Word of 2013

In 2012, I celebrated my little boy’s birthday. I started my fifth year teaching. I celebrated my fourth anniversary with my husband.  My husband finished his Master’s degree. I got serious about my health, lost 18 lbs and dropped a size. My mom got a new job. My dad got a new job. I saw Chipper Jones in person during his retirement tour. I got a tattoo. I wrote at least one blog a week for a year and connected to so many beautiful, strong women on Liberating Working Moms. And I got to see my dream come true: an article I wrote was published in The Printed Blog.

There were also very rough points in 2012. Whitney Houston’s death. Dissension because of the election. Hurricane Sandy. Lance Armstrong. The Sandy Hook tragedy. Friends and friends of friends passing away too young. Drama at work. Gangnam Style. Kidding.

All in all, it’s one of those years that balance the scales. It was good and bad. It was gentle and rough. And now, I’m looking forward to starting something new.

On Liberating Working Moms, we came up with Working Mom Resolutions, but this week, I’m going to meditate on it and possibly add to mine. One of the beautiful women on LWM, Law Momma, mentioned on Facebook that she selected a word to represent her hopes for 2013: embrace. She wrote that she would embrace who she is, what she wants.

I took her challenge. I wanted to choose a word. Instead of making lofty goals and setting myself up for failure, I’ve been conservative with my resolutions and hopes for 2013, because I’ve realized that just because it’s January doesn’t mean anything. I decided to attack my unhealthy habits and work out on a daily basis in July. Bikini season was almost over. New year was months away. But I did it because I knew it needed to be done. So I decided in 2013, I will attack things as they come, not just because Times Square says I can.

But I wanted a word. A word to go back to and to hold on to. A word to speak over my life, the way I used to speak prayers over my family members, friends, and unborn baby before I became so engrossed in the tumult of adulthood that I forgot to pray.

My word is free.

This year, in 2013, I am going to dedicate myself to work on freeing myself. Freeing myself of complaint, discontentment. Freeing myself of fear and anxiety.

So maybe, I’ll get on an airplane again without hiding my head in my husband’s lap and hyperventilating. Maybe I’ll leave the baby overnight somewhere. Maybe I’ll spend some money on clothes or a family vacation without feeling guilty. Maybe I’ll make a career move instead of staying with the same old because it’s safe. Maybe I’ll be inspired to write again. Maybe I will let go.

That’s what I want. I want to enjoy life, whether I’m still in my “starter house” that I hate or I move somewhere new. Whether I’m teaching the toughest students or the most advanced. Whether I’m sick or well. Whether I’m rich or poor. I want to be free to be me, to be content, to be at peace.

I want to be free of obligation.

My favorite high school teacher still shows up in my life once in a while to check up on me and encourage me. Recently, he told me that my problem is that I care too much. It’s my problem in my family. It’s my problem in my classroom.

I don’t want to not care. But maybe, just maybe, I need to care more about what means the most to me. Like spending time with my son instead of grading. Like spending a quiet New Year’s Eve at home even though the tradition is to attend a large, loud, fun family party.

Most of all, I want to be free of the past.

I want to be me now. I don’t want to miss the person I used to be. I don’t want to dwell on things that were said or done to me. I want to look forward.