For the last few years, I’ve joined the trend of choosing one word to drive my goals and focus for the coming year, rather than setting specific resolutions. I love this concept: choosing a versatile word fits so many contexts, and using it as a sort of mantra helps me stay focused and come closer to my goals. In 2017, my word was “stability”: J and I had quit the teaching jobs we’d held for 9 years and accepted new ones, sold our house, and moved, so I was craving stability. I was also dealing with an ongoing running injury due to a lack of strength and stability training, so “stability” covered both getting settled and getting healthy. Last year, my word was “connect” — less abstract than “stabilize,” as I was focused on relationships, but it covered a broad range of relationships — professional, community, family, friendships. And that brings me to my word for 2019:
(image created with PicMonkey)
Like “stability,” “stretch” covers many areas of my life, but the general idea is that I want to work on getting out of my comfort zone. Building on “connect” from last year, I want to continue creating and deepening relationships… and as an introvert, that requires me to stretch. It’s easier for me to say “no,” to run alone, to spend weekends at home with my grading or my book, so I’m going to have to keep stretching myself to say “yes,” to join group runs, to meet up with friends and family even when my book and yoga pants are calling.
It’s always worth it when I make the effort. Sometimes I even get to wear a birthday crown and sash.
“Stretch” also applies to my work life. I’ve been teaching 12 years now, and the kids in my classes today learn differently, act differently, and connect differently than the kids of a decade-plus ago. I need to stretch my “teacher toolbox” and my ideas of what works, learning new techniques and trying new things… even when that’s scary.
I also want to work on physically stretching (and foam rolling, etc.). As my dad would say, “You ain’t a kid anymore,” and my never-flexible muscles, ligaments, and fascia are getting tighter all the time. I want to be able to move well until I’m an old, old lady, so if I start working on being a bit more limber now, my future body will thank me.
Proof that I actually do yoga every now and then.
In related fitness news, I’m also considering really stretching my limits and signing up for my first ultramarathon (insert nervous face here). There’s a 55K near Estes Park (one of J and my favorite places) on Labor Day weekend… (end of thought for now. We’ll see where this goes).
I’m pretty sure the race runs near where this pic was taken. Not bad scenery, eh?
And finally, J and I are working on “stretching” our dollars. We were late to the Dave Ramsey party and only discovered his methods last summer, and we’re working to pay down some debt and build more savings (like everyone else in America).
As you can see, “stretch” applies to many areas of my life. I’ve got that scared-but-excited feeling that always comes with things that make me leave my comfort zone… and this time, the feeling is for the whole year. Wish me luck, and feel free to give me any tips or “hacks” for any of the areas that I’ll be “stretching” this year!