Once upon a time these used to be really popular and yet I see less and less of them now. I love New Year’s Day as it feels like a clean page, a fresh start and an opportunity to reflect upon the year past and make plans for the future. People talk about vision boarding and how when you visualise or really deeply consider the things you want that they are more likely to happen so here are my goals for 2023.
Health – I am not well and haven’t properly been for a while. I am working my way through lots of tests and scans with my doctor. So far, we have determined I have high cholesterol and I have been diagnosed with lymphedema. My abdominal scan was clear but I have a couple more coming up that I am more nervous about. A case of when you know, you know. In the mean time, I’m focusing on trying to control what I can control and I need to seriously look at my diet. I am a total foodie and love nothing more than a glass of wine but am going to have to re-evaluate to lower my cholesterol and get my lymphedema under control. Sadly, this means I am aiming for an alcohol free January and lessening the good stuff, such as cheese and fatty foods. It definitely isn’t going to be easy but needs must. Pondering the vegetarian route and am always inspired by the foods I see from a couple of vegetarian people I follow.
Read – I only read 36 books last year. That is an all time low for me. Work has been hard and there have simply been times when I haven’t felt like it. I want to do better this year. I do strongly believe that if I want my pupils to read, me being a good role model and advocate for reading is really important. I challenge them to read 40 books and expect myself to do the same. So I am challenging myself to read 40 books and have an amazing stack now on my coffee table after a binge buy in the UK. I would like to alternate between fiction, youth-fiction, education books and I would love to read more non-fiction as well. My challenge for January: Hagseed (for the book club here in Rome), Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets (my pupils have challenged me to read all of the Potters), Revision Revolution and Stanley Tucci’s Taste.
Travel – travel fills my cup. I love travelling but ran out of money last year so didn’t do as much as I would like. I am now in the position where I have started to plan ahead. I had a wonderful time in London and already have Lisbon at half term booked and Sofia at Easter. I am also privileged to be flying to Brazil in April for some work – my first long distance flight in forever. I hate flying but as the skies have opened back up and I travel more, I am getting better at it once again.
Art – I love art. I love creating. You will always find me at some gallery or exhibition. Recently, I have enjoyed the Van Gough exhibition here and an exhibition for Raoul Dufy, which was a surprising hit. When I went back to London the V&A and Tate Modern were top of my list. I particularly love the Impressionists. I have joined an art group here in Rome, which I love. It’s been a great way to meet people and get creative. I have bought lots of sketch books and materials – oils, pastels, paints. I’d like to create but not sure where to start and what to do. I need to find some inspiration or find a project to start. It was so funny when I went home because my brother has started painting too and we had such a good chat about it. We are both finding a lot of joy in art.
Tackling my imposter syndrome. It’s amazing how we can talk ourselves down or let other people reduce us to nothing. I’ve had quite a difficult time work wise over the past couple of years and I have let myself be reduced. I have also let people affect my confidence to the point where I feel I have nothing to contribute anymore. I need to step my game up. I desperately want to get this KS3 book written – there isn’t one out there and I love teaching KS3 more than anything so I am going to regroup and get this done. I am also flying to Brazil to talk at an Education conference. It has been an honour to be asked to present here. I am absolutely phobic about public speaking though and I would be lying if I said I wasn’t terrified already. I think that speaking at this conference might be the biggest challenge of professional career to date. And, of course, in May we have ResearchEdItalia 2. We have some of my educational heroes speaking at this event and so I am really really excited. I think it is true that international schools are behind in research-informed practice and I am passionate that we bring more of this to Italy. I have plans beyond ResearchEd for this too. I also want to blog more – more as a reflective tool than anything and I want to continue to share my resources – the best part of Twitter. Most of all, I want to professionally challenge myself without letting the profession dominate my life.
What I have come to realise though – maybe it’s something that happens as you hit 40 – is that life is it’s actual best when you take joy from the simple things in life. And that’s what we should all strive for, I reckon…lots and lots of joy…whatever that may look like for each of us. Let 2023 be joyous.