Gathering my Thoughts about 2014

As I gather my thoughts about the year 2014, I keep trying to come up with a word that describes my feelings about it.  I don't have the sense of wonder or joy about the year, in fact, I feel rather numb to the whole thing...

I retired this year from public education, something I truly loved doing yet the last three years of it were rough.  Rough from the public grinding down on the hard work I saw teachers doing day in and out.  I was so ready to leave yet, I wasn't ready, either.  I was so grateful to learn about the position with the University of Missouri, that allows me to be in the schools daily but not dealing with the public persona of education.  I still see many teachers working hard day in and out, but I feel a disconnect between my work and the public's opinion of public education.

I enjoyed a lovely vacation to Alaska to celebrate the retirement.  I got to piggyback on our daughter's presentation at a conference.  I was awed by the vast sky and land, the beautiful glaciers and wildlife.  However, instead of feeling like I accomplished something on my bucket list, I felt like need to come back.  Alaska is calling me back.  I think I still need to do a cruise to see the really beautiful glaciers and to experience the true size of the state.  

We have been in our new home for a year now!  During this year we were on our neighborhood's garden tour and the Christmas homes tour.  People were lovely about the house and garden.  A couple came to us during the Christmas tour and said such sweet things, kept coming back to me and asking me where did I get this and that, and later I found out they considered us their favorite home and I found out that they lived in Lafayette Square!  One of the most beautiful areas in Saint Louis!  I was so humbled by their genuine interest of our home.  Yet... (see the pattern?) none of my family or my husband's family saw our house, and my daughter and her husband aren't really into the Christmas decorating like I am.  I feel like I do it for me and make everyone else "do" it.  My poor son-in-law is always put to work on his Thanksgiving break hauling up the boxes of decorations.  Is it time to simplify?  

I am going to end this bleak essay by reflecting on some things that went right:  we had a bumper crop of tomatoes (my favorite veggie) and our 37th anniversary dinner was spectacular!  I am not saying that these were the only events of 2014 that I loved, because they weren't.  I am finding a pattern here that I need to address within my own self and it is probably obvious to others what it is, even if it's not obvious to me, yet.  Have no fear, I am up to the task!

In 2009 I focused on the word Happiness for the year.  I think it might be time to re-examine this concept, but I think I want to focus on JOY.  Finding my true joy and helping others find theirs.  
Terri Steffes
Terri Steffes

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