Friday, January 2, 2015

Happy New Year! (2015 Edition!)

Catfish makes time to enjoy the Christmas spirit.

After a long and busy hiatus from blogging, I am ready to start 2015 with renewed focus and balance.

When I began this blog two (!) years ago, it started as a little hobby that gave me a chance to flex my writing muscles while occupying my time during the day when I was working evenings/nights. Over the past two years, my life has become progressively busier since I began a career in teaching. Unlike my former desk jobs, teaching requires a lot of hours working from home: grading papers, planning lessons, and responding to students' emails! I've always felt that I've done a good job managing stress and general busyness, but the past semester has been exceptionally challenging since my teaching schedule had suddenly doubled. Although working so much gave me valuable experience and new opportunities, it also took a toll on my personal life and passions-- as evidenced by the sharp drop-off in my blog posts!

I once read somewhere that, "It's only in America that people go around bragging about how busy they are." Wouldn't it be nice if instead, people went around bragging about how happy they are? Or how much time they enjoyed spending with their family? Or about the delicious meal that they prepared from scratch? Or the great book that they finished? Any and all of the pursuits sound much more enjoyable than discussing how many emails one answered, or how late somebody stayed at the office, or how someone worked through her lunch break. I now realize that "keeping up with the Joneses" is not only limited to material possessions, but also to our general attitudes and feelings about working and home life. People are expected to prioritize work and sacrifice their home life for reasons that often have little or nothing to do with financial stability-- it again goes back to our competitive nature to "keep up with the Joneses." After several months of working in this fashion, I've definitely decided that this is not how I want to live my life.

Like the recovery from a holiday's hangover, my recovery from 2014 has been slow, but not without reflection and the accompanying regret. Looking back at my resolution from last year, I realized that I didn't really make a lot of time for myself, as I had promised myself that I would. I was just too busy! However, I've learned something about myself over the years: I am a person who strives to be busy, whether it's from working too much, volunteering too much, or finding multiple projects for me to occupy my time (alas, like blogging). Whatever it is, for whatever reason, I just have a tendency to overextend myself to the point where I no longer take joy from whatever it is that I am doing at the moment. This is so absurd! Unfortunately, this is also a reflection of my exact thoughts at this time last year; apparently, I didn't progress as much as I had hoped in 2014. Although I know that I am someone who likes to stay occupied, I think the past year has been a wake-up call for me to strive to achieve balance between being busy and not. Although being busy has its benefits. we all know that too much of a good thing is certainly bad.

Although my resolution from 2014 failed, it's never too late to try, try again. Here's to another chance at finding balance and joy during 2015. Wishing my readers a happy, healthy, and peaceful new year! How was 2014 for you? What are you looking forward to in 2015?