It's hard to believe we're wrapping up 2012 and welcoming in 2013. Like many people, for the past month I've been thinking about how to make the most out of 2013. One of my favorite writers, Don Miller, writes about making new year resolutions; he writes, "Goals work much better when they're set within a narrative context. Frodo would not have gone on his journey unless the fate of Middle Earth depended on it. [...] Without a narrative context, we have little motivation to become different people than we are." When we think of our lives as stories, and when we're deliberate in creating our stories--then perhaps we can set specific goals that will help us live out the best story possible.
I think most people I've met want to live meaningful lives that tell good stories. To be honest, I don't quite know what story I want to tell with my life. I couldn't map out a plot for you because my plot line would be messy and confusing. And I'm not sure it's healthy to write our own stories and determine our own endings. I do know this: I want to tell a story that is filled with passion for God, love for others, that is messy with conflict because, let's face it...we learn the most from conflict. I want to tell a story that doesn't hold back and offers moments for quiet reflection. When I think of my life in this context, these goals come to mind:
1. Memorize one Bible verse a week. I feel like this goal would help me to connect with God on a more intimate level because it requires daily practice. During my marathon training last year, I used my long runs as times to practice memorizing scripture and it helped pull me through some difficult runs.
2. I want to keep running because it offers that quiet reflection that I feel is necessary in living well. But I want to branch out and have at least one social run a week so I can use that time to connect with someone new. This goal will be a stretch for me. I had a great running partner in Ogallala, and I find myself comparing every running partner with Kristin! The older I get, the more introverted I become; it's way easier to live in solitude. But there is something to be said for a few close friends. I'm still a little fuzzy on how to implement this goal since my social skills are a bit rusty....but for now I'm planning on reactivating my Facebook account (gasp!) so I can seek out a few runners I know. I've got a few races on the list for 2013. I'm planning on running the Rock the Parkway half marathon in Kansas City this April for sure. I'm still debating between signing up for the Chicago Marathon--it's incredibly expensive, and Nate is busy that weekend, so I'd be on my own. If I don't do that race, I'm looking at running a half in the Black Hills with Kristin in June and then possibly either the full marathon here in Omaha this coming September or the 30 mile Market to Market solo run (I'm still not sure how I'll do with high mileage training during the summer months...).
3. Work less. I'm struggling with how to articulate this more specifically. I love teaching English, but I don't want this to be the most important part of my life. The more I work, the more I start to resent teaching. My career won't be sustainable if I go at the pace I've been running for the past five years. I want to take time each week to talk with my husband without a computer on my lap, to read whatever I want to read, to cook, to write, and to play guitar. This goal has been one of mine each year since I've started teaching, and I always seem to fail at it. I'm going to need lots of help with this one...