2019 is my Elsa year. And by that I mean, of course,
Let it go.
As I shared echoing some very smart people in the last couple of years at “resolution time,” what good is an intention without a plan? This year, for various reasons, I find myself needing to streamline my life, to find some clarity and peace that’s been elusive for some time, and I have a feeling 2020 is going to look very different. So, as I start 2019, I share with you some perspective on this coming year, because, well, reflecting on this journey in public is what this blog has always been about. Because perhaps somewhere in my musings you’ll find something for your journey, too.
Barricade the rabbit trails… in stages.
I love projects, and I want to say yes to (almost) every opportunity that comes my way and every idea that pops into my head. Yes, I’ll take that trip. Yes, I’ll review that document. Yes, I’ll develop that resource. At some point, you look around and see there are so many rabbit trails you can’t even remember where you were going. The people around you feel it, and your body feels it, and it’s not sustainable. Time to say no.
On the other hand, it’s not often feasible to simply cut off the trails, burn all the bridges, and check yourself into Professional Education Addict Recovery. That looks more like a breakdown than a set of reasonable decisions. Instead, start at the beginning. For me, this means knowing that by the end of X period of time (the end of 2019) I will have shut down A, B, and C rabbit trails that are complicating my life. Then, set some things to achieve before that happens. I want to finish this, go there, wrap up that, before I shut off access to those trails.
Can I add one more suggestion? Consider that perhaps all these rabbit trails are not just unsustainable and unfeasible, they’re unnecessary. Perhaps there was a once-upon-a-time when you were the only person that filled that role, or there are voices telling you you’re the only one who can do this right, but it’s really not true. It’s possible – and probable- that there are a lot of amazing people out there ready to share the load you need to leave behind.
Change (pieces of) the puzzle.
The thing about puzzle pieces is that they fit in only one place in only one puzzle. How boring.
I have news for you: we are not puzzle pieces.
Or rather, perhaps we’re amorphous puzzle pieces. I tend to marry myself to a particular vision, and I have to be forcibly pulled away. I was always going be that teacher at that school. I was always going to play that role in that community. But this year, I’m accepting that I can change which piece of the puzzle I am, or even which puzzle I’m part of. I invite you to reflect on this with me: could another puzzle be just as fulfilling, just as fun? Could a different role in your same organization or along your same path be an even better fit for you?
Could be time to jump puzzles.
Finish the project.
Confession time: my living room is three different colors. Four, even.
I know December is a hectic month for most people, but because of various activities that take a break during that month, December is actually more relaxed for me. So in 2017, I took the month to update the paint in our living area. I chose a nice silvery color I loved and I used my 15-minutes-a-day method to tackle the project. I got the entire hallway and the largest wall of the living room painted. And then everything started back again. So I was going to do those last two walls on Spring Break. Then during the summer. Then during this past December, when my kids still being in school kept my schedule hectic longer than I had expected. But you’ve guessed it – my living room is still silver, and beige, and orange/white on the “Creamsicle” accent wall.
What project did you start and leave sitting somewhere? This year, let’s make a plan – which week? How many minutes a day? What to ignore so we can focus? And let’s finish that project. Oh, and just pick one. The quickest route to a permanently unfinished project is to dwell on how many of them there are.
At the end of 2019, I want the rabbits to have to stay on the one path (or maybe two, ha). If I find myself becoming a different piece of the puzzle, or joining a different puzzle altogether, I’m going to be okay with that. And I want my living room walls to be one color.
What about you?
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