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2011 is on the horizon

December 30, 2010

With 2010 coming to a close, we are all evaluating the past year, weighing our successes and failures, and many of us setting goals for ourselves in the new year. For me, 2010 was a year of great change. As I sat at my family’s Christmas party, I looked at not only the changes in my different family members’ lives, but also the differences in my own views, perspective, experiences, and my physical self. Below I recollect the five most important experiences of 2010 and set myself a list of five things I hope to achieve in 2011.

1.       Identifying as a student and a teacher. I started 2010 with nerves in my gut as I began my experience student teaching 80 freshman in high school English. I had to change my actions, taking my identity from a student to a teacher, which caused me to conceive a new vision of my role in the classroom. That semester had a lot of low points and high points for me as I maneuvered my way into becoming a confident teacher with the support of my cooperating teacher. Of course, as soon as I got my feet firmly on the ground, the semester was over and I realized what a special thing it was to connect with adolescents and guide them through learning and growing. Taking on the identity of a teacher has allowed me to be a better student. I seem to be able to understand my teachers’ expectations, and I think it has definitely affected the way I approach my studies.

2.       Losing and gaining friends. Going from living with 2-3 of my friends for the past 3 ½ years to living with my parents was nothing short of a culture shock. Even more shocking? Losing contact with friends whose lives were all changing. We all were going in branching directions: some of us finishing school, some starting new careers or new degrees. All of my friends have begun new and exciting experiences, but I miss having time to see them all, and having them so geographically close to me. This situation left me open to talking to new people, starting new relationships. I’ve met some great new people in person and online, and I’ve strengthened those relationships that made it through the post-college shuffle.

3.       Becoming exposed and knowledgeable about fat acceptance. I still have a lot more reading and research to do, but I can say that this community has made me feel so much better in my own skin. Although many of my family members are overweight, many of us associate guilt and shame with our size. It is refreshing and revitalizing to talk with others in a non-negative and non-shaming way about our bodies and experiences.

4.       Writing. Between writing creative stories, poems, and writing reflective blog posts and essays for school, I’ve really been able to practice and improve my writing. My mother is a writer, and it has always been a skill of hers that I admired and desired. I’m currently attending a university to pursue a degree in composition and rhetoric. This time has allowed me to not only practice my writing, but to help others develop their own writing skills. I love this, and it is so exciting for me.

5.       Meeting and reading your blogs. Seriously, I sound like such a loner-wimp, but your blogs were at times the best part of my day, and I loved reading all of the different ideas and outfits you all shared. I’m kind of sad that I never knew about this before, but I’m glad I have all of these great places to turn now!

What I hope to achieve in 2011:

1.       Courage. Courage to blog about topics I am interested in, courage to confront negativity in my life, courage in the classroom, and courage to date and meet new friends. Stripping away my safety blanket of friends has exposed a large amount of fear. I hope to confront this in the new year.

2.       Dating. In this year, I want to start being more active about dating. Even if I do not get into a serious relationship, I want to be able to learn to let people close to me. I’m very good at keeping most people an arm’s length away, and it’s just not a great way to live. I want to open myself to more dating experiences.

3.       Balance school and social life. This past year has been an 80 percent focus on school and 20 percent focus on everything else. I need to learn how to better balance the two, while being successful in both. Tall order, huh?

4.       Save money. Yeah, I need to, badly.

5.       Be a better friend. I need to be more active in maintaining my friendships and building new ones. I need to focus less on me and more on them. It’s always a challenge to remove one’s self from a situation and try to make choices that are not selfish. I challenge myself to do that more.

Okay, wow. I got lengthy on you guys. I’m sorry about that, but I hope you all are able to look over the past year and find things you are proud of. What is one thing you are proud of from 2010 and one resolution for the new year?

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