2018: The Year of Change – and 4 Lessons I Learned from It

In 2017, I shared that it was the year of the “unexpected”. Quite frankly, the same could be said about 2018. However, there is a better word to describe 2018. A word that really encompasses everything that has transpired in the last year.

For me, 2018 was the year of change

Now, I wouldn’t say that I had a large number of changes this year. In fact, it was only a few changes – but they were big ones. It was the kind of changes that affects your daily life. It changes where you go, how you operate, or the people that you see.

In 2018, I became a mom to my beautiful daughter, Ava. I would say that this was the greatest and most profound change of the year. In addition to this, I changed jobs – twice. I went from teaching at a middle school, to being a program coordinator for an educational technology company, and back to teaching.

While that is only two changes – they were big ones. As a result of these changes, I feel like I have learned four very important lessons from this year. Four lessons that have helped me grow as a person and as an educator.

Lesson #1: Follow Your Passion

To me, I really hate the phrase “follow your passion”. It sounds cheesy and a little bit too millennial. It makes me think of someone who ditches all logic to follow some passion that might not be financially or personally logical.

Yet, in the last year, I started to change my mind on this phrase. I started to realize how important it is to follow your passion, especially when it comes to your career. After all, if you spend 40+ hours a week at a job, isn’t it critical that you absolutely love what you do?

For myself, I realized that my passion was to be in a school setting. It’s where my heart lies. When I left the classroom earlier this year, it was a heartbreak I couldn’t get over. I absolutely loved teaching and working in a school setting. To not be a part of that every day was more difficult than I could ever imagine. Fortunately, I had amazing employers (on both sides) who supported me and encouraged me to do what I felt was “my passion”, as well as what was right by myself and my family.

In the end, I learned that it is important to follow your passion and find your purpose in life. That passion will be the thing that lights a fire underneath you and can inspire you to make positive changes in the world around you.

Lesson #2: Never Talk in Absolutes

It’s somewhat ironic that this lesson states that you should “never” talk in absolutes which, in itself, is an absolute. But, that’s beside the point.

Another lesson that I learned this year was to never say things like, “I plan on doing…” or “I would never leave…” or “I only want to do…” When you talk in absolutes, a couple of things can happen. First, it can close the door to possible opportunities. Second, you are going to look like (for lack of a better word) an idiot when you change your mind or go back on your statements.

In the last few years, I always talked in absolutes and ended up eating my words later. It makes me wonder if people didn’t think I was serious, or maybe that I was a little young, when it came to some of the decisions that I have made. Nowadays, I have learned to say things like, “I think it would be interesting to…” or “I am open to the idea of…” By rephrasing things in this way, I keep my options open and I prevent myself from looking like an indecisive professional.

Lesson #3: Get People Out of Your Head

I’ve always had a tendency of letting people get into my head. It’s one of my worst qualities. I care too much about what other people say and/or think about me. However, as I went through this year, I started to gain some confidence in my choices. As a new mom, I constantly received opinions on how to best raise my daughter. In relation to my career, I continuously received opinions on the career choices I had made. In the end, I learned that people are always going to have opinions. But, they are just that – opinions.

Make smart, well-informed choices, then stand by your decisions. Don’t let other people’s insecurities affect your confidence in the decisions you make. Understand that you are a strong, confident and intelligent person who can listen to the opinions of others but, in the end, make the choices that are best for you and your family.

Lesson #4: It’s Not All About Work

Finally, one of the greatest lessons that I learned this year was quite simple:

Not everything is about work.

I’ve never been great about work-life balance, which has often been talked about in many of my blog posts. However, by having a daughter this year, my eyes were opened to the fact that not everything is about my career. In fact, that isn’t even the most important part of my life. The most important part is spending quality time with the people you love.

Yes, love what you do. Be passionate and inspired. Work hard. But, never do it at the expense of neglecting your loved ones. You only have this one life to live. Live it well.

What word describes your 2018? What are some lessons that you have learned this year? Share in the comments below!

3 thoughts on “2018: The Year of Change – and 4 Lessons I Learned from It

  1. I couldn’t agree more! My son is 21 and I missed out on a lot of his school activities as a teacher. He was the only child in elementary who didn’t have a lunch buddy. Thank goodness a kind hearted friend stepped in but I should’ve been there. Don’t get so busy with your career that you forget to prioritize those you love. After they grow up and move out, you’ll realize what’s really important.

Leave a Reply

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.