For most of the modern world, January 1st marks the beginning of a new calendar year. Millions make new years resolutions to get in shape, budget, go to church, etc. that don’t really see the light of February. As someone who’s work centers around academic seasons I find that welcoming August really feels more like a new year to me.
Each August holds great promise of the starting of a new year. We welcome new students into our academic families while creating and applying plans to make this year better than the last. For many in the academic community the summer months are the time we make goals and plans for the coming year by taking the feedback given from students over past years and research in our own fields. In January we can make adjustments, but August is when we start fresh and clean.
I find myself not only making goals and plans professionally in August, but also when I make personal commitments. This August, as I enter into my third year at Anderson, there are two things I want to focus on in my personal and out of work world.
- Be confident in identifying who I am and who I am not. This may seem silly, but I have noticed that I often strive to be something I’m not and then feel guilt when I fall short. Case in point- I’m not a landscaper nor do I have any interest in being one. I shouldn’t feel guilty when my yard doesn’t look professionally landscaped. It’s not, because I’m not and that’s ok. I cannot be everything to everyone and that starts with my bermuda grass.
- Be a meticulous caretaker of that which has been entrusted with me. This includes not only material possessions but also my own life. This translates into lots of action steps- sticking with a budget, finding ways to keep my house clean even during the crazy seasons, cultivating relationships, protecting Sabbath rest, and valuing my physical and spiritual health. Failing to care for myself and the gifts I’ve been given is the quickest way to grow frustrated or stuck.
I share these things here to be a reminder to me of the direction I want to go and to find accountability to follow through. Over the next year I want to constantly be asking myself if the choices I’m making reflect these two things. I think focusing on these two goals for my year will mean next August I will be a better daughter, friend and employee than I was this past August.