Happy New Year to Me!

I’m going to try something new for me this year and write about the New Year. I normally would not do this for a couple of reasons. First, I despise “sap,” so I just try to avoid it at all costs. Pair that with reason number two: my holidays traditionally stink. Events surrounding past holidays have rendered most of them something I endure rather than something I enjoy. But this year is going to be different. I’m going to see to it.

Rather than bracing myself for the impact of the bad things that usually occur, I’m going to approach certain events and activities with a “let’s wait and see” attitude. I’m going to take a deep breath, hope for the best, and head into the deep waters. This year, as Christmas approached, I was filled with dread. With tradition of horrible Christmases past on its side, this year was appearing to be no different as the month progressed. One thing after another had me convinced that my best recourse was to stay in bed and keep my head covered the whole day. I never could have guessed what would happen.

I was shocked when my son, my Marine son, walked into my house! He wasn’t supposed to be able to leave his base, but with the help of my husband and parents, he was able to get a ride home. It was a remarkable surprise. We already know that he will not be home for Christmas in 2016, but we have a connection of the heart that miles cannot separate. We’ll be together no matter where we are.

Additionally, I’m going to spend more time this year doing those things that make me happy. I often approach these activities as a means to simply release stress. Instead, I’m going to purposely enjoy them. Every time! I often tell people that I dance to keep from throat punching stupid people, and that is true. To make matters worse, we are in a presidential election cycle. Flooding my social media pages with posts about your candidate and why he/she really is the coming messiah makes me want to throat punch you. So I do dance to avoid spending time in jail.

But I also dance because I really like it! And I’m moderately good at it. And it is crazy fun!

So this year when I dance, I’m going to just enjoy it. I’m going to learn more about it and get better at it. A dance partner recently told me that, “Silver level foxtrot is fun.” I agree! It is fun, and this year, I’m going to get really good at it and enjoy every single step.  And when I have a bad lead, and we do a dance that isn’t so good, and I can’t figure out what he wants me to follow, I’m going to dance, smile, not think that his bad lead is really my inability to follow, and just look forward to the next dance.

I also walk. A year ago that would have seemed like torture. I didn’t want to walk any further than the garage. After spending a month early this year wearing a boot to recover from a torn tendon in my ankle, I grew to hate having to sit. Once the boot came off and I was cleared to try, I started walking. They were short walks at first, but now I can easily do 3.5 miles, and I walk at least 3 miles four days a week. I enjoy listening to music and walking through the neighborhood, waving to people I’ve still not met. I’ve not lost a single pound, nor have I lost any inches. My blood pressure has not come down any, but I feel better, and enjoy the time. So I’m going to keep walking this year.

My favorite thing I have ever done in my entire life is teaching. I love working with students. I enjoy teaching a number of subjects, most especially history and government. So this year, I am finding a way to do that more than ever. I’m considering a business venture in which I will get to teach students across the country. Even if it doesn’t work out, I’m going to find a way to be in front of students. If all I can teach are lessons in how to scrub toilets, I would still do it. It’s the art of teaching that I love, not the subject matter.

Speaking of teaching, I’m going to quit being afraid of teaching. Sometimes, especially when it is adults who have even a perceived position of authority over me, I’m afraid to tell them something that I know. I see that they are struggling with something, and I know the answer that will help them. Yet because of their position, I won’t speak up. I’m afraid I will embarrass them. I’m also afraid that I will be seen as being arrogant, a know-it-all, an attribute I detest.  I’m really a very good teacher. I’m going to quit being shy about it. Furthermore, those people who accuse me of being arrogant can bite me. I work very hard to achieve everything I do and have. Few things come easily to me. So they can think what they want, but I’m not playing their game.

The goal for my 2016 then will be to enjoy those things I enjoy more deeply and to do them as often as possible. I won’t be picking up anyone else’s “monkeys” or “circuses,” since I have enough of my own. And I will continue to write this blog. Even though I’ve taken some hits from readers who disagree, I still enjoy writing. I hope you’ll continue reading it.

Happy 2016!


~Temerity Dowell

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