This post is a bit different from what I normally write. Now, I know people talk a lot about New Year’s Resolutions around this time. And there’s nothing wrong with that, but I’m really just focusing on putting on 2013 behind me, because it was a kind of a rocky year for me.
I’m focusing on taking steps to move onward to (hopefully) bigger and better things than I have left behind.
If you visit my blog semi-often, you might know I made the decision in 2013 to walk away from a doctoral program I was doing well in. That was tough, for sure, and I’ve had my moments of panic, regret, and doubting whether I made the right choice.
If you know anything about academia, you know it has a way to “get” into you. It’s a calling, and a lifestyle, as much as it is a job, and it does have its place in the world and a true value. So walking away makes you feel a lot of things.
- Like you’re turning your back on the chance to make a difference for your students.
- Like you’re sacrificing the need for intellectual thought and discussion that academia fulfills. (Because believe me, you don’t stay in academia as long as I did unless there is a part of you that needs to be intellectually challenged.)
- Like you’re giving up, or failing somehow (even though all you’re really doing is choosing to do something else and forge a new path.)
I know that I did make the right choice, in my heart. As a faith-filled person, I believe God has used those experiences to shape me into a person better able and more willing to accomplish whatever it is he has planned for me. I’ve already seen some evidence of that.
All it really boils down to is this: periods of transition can be tough for everyone. I think we ALL tend to doubt ourselves during that time after a big life change before things come fully together and we see the payoff.
I guess if I have an unofficial New Year’s Resolution, it’s a two-parter:
- Not to get stuck questioning decisions I’ve made and can’t undo.
- To keep pushing myself out of my comfort zone, because that’s the only way any of us can improve ourselves.
That’s not a great resolution. It’s not concrete. It’s not got markers I can judge adherence or progress by. But like I said, it’s unofficial.
New Year’s is kind of bittersweet for those of us transitioning. When you’re in that “gray zone” or that “holding pattern” at the turn of the calendar year, it’s difficult to feel confident that things will head in the direction you want.
All we can do is what I like to call “active waiting.”
For me, that means trying to learn patience and humility while doing what I can to make the changes I want to see in my life and letting God do the rest according to his timeline.
I firmly believe a lot of good can come from active waiting. I’m not always as good at the “active” part of it, because I tend to overanalyze and overthink things. But hey, resolving to keep leaving my comfort zone is a great way to counteract that.
So here’s to 2014. I don’t know what it has in store, but hey, 2013 was one HECK of a ride. I sure learned a lot from it. And at the end of the day, that’s pretty cool.