And, So It Goes

December 31, 2014

There are just a few hours left in 2014. I don't know about you, but I get all introspective at the end of the year. Like one of my dearest friends said, not more than a couple of hours ago, there is something so special about watching one year end and a new one emerge. If anyone understands the embrace of a new beginning it might be the two of us, sitting in the kitchen of her terminally ill mother, both of our fathers gone just over a year. 

There have been lots of years that I've been desperate to leave behind (2008, 2011), but this one has been pretty decent. Maybe my expectations for a new year have changed in the past decade. I suppose the realist in me understands that my life is pretty much settled at age 40, that I will teach and Jamie will machine. The girls will grow up, and other family members will grow older. The house will still need cleaning, and the people who live in it will want to be fed. My friendships will remain solid and stand the test of time, and maybe we will get a little vacation or make a big purchase. Such is life for middle-class Americans.

Thankfully, I'm not a total realist. I still have some big dreams; I am not resigned to only teach and only clean and only cook. I have big dreams that I don't say out loud to very many people at all. Herein lies the crux. When do you say, with a house payment and a car payment and three kids and orthodontia, "I'm going for it!" What if there isn't a foolproof plan? What if -- here's the biggie -- I fail? 

Almost as if he read my mind, my pastor tweeted this earlier today: "That recurring idea that raises your pulse, puts a smile on your face, and overwhelms your dreams...go after that in 2015. It's time."

Whoa. I kid you not; I am teary-eyed just thinking about that. How do I do it? What does going after it look like at age 40?  Here's the thing... Resolutions are broken. Naming my year with one special word is forgotten. Probably my best bet is to form some routines, develop a real structure to my days that gives me time and opportunity to cultivate my life. Probably that looks like less time on Facebook and more time in my notebook. Probably that looks like less time playing Candy Crush and more time being present with my people. 

I'm proud of a lot of my 2014. I finished my masters. I became the other half of the Sassy Schoolmarms and thoroughly enjoyed podcasting. I stepped out in faith and began to organize a team of women to bring IF: Alma together. Jamie and I made it to 21 years of marriage. My girls are ending the year in really good places. These are the things I can reflect upon and feel satisfied with. 

What will 2015 hold? Who in the world knows? We plan on seeing Parker Jane graduate and begin the next chapter in her life. That gives me so much joy! Other than that, it's anyone's guess, but I have faith that God, in his sovereignty, has ordained the days of 2015 for me. I may be surprised, but he won't be.

Annie Dillard says, "How we spend our days is, of course, how we spend our lives." I need to print this and put it in every room of my house, in my car, in my classroom, and on my debit card. Isn't this a great thought to grab hold of right now? Every day of 2015 will matter. It's time I began to live like I believe that.

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