Looking Back and Looking Ahead

Ah, 2015. It was the year of things I didn’t expect, both good and bad. It was a year of polar opposites. Some things and area in my life totally blossomed and made me really happy. As a result, other aspects of my life suffered a little bit.

Well, suffer is a bit of a dramatic term. More like things didn’t turn out like I wanted them to. In no way does my life suffer.

I felt like my personal life and career really took off. I got licensed and started my second year of teaching and it’s been MUCH better this year. I actually know what I’m doing! I developed my friendships, especially my Best Squad, and I met a great guy and I’ve got to experience a healthy, happy relationship. One of the things I am most thankful for this year is DJ and the experience of sharing a life with another soul.

I don’t know if it was a direct result of these improvements, or that I didn’t invest in them like I should have, but I felt like my reading and writing took a backseat. Maybe it was necessary since my life as far as relationships and career had been tumultuous for almost four years. The thing is though, I’m not really okay with it. I miss(ed) it.

I still took classes at the Lighthouse. I still read 80 books this year. But something was missing from it. I felt at times creatively drained—my job is great but it exhausts me, my free time is limited, and I felt trapped in a cycle of ideas that just didn’t pan out. I had no one to talk to about writing, either. My writer’s group was on hiatus and I drifted from my writer friend Katherine (probably my fault).

As far as reading goes I think I became too goal oriented. I kept telling myself to read my TBR, to read 100 books, to finish my list of classics, and I sort of lost my way. I also felt guilty whenever I would read. I felt like I should be grading, lesson planning, or working on my job instead. The nagging sense of I should be doing something else is hard to shake; it didn’t matter how desperate I was to get rid of it.

This is sounding like sort of a downer post. And I guess it kinda is, since I’m bummed about my creative life. But, it also had a lot of highs and included things I do love like travel, food, and my family. I have never been this happy in my personal life and my anxiety has waned and, when I do feel anxious, it’s manageable. Heck, I even found a long term house sitting gig and I don’t have to pay rent in the second worst rental market in the country. This alone is cause for a ticker tape parade.

Now that I’ve spilled all of this on the internet, my takeaway is that I’m after the golden calf that most adults want in their life: balance. I want to be able to leave work at work some nights and read without guilt. I want to travel more and spend quality time with my boyfriend. I want to write like an uncontrollable fiend. I want the only thing I despise about my job to be the fact I have to get up early. I want to be healthy, too, but not the kind of girl who turns her nose up at cheesecake.

Well, let’s be real, I’ll never be that girl.

I do not know if I’ll succeed in my new quest for balance, or if it really ever ends. I always have such lofty goals and seem to fall short, but I do know that balance is my new focus. It’s not a numbers game, a timing game, or a task game. It’s simply how I feel about my life in general. For 2016, that’s the best kind of goal.