take things slowly and be purposeful with my hiking sticks, my footfalls, and my weight transfer in order to stay upright. And a couple times, I did fall–though I was not hurt in either instance. Rather, I rested when I needed to, and I stayed curious, brave, and open to seeing what was around the next bend, and I’m so glad I did! Because the vista was well worth the journey, and the experience is mine to keep.
And I want more of that–more beautiful vistas, more moments of feeling fully present, more progress that happens from reveling in the process. And I know that in order to find this growth I’m seeking, I need to keep stepping into that place of instability and learn to find my footing there.
Confirming my New Year’s resolution
Since making this New Year’s resolution, I’ve also started looking for signs that I’m actually on a path of openness and possibility. You know–some kind of reassurance that I’m doing this thing right…not unlike the way my husband and I kept our eyes peeled for the painted blazes on our hiking trail to make sure we were headed where we’d hoped.
And the amazing thing is, the signs have started to appear. This morning, for example, I went to the YMCA to swim laps, an activity I look forward to several times a week. For me, there’s something very zen about listening to the sounds of the water as I move through it, counting my strokes and breaths lap after lap, and not being able to talk to anyone for the duration because my head is under water! When I arrived at the front desk of the Y, however, I learned that the heater was broken in the indoor pool bubble, which meant I was out of luck. Under other circumstances, this development could have put me in a foul mood. Because I had PLANNED my day around my swim, and now I might not get the exercise I had COUNTED on and my schedule was likely to be thrown off.
Instead, I drove back home, realizing I now had some unexpected time on my hands. And though I hadn’t planned to do so, I opted to de-decorate the house and clean up the Christmas clutter-zaster that always seems to take over the first floor of our house in the days after December 25th. And, as I type this, I feel so much better about my living quarters for having taken the time to straighten up a bit–okay a lot! A small moment, yes, and one I’m choosing to interpret as my being OPEN to making lemonade when the YMCA handed me a lemon.
Being Open to Professional growth
And here’s something else–in the past week, since adopting my “openness to possibility” resolution, I have had more inquiries and positive feedback about my coaching services and professional expertise than I have in the past month. Anyone who has started their own business knows that even with the best laid plans, goals, and systems, there’s always an element of “building the plane as you fly it”. As a new business owner, I’m absolutely still figuring everything out, and I can’t always tell how my efforts are landing. Talk about stepping into instability! I am choosing to see the uptick in recent business-related inquiries and affirmations as signs that this openness and possibility thing is working and that I should keep at it–and that Teen Savvy Coaching, a new, exciting, and compelling venture for me, is heading in an important direction.
accountability and Connection matter
And I’m choosing to share my resolution publicly, in part for my own accountability, but also because, if my resolution is all about openness, it is necessarily also about being authentic. And these are the foundations on which relationships are built. In addition to beautiful vistas and moments of full presence, I also want meaningful and fulfilling connections with the people in my life–and the people in my professional community. So if you’ve made it this far, thank you for tuning in–and not just to this blog post. Thank you for your support of Teen Savvy Coaching. Thank you for doing your best to raise the next generation of difference-makers for our world. I can’t wait to see what 2023 has in store for all of us, and I’ve vowed to be open to the ride.