As a career ELA teacher, I am a firm believer in the power of words. The “just-right” word in the “just-right” time and “just-right” place has incredible power. Since I started thinking about new years in terms of #oneword, rather than long resolutions, I’ve both enjoyed and loathed the process of determining my #oneword; after all, there is pressure in choosing that one, perfect word that encapsulates the thinking and direction I want for the coming year.

While I’ve spent time reflecting the past few weeks over several different words, one I’ve returned to is journey, and so I will focus on that for my #oneword2018. While the literal definition of “a traveling from one place to another” is exciting, I’m more interested in the more figurative definition, “passage or progress from one stage to another.” Much of life is, indeed, a journey. I am like much of our society in the 21st century, always looking to the “next.” As a day wraps up, it’s not unusual for me to begin thinking, “So tomorrow I have . . . and then next week this is happening, so I need to prepare this other thing . . .” It’s easy to get caught up in these day-to-day “destinations” and miss the passage or progress happening.

It’s easy to get caught up in these day-to-day “destinations” and miss the passage or progress happening.

In 2018, I want to be more mindful of my journey in all its facets. Professionally, I want to be very thoughtful and purposeful about the decisions I make, taking the opportunity to reflect not only on what I am doing but on what I am learning through it and how I can use this knowledge and experience to become a better educator. In my personal life I want to be mindful of what I am doing, and when. I want to hold time scared for family and friends. It’s a challenge to find the balance needed between a challenging, yet rewarding career, and the people who know me so well, and who I cherish so deeply.

Journeys, both literal and figurative, are exciting. We may think we know the route we are taking, but there can be unexpected scenery along the way. Sometimes we need to pause and refresh before continuing on. Other times, there are challenges, like construction or detours, and the route we had planned to take suddenly changes. I may think I know how 2018 is going to unfold, but none of us truly know what awaits us in this new year. Whether our journeys are smooth or fraught with difficulties, it is key to reflect, learn, enjoy, and keep moving. I am eager to see where my journey leads in this new year. Whatever your path in the new year, whatever your #oneword2018 may be, may it be a year of continued learning and growth. May we delight in our journeys.

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