Mark quit his job. I quit my job. This took guts and was probably a little crazy. We freelanced and began the steps to launch our own business. But by the end of the year, we had both found ourselves employed once again, this time in positions we're excited about and believe in. Filing our 2012 taxes is going to be a epic adventure, perhaps on par with the year we lived in 2 states and worked in 3.
I taught a bunch of algebra with my very favorite co-teacher of all time, Nicole. She was my polar opposite in so many ways, but taught me to enjoy glitter pens and fancy Starbucks drinks. (She could never get me to wear heels in the classroom, though.) She taught me a lot about building relationships with high school students. I really loved teaching math while I was in that room. When I finally put in my letter of resignation, the hardest thing to let go of was the prospect of another year of Algebra 1 with Nicole.
I got to know people I never thought I would, like gastroenterologists and acupuncturists. My body went haywire and was slowly and gently coaxed back to health through a change in diet, plenty of sleep, and some major CTFO. (And just in time to start gestating the newest member of our family, which thus far, has been a blessedly uneventful process.)
Laurel quit diapers, got bossy, learned to negotiate, developed empathy, and mastered all kinds of early reading skills that I get super excited about observing. (Phonemic awareness! Pattern recognition!)
M spent a lot of time working on Margaret's farm. He brought home crates and crates of seconds and now our freezer is full going into winter. He ran in a couple of super hike events, always amazing me with how big his grin gets after he's covered 20 or 30 miles of trail in the woods.
We took our first family road trip and explored Florida. We discovered that Laurel enjoys hitting the road as much as we do. In fact, it's one of the most common make-believe games she plays now.
This wasn't a year of accomplishments, or goal setting. It was a year of life happening. It was a year of us saying no to things we didn't want to do. We spent a lot of time walking away and waiting. The amazing thing to me is that when you walk away from what you don't want, you end up walking towards what you do. Life opens up. Gives you opportunities that you didn't know were there before.
It was scary, though. I think the biggest change in me during this year was how I dealt with fear. Aside from my infamous fear of lightening, I'm pretty gutsy in the face of danger. I handle emergencies with poise and a clear head. I can get things done and I don't overreact. I do a lot of things other people might consider risky, but I don't do them in an irresponsible or cavalier way. I try to be informed of the facts, and weigh my decision based on a reasonable assessment of risk. And I don't want to miss out on the fun of life, just because there's a remote chance I'll be harmed in some way by it.
However, when it comes to the larger decisions in life, I waver. I make too many contingency plans, err on the side of caution, and avoid taking risks with my career and goals. And as a result, I found that I was going down a path I didn't really want to be on. I had a lot of fear of walking away from a contract teaching job, because it's supposed to be a good thing. Steady paycheck, good benefits, great hours for a mom of young children. I was pretty good at it. Plus I had spent all those years and money on the credentials and blah, blah, blah. Point is, I had tremendous fear of even imagining another way for myself. I dealt with that fear in 2012.
M bought me this poster last winter, when I was in a generally panic-stricken state, as things seemed to be getting worse and worse. I learned about the history of this poster, and breathed it in and out until I figured out what to do.
Happy New Year. Whatever 2013 brings our way, I'll be doing this.