It’s easy to turn on the news and reflect on all the negative things happening in the world. Illness, violence, deceit, discrimination, poverty. These are all too real, and devastating. Then there’s the flip-side. When I scroll through my social media I see loving happy families, dream vacations, marvelous feasts, milestone achievements, and joyous events. What’s the reality? All of the above, I’d say. Each life is a mixture of positive and negative experiences and emotions. I’ve been so fortunate to have my personal mix heavily skewed to the positive side of life. I know others aren’t so fortunate. I also know that things can change in an instant.
As 2021 draws to a close, it’s easy to find the things that didn’t work. The political divide, the ongoing Covid pandemic, and the spate of mass shootings instantly come to mind. But what about the things that did work? The past year has given me a lot to be grateful for. For one, I’ve rediscovered the joy I get from sewing and quilting. I’ve finished a few long-term projects, and knocked off a brand new quilt from some old and well loved fabrics. Even better, I’ve reconnected with my friend who is a master long arm quilter, and we managed to get together a few times in 2021, and not just to have her work her magic on my quilts.
I’ve also found time to read for pleasure. I’ve discovered three middle-grade series that I’ve been enjoying tremendously. The Front Desk series by Kelly Yang, Tuesdays at the Castle series by Jessica Day George, and the Endling series by Katherine Applegate are all terrific reads. I also thoroughly enjoyed the young adult serial mystery, Murder by Milkshake by Elizabeth Maria Naranjo. It’s on Amazon’s Vella platform, which I was unfamiliar with, but actually liked.
In the summer of 2021 I was able to travel to visit my family and friends in my hometown. It seemed like a break from the pandemic, and it was a long overdue reset. Getting together with others was such a treat, and my friends even surprised me with a birthday cake. It was definitely memorable (and so thoughtful). A few fancy dinners, a few evenings on porches and patios, and hours and hours of conversation made the long wait worthwhile.
In terms of my professional life, I couldn’t be happier to be back in person with students. I’m hopeful that we won’t have to return to online learning, since I truly believe that my students do so much better in the classroom. My fantastic teammates are with me again this year, and they make all the difference. I’m also continuing to work on my National Board certification. I recently received my score from one of the four components, so now I have two down and two to go (and one is about halfway done, so that’s a plus).
My home is warm, thanks to a long anticipated upgrade to our heating/cooling system, and as of tomorrow I’ll once again be able to do laundry, thanks to an emergency upgrade to my laundry room. My dog is recovering from surgery, and she seems quite comfortable, so I’m happy with that too. Did all those things add up? Yes, but we’re able to handle them, so that’s something else to be thankful for.
And of course there’s my family. My son started grad school in 2021, and he’s doing really well. He also landed an internship that begins next week, so his 2022 is off to a great start. We have all managed to stay reasonably healthy (knock on wood), and I even learned to love exercise last summer. I can’t wait to get back into the pool and start again.
I may not live a fairy tale life, but I’ve got it pretty good. Everyday I wake up with a roof over my head, clean water and indoor plumbing in my home, and a good job to go to. I have people in my world who I love, and who love me. I have an education, a voice, and the ability to apply both. I have food in the fridge, money in the bank, and access to good healthcare. I have a television, computer, and phone to keep me connected to the world outside my home. All things considered, I have a lot to look forward to in 2022 and the future. I hope you do as well, and that your 2022 is healthy, safe, and rewarding.