2022 Happies and Crappies

I recently listened to Kate Bowler’s podcast in which she and Kelly Corrigan debriefed 2022 using the framework “Happies and Crappies.” While I have done some extensive reflection on the year using Emily P. Freeman’s 10 Questions for Reflection and Discernment, I’ll frame this public reflection using Kate and Kelly’s simple “Happies and Crappies” framework. As a bonus, I’ll end with a short exercise I am borrowing from Emily. ūüôā

Happies

I don’t think I need to write much about the happies, so I’ll present them as captions to these photos from the year. Celebrate with me that there were some really sweet moments this year.

Crappies

There are lots of things that didn’t go so well this year. The edited list of things that I am willing to tell strangers on the internet is:

  1. Our family really struggles to eat dinner together regularly, for a host of reasons including competing schedules, a variety of food preferences/needs, and our general lack of commitment to doing so. This drives me nuts and I want us to do this more often in 2023. (I know that’s not a SMART goal; don’t @ me, educator friends).
  2. I really don’t like multi-modal meetings. I don’t like attending them and I really don’t like leading them.
  3. This year I’ve faced some significant health challenges that were a major contributing factor to me needing to take my mental health more seriously. I’m thankful for good insurance, faithful friends, and family who stepped in when it was just too much.
  4. The confluence of puberty and a neurodivergent child made parenting more challenging than ever this year. We’re gathering some new supports and reaffirming our desire to love each other well in 2023.

Emily Freeman suggests that after you reflect and before you move into a new season, you name four things. I’ve named them and illustrated them because I am an insecure overachiever (thanks to Adam Grant for that phrase).

A progress I’m celebrating: In my last post, I talked about how hard it is to answer the question “What do I want?” or “What do I need?” I have made quite a bit of progress on that this year. I’m taking the time to really sit with the truths of who I am, how I’d like grow, and what I might need to move forward.

A pivotal decision I’ve made: Based on the progress I just mentioned, I decided to take an extended medical leave for the Spring 2023 semester. I have never had 15 weeks disengaged from work. This is already pivotal in some ways, but I’m sure throughout that time it will be pivotal in ways I did not anticipate.

A question I’m still carrying: How do I let things go or put things down when I am overwhelmed, frustrated, and/or outraged at something related to work?

What I want most: To know in my mind and heart that my worth as a person is not defined by my productivity or the way I care for others. In general, these are some of my superpowers but I need to disconnect them from how I feel about myself.

Wishing you a 2023 in which you embrace both the happies and the crappies, surrounded by an inner circle of folks who love you through it all.

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All I Want for Christmas is…

This woman in mom jeans sitting on Santa’s lap is one of my favorite instagram posts of all time. I imagine her exasperated confession is not embarrassment or shame at her lack of an answer; it’s because she is overwhelmed with the thought of having one more thing to consider in this season.

A 40-ish year old’s attempt to answer this question for herself should come without consideration of any constraints. Dream big, heart! To complete the conceptual exercise this post invites, I channeled my children’s unrelenting hopefulness and imaginary powers that lead them to believe they might find iPhone 14s under our Christmas tree despite the fact they have not demonstrated the ability to put two socks in a hamper on a regular basis.

I write today with the news that I have come up with an answer to Santa’s* question! What do I want?

Each Wednesday morning, trash cans and recycle bins line my street. Usually by the time we finish breakfast, the garbage and recycle trucks have taken the trash away, and the empty receptacles are ready to be returned to our garage until the following week.

What do I want? A garbage truck that comes to pick up emotional garbage. The folks who come to collect my emotional garbage would be wearing t-shirts that said things like “Good vibes only is a lie” and “Vulnerability is my jam.” They would take turns driving and overseeing the large arm-like extension from the truck that would suck the garbage right off my curb and into the truck. One of them would put a dog treat in my mailbox and wave to Wilbur in the window.

When I got home from work on Wednesday, the emotional garbage wouldn’t be on the curb. That lie I believed that was based in my own insecurity and no part of reality? Gone. That thing I said but didn’t mean and apologized for but still haunts me? Also gone. All that’s left behind is a treat for my dog, and me, feeling free.

*Santa is actually my therapist.

Notified

I get a notification on my laptop you are writing in our shared note.

I can see you typing in real time.

Every so often, you delete a word

                        Then the cursor

            moves backwards

                        then forward again,

                                    not because you were unsure of

                                    what you wanted to say,

                                    but because a new word says it

                                    with more precision. 

Like a laser, trying to cauterize the heart using words 

to stop the bleeding, 

to start the healing.

             There is so much to heal;

             there is so much to write.