June is one of my favorite months of the year for a couple of reasons. First of all, to me, it represents the first month of summer. I remember as a young child relishing the end of the school year. I loved waking up excited for no homework and for freedom to be outside, playing, swimming, and staying up late. I still cherish the longer days this season brings, as well as being out in the sunshine (free from bundling up in coats, gloves, hats) and the slower pace that typically comes with summer.

Secondly, June is a favorite because it’s my birthday month. I love birthdays! I love acknowledging others’ birthdays (I think I talked about that in a previous blog) and I love celebrating mine. Not because of potential gifts; that’s not necessarily my “thing”. I don’t need pomp and circumstance from others (simple acknowledgments suffice for me), but I like knowing I’m progressing in my life, growing in wisdom and experience. I look forward to the days ahead knowing good things lie in wait (and also know challenges will come too). This year happens to be a milestone birthday for me. I start a new decade and am so excited about what the future holds.

Typically, the weeks leading up to my birthday are reflective for me. This year that has been even more of the case as there are circumstances impacting my immediate family and my extended family that provide even more fodder to ponder (oh?! I like those words together!?) During this time, I think about where I’ve been and where I’m going. What are lessons learned? Who and what are the influencers in my life?  I think this time of year can also be reflective for educators as they wind down a school year. It can be a great opportunity to consider what went well and where there are opportunities for growth. With each new year there are changes to be better versions of ourselves. Isn’t that exciting?!

I thought it may be beneficial to share some of the realizations I’ve been contemplating recently. Perhaps some of them with resonate with you. Here are some of my reflections.

  1. Relationships serve a purpose. Sometimes connections with others can be for just a season or a reason. Not all relationships are life-long and that’s ok. I am fortunate to have several life-long friendships, ones I have chosen to maintain. There is a history and comradery there that is invaluable. They bring stability, familiarity, and longevity (kind of like a base camp). There are other relationships that come and go. Perhaps they were temporary to teach a brief lesson or to bring reprieve or an awareness of a need and then they depart after they’ve done their job. And then of course there are relationships that fall in between and are on a continuum. Each of these contribute to who we are and who we become. Even if there is pain involved as they come to an end, it can all be for good. Acknowledge them, celebrate them, embrace the good in them, learn from them and keep on giving your heart.
  2. Pick your battles. As I get older, I’m becoming more discerning about how to spend my energy. In my younger years, especially as a social worker I wanted to fight every fight (maybe I should even say win every fight?)  I also inserted myself in situations around me even if it only involved me indirectly. I got into “everyone’s business”, invited or not. That can be welcomed by some, who perhaps are happy to defer to others to intercede (it can also be annoying too). But either way it was exhausting. I’m learning now to stay in my lane and let others handle their business (see previous blogs on that too).  I’m happy to help as needed and as I am able. I’m wondering if there are boundaries you can set too to save your energy. It’s hard to do at times, but the payoff is worth it.
  3. Kindness matters. Remember the saying “If you don’t have anything nice to say…” I’m seeing that over and over, in our society. Social media, media in general, conversations overheard in public places, things are negative. It can be demoralizing. I’m intentionally trying to find good in situations. Sending “thinking of you” texts when people cross my mind. Putting positive energy out into the world is needed now more than ever before. AND I am convinced it comes back to serve you/me when we do that. I’m also realizing that being nice pays off in the long run. Over the years I’ve been careful in many situations to not burn bridges and several recent interactions have benefited me professionally and personally as a result. Who can’t use that?

I look forward to celebrating life with friends and family in the coming weeks. Embarking on a new journey in a new decade with uncharted territory ahead. I hope, whether you celebrate a birthday in one of the best months (June) or not, that this is a time off away from school and all its pressures that you can also reflect on life’s lessons and all your future has to offer as well. Enjoy!

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