As I sat down this year to make New Year's resolutions, I first thought maybe I'd just skip it. I always make resolutions about losing weight and exercising more and before January ends, I've usually given up!
This year however, I am coming off a holiday visit with my mother. She has recently moved from independent living to an assisted living situation. Her world has squeezed into a small room and hallway. She chose a very nice retirement facility eight year ago when she was healthy with 5 star amenities, but now that she's given up driving it's really turned into a small little world. As my sister and I visited and tried to take her out, I watched as even the simplest acts, such as getting in and out of the car, turned into dependent activities as she tried to maneuver her walker. My mother was a dancing teacher so to watch her tremble and struggle with even simple physical tasks was very difficult... and also very humbling as I realize that each of us will come to that point in our life when age robs us of some of the things that today seem so easy.
I'm not sure how my mother looks back on her life. I doubt she has many regrets, but as I have been thinking about her and her life, I have become convinced that the lesson for me is that I need to live each day as a gift. And THAT is what I want my New Year's Resolution to be. This week I go to sign a contract to officially retire and then to teach five more years with no chance of teaching longer - at least not in this public school system. Knowing that, I returned to the classroom full time this year because I wanted my last years to be about giving back to the profession that has defined much of my adult life. I wanted to take all that I have seen and learned and invest it into children. It's not that I am on some narcissistic pedestal thinking that I only can make a difference in every life, but through God's grace I do believe that I am meant to be on this road at this time in my life. I'm not really sure where this road will lead or why I need to be travelling it right now, but I do know that for the rest of this year I will try to get up each morning, breath in and out thankfulness, stay in the moment and relish the journey. So... Happy New Year 2011. May this be the best year yet!