2019: Year of Learning

Inspired in part by Neil Gaiman’s New Year wish for 2012, which reads as follows:

I hope that in this year to come, you make mistakes.

Because if you are making mistakes, then you are making new things, trying new things, learning, living, pushing yourself, changing yourself, changing your world. You’re doing things you’ve never done before, and more importantly, you’re Doing Something.

So that’s my wish for you, and all of us, and my wish for myself. Make New Mistakes. Make glorious, amazing mistakes. Make mistakes nobody’s ever made before. Don’t freeze, don’t stop, don’t worry that it isn’t good enough, or it isn’t perfect, whatever it is: art, or love, or work or family or life.

Whatever it is you’re scared of doing, Do it.

Make your mistakes, next year and forever.

And so I have declared 2019 to be my Year of Learning. Not that learning isn’t already a lifelong pursuit, but I want to be quite deliberate about reading more, doing more, learning more.

As I begin a new job and career as a primary school teacher, learning will be what I teach and what I am. And surely, surely there will be many mistakes. “New Mistakes”, and hopefully, “glorious, amazing mistakes”.

By choosing “learning” as my word for 2019, I hope it helps to cultivate some good habits that will last me well into “next year and forever”. And of course, I hope it reminds me of what I am here to do, how much more yet to discover, how admirable it is to not be afraid of making mistakes.

Learning in my work – and oh, how very much there is to learn about everything and anything! Learning about myself and pushing myself to be better. Learning to better manage relationships and friendships, to parent, to love – I am excited and maybe even overwhelmed by the lofty task I have set.

Who knows what the year will bring? But if I remain humble and hungry, eager to learn and ready to embrace my mistakes, I just might emerge a little better, a little stronger.

That New Year wish from Neil Gaiman and the beginning of my year-end reflections

May your coming year be filled with magic and dreams and good madness. I hope you read some fine books and kiss someone who thinks you’re wonderful, and don’t forget to make some art — write or draw or build or sing or live as only you can. And I hope, somewhere in the next year, you surprise yourself.

– Neil Gaiman, 2001

With the school term finished, Christmas festivities finally over and the sister back to work, I opened my eyes this morning to our first truly free day at home. We haven’t had one of these since school ended, and certainly not in those last hectic weeks as the term charged towards its welcome conclusion.

In typical fashion, knowing our holidays were truly upon us, the first thing I did last night was make a to-do list. Actually, “make” isn’t the right word. I’ve had three different lists going since November, so all I had to do was review and update them. And then I started reflecting on how 2018 really is over, as you do, which has put me in rather a contemplative mood all day, as it does.

I read an article this morning on “taking the guilt out of New Year’s resolutions and reflecting on the good stuff“, and the four of us did the questions together:

  • What am I grateful for this year?
  • What things have brought me the greatest pain this year?
  • What do I want more of in my life next year?

Except we were dealing with an 8yo and 13yo so we rephrased question 2 to “what made you sad” — answers: nothing and Japanese (the subject, not the people), respectively.

All of this to say we’re finally settling into the holidays and I’ve begun to put words to my annual year-end reflections and think about 2019. In the coming weeks, we hope to spend time reading, reflecting and preparing for what will surely be a very big year. Hence the Nail Gaiman quote above — while probably not the specific wish I’ll be carrying with me into the New Year, it is always a wonderful starting point.

What is resilience?

Resilience is the ability to bounce back and try again after a setback, to pick yourself up, dust yourself off and keep going, no matter how hard you fell. It’s also about being willing to have a go at something new, and to be open to asking someone for help.

It’s not about being brave or strong, but simply feeling okay about yourself – knowing that you will be okay with whatever life dishes up. In other words, it is our ability to adapt to stress and the less stressed we are, the happier we are.

The Princess Bitchface Syndrome 2.0, Michael Carr-Gregg and Elly Robinson

Kinder than is necessary

“Kinder than is necessary,” he repeated. “What a marvelous line, isn’t it? Kinder than is necessary. Because it’s not enough to be kind. One should be kinder than needed. Why I love that line, that concept, is that it reminds me that we carry with us, as human beings, not just the capacity to be kind, but the very choice of kindness. … If every single person in this room made it a rule that wherever you are, whenever you can, you will try to act a little kinder than is necessary – the world really would be a better place. And if you do this… someone else, somewhere, someday, may recognise in you the face of God.”

– Mr Tushman, in Wonder by R. J. Palacio

Bono describes my kind of religion

If I could put it simply, I would say that I believe there’s a force of love and logic in the world, a force of love and logic behind the universe. And I believe in the poetic genius of a creator who would choose to express such unfathomable power as a child born in “straw poverty”; i.e., the story of Christ makes sense to me. … As an artist, I see the poetry of it. It’s so brilliant. That this scale of creation, and the unfathomable universe, should describe itself in such vulnerability, as a child. That is mind-blowing to me. I guess that would make me a Christian.

– Bono, Rolling Stone interview (2005)