Ironically, even though I'm trained as a historian, I don't like to spend too much time looking back. That being said, it is useful to engage in a bit of reflection and to ponder what went well, and what didn't, in the past year. For myself, in 2015, here's what went well:
- I found and started a degree program in Global Health that will help me to do bigger work in the future, and to guide my students on becoming big problem solvers, not just "money-makers".
- I was recognized as a "Top Teacher" in an area publication. Kudos are always welcome.
- I celebrated my first anniversary with my new husband, a beautiful partnership for which I'm eternally grateful.
- I lost some weight which has made my body feel better. I rediscovered that a lower carb, higher protein diet works better for me (something I've known, but have rejected out of inner brattiness).
- I attended a terrific shaman retreat where I had an unexpected supernatural experience that has changed me.
- I taught a new course on Native American culture that was loved by my students and which felt like valuable work on a journey to explore this culture more deeply.
- I led a service trip to the Pine Ridge Reservation, my first such trip and something that I now know will be part of my life always.
- I traveled to England and had the benefit of watching my daughter bloom as an English prep school student for two weeks.
- I did much valuable committee work that has moved my school forward on becoming more progressive and innovative.
- I'd like to feel less "flat out" with my work, less stressed, less "last-minute".
- I let an overblown family event, and some incredibly immature people, impact my health, well-being and psyche. Lesson learned: NEVER AGAIN. Others do not get to determine how I feel physically or mentally.
- Some beginning of the year focus on health, more austere eating and better self-care practices.
- Continuing and finishing my degree program
- Designing a new course
- Traveling to Pine Ridge again, with students and my husband
- Traveling to Quebec/Montreal with my father and husband
- Traveling to NYC with my daughter to take in some Broadway shows and art museums
- Traveling to visit a friend in Utah--lots of hiking and healthy cooking
- Starting to learn Ojibway (a Native American language)
- Hopefully attending another retreat, maybe even starting my own retreat workshops
- Saving up for a house in the future
- Watching my daughter become a freshman at the school where I teach
- A daily record sheet for my personal health practices
- A weekly schedule of how I'll spend my time
For my weekly schedule, I print out my teaching schedule and then fill in the blocks during the day and into the evening with what I'll do when. In this way, I can see what I need to accomplish and where I can do it. I even put in my exercise time (if you schedule it, it will be more likely to happen). On the back of this copy, I make out my "to do" list for the week.
Finally, I will make out a "bigger" list of more momentous things I need to do. For example, schedule a colonoscopy. Again, if it is on a list, it's more likely to happen. You should review this list either weekly or monthly in order to hold yourself accountable. This list will include my year-long list of monthly charitable donations (each month I donate a set amount of money to a different local charity--my daughter and I make it a family discussion/decision).
Assess your past, determine your future. This is how you live life without regrets. Do the work now and keep at it every week, every day. In this way the years need not speed by with you feeling as though you've been left behind. Ring out the old, usher in the new with excitement. And, a couple of shameless plugs: Help yourself along with the January "Fresh Start" course. We examine the order of life, look to the beautiful jewel tones of winter birds for inspiration, and enjoy the fresh, bracing qualities of pine. For $24.99 you'll start the year enlightened and energized. If you are looking for something deeper (and what better time to dive in than the beginning of a new year), then sign up for our "Healing Traditions" Course: 10 weeks, 5 traditions, a lifetime of knowledge for $100. Both can be purchased on the link below.