“I have always believed, and I still believe, that whatever good or bad fortune may come our way we can always give it meaning and transform it into something of value.” ― Hermann Hesse, Siddhartha
“Change is the end result of all true learning.” ― Leo Buscaglia
The fault is mine. I misconstrued our relationship; I felt a level of trust and openness with X that was not reciprocated. She sent me a message intimating I'd crossed boundaries and stating I knew nothing [about her.] That last part must be true, since I was caught unawares and left feeling chastised, hurt, and angry. I didn't respond. The note had been carefully crafted, words and phrases deliberately chosen. It didn't invite discussion. So I let my emotions roll around like marbles inside me until the passing of some time lessened the sting.
It's become popular in certain circles to pick a word of the year to live by. I've been thinking about that a lot, because I like words, and I like the idea of having a theme for each year. There are so many good choices (one option) that my challenge (another option) has been finding the right word for me. The situation I described with X might support listen, but it seemed I needed something a bit broader. Learn.
It should have been obvious. I chose to pursue a teaching career in part due to realizing my favorite part of previous jobs was learning how to do them well. When I felt I'd done all I could - reached some level of mastery - I grew antsy or apathetic. As a teacher, my learning never ends. My students are also my teachers, inspiring me to develop new and better strategies for helping them understand whatever concepts I'm teaching. Moving between the venues of traditional and virtual instruction, working among students at the elementary, secondary, and college levels (often in the same week!) prevents me from stagnating; the learning is continual.
I've committed to a few things during the upcoming year that will take me far beyond my comfort zone. One will happen this week when, for the first time, I will voluntarily climb on a red bus and allow a stranger to stick a needle into me to extract blood. While donating blood is no big ordeal for thousands of people, I've spent my entire adulthood avoiding any procedures involving needles and their related discomforts. I can't explain why I decided to do the blood thing at this particular time, and I do feel vaguely anxious about it. But I also feel an inner prodding to stretch myself, confront some fears, test my mettle, learn what I am capable of.
So it is now official: this year, 2014, will be my Year of Learn.