It’s safe to say that when people reflect back on 2016 as a whole, they may not have the greatest things to say about it. A lot of crappy things happened in the world that reminded us that humanity still has a long way to go. A lot of celebrities died, many before their time. Politically speaking, there were a lot of disasters. I lost my Opa, a type of grief that I wasn’t ready for at all, and am still dealing with.
Many people are counting down until the end of this year, and for those reasons, I understand.
Personally, however, my 2016 story is a little bit different.
In 12 months, I may have experienced more life changing, exciting, positive moments than maybe ever before. I completed my long practicum of teaching, with an incredible group of students and the best School Associate anyone could ever dream of. I was hired into two school districts, quickly getting the chance to first teach grade 7 for the final two months of the school year (with another incredible class, creating bonds with kids I never anticipated), and then being unbelievably lucky to land my own classroom for the first half of this school year. My grade 6/7 class has been life changing for so many reasons. I have discovered so many passions within teaching that I didn’t expect, I’ve grown in my craft and in my confidence, and best of all I’ve got a group of students that is going to be impossible… IMPOSSIBLE… to say goodbye to in a few weeks. I think there’s a Winnie the Pooh quote that talks about being so lucky to have something that’s so hard to say goodbye to, and that’s how I feel about my class. They’re smart, quirky, beautiful little humans who are going to do so much in this world and I can’t believe I’ve gotten the chance to be a part of their journey. That’s been the absolute best part of 2016 for me: realizing that 100%, without question, all of those years of volunteering and university and working four jobs has paid off, because this is the very best job for me in the entire world. So I can’t really fault 2016 for any of that.
It’s a little crazy to think about everything that has happened this year. I made incredible new friends through PDP. I also lost a few incredibly important friendships, some of which I’m still not sure why. To those people, I hope you’re doing well, and I’m not holding any hostility, just good thoughts.
I got to travel far more than I anticipated. My grand Europe trip of 2015 was somewhat of a signal of the end of my trips for the foreseeable future, and yet by April I was back on a plane to London! This was a “work trip”, one where I fell in love with a teaching job and accepted it. Can you imagine if I’d followed through on that? If I hadn’t gone to my job interviews at home, hadn’t ultimately refused that contract? I’d be ringing in the New Year in a pub somewhere in the English countryside, a life I had always imagined having before my own life decided it had other plans for me. Now, I can’t imagine being anywhere else but where I am.
Still, I got to visit my friends in California, take the train along the pacific coast, travel to Leavenworth with my best friends for the holidays and take a few short breaks up to Harrison throughout the year. So maybe I didn’t get to experience the possibility of weekend trips to Dublin or Glasgow, but I’m pretty happy with the way things all turned out.
So 2016, I WILL miss you, for the gifts you have given me and for person I have become in these months. Here’s to hoping that 2017 is as beautiful, rewarding, and full of love. Happy New Year, everyone!