Oh, my. The other day, I was in a spiral of self-pity. I was feeling like a failure. I was feeling like I haven’t accomplished anything with my life. I was feeling mad at myself for my complacency at work. I was annoyed with the fact that I haven’t been actively working towards the goals I have set for myself. I know I’m not alone. Everyone goes through these times. I don’t have these moments often, but when I do, I reflect on the “why”. Normally, I feel like the princess of the unicorns and rainbows and butterflies abound in my kingdom. But, the other day was one of those days. The days you think back on, and you’re wondering where the sadness/resentment/self-pity came from. After some careful reflection and some “get your sh*t together” pep-talkin’, I figured it out.
Me: “I feel like I haven’t accomplished anything with my life.”
Husband: (looking at me with utter confusion) “What do you mean?”
Me: (no response)
I had no response, at least no real response. I have accomplished a lot. I have accomplished things that other people might only dream of. I have done things I never thought I would. Traveled places I only thought dreams were made of. I have tried and failed/succeeded at things that give me butterflies, and I lived to talk about them. After reflecting on my bout of self-pity, I realized that I do this every year. Every single year since I was a little girl.
As a teacher, who has “summers off”, I am acutely aware of endings and beginnings. Each school year, I think of how another year has passed. I remember how far I’ve come. But I also remember how far away I still am. New Year’s eve is the pinnacle of rebirths for many people, but that’s not how I operate. I think many fellow educators understand where I am coming from. New Year’s Eve is just one of my new beginnings. I get three a year. And I am so thankful for it.
January 1st – New Year
Late June after school let’s out – New Year
First day of School – New Year
These new beginnings keep me mentally on track, but they can be a burden to the intrinsically driven being. These passing months remind me that six months, four months, or even just two months have passed. I’m really lucky; but like I said, I am overly aware of time passing because of my new beginnings. At these three junctures each year, I reflect on my previous year both personally and professionally. And I think about what I can do to make myself even better. I reflect on my previous goals. I think of how far or how short I’ve come to making my dreams my reality. It’s my time to either celebrate my accomplishments or bathe in self-pity for a day or two while I judge my achievements based on a 1-10 score.
Well, after watching an assembly just a few days ago, by motivational speaker Dr. Paul Wichansky who has cerebral palsy, he said something that stuck with me: “Never let your attitude become your biggest disability.” I realized that feeling unaccomplished is stupid and seriously unsubstantiated. I am blessed. So very blessed, and I know that. I have accomplished so much. I have so much to still accomplish, but guess what? That’s what life is all about. I have to remember that if I haven’t made a dream a reality yet … it’s that it just hasn’t happened “yet”. It’s just a matter of time.
I use these valleys as a springboard for getting stuff done. For making life happen. I kind of like when they creep up on me because days, weeks, and months later, I’m more productive and focused than I was before.
Set goals. Achieve them. Set new goals. Knock ‘em out of the park. Happy New Year, teacher friends. Actually, Happy Summer. Celebrate it. Make it great. Be better … always.