One day, during the 364 days that have already passed in 2015, I found some big girl panties, put them on thinking it would make things better, and started making decisions for myself. Some of these decisions have been great and worthwhile, some of these decisions would be knee-slappers to onlookers, and some of these decisions were mistakes — I’m sure you know the type, the kind that make you face-palm and think “What the fuck was I thinking?” The moral of the story: wearing big girl panties hasn’t made a lick of difference. They make me look ridiculous, and I don’t know why I ever wore them.
Needless to say, it’s that time of year when many people think about the previous 364 days, about whether or not they accomplished their goals, became better people, crossed items off their bucket lists, or had any significant life changes. Logging into any form of social media will let you know that it’s the time for reflection. Reflection, when done honestly, is a powerful mirror. It can be much akin to ripping off a band-aid; it stings at first, but when what’s underneath is revealed, it provides the opportunity for healing.
It’s been difficult becoming a quarter century old this year. It’s kind of like, well shit, I don’t have a reason to not adult right, I’ve had 25 years to figure out this whole adulting thing, and the only thing I figured out is that if I pay my bills on time, my credit score goes up slowly. Mind blowing, I know. Like I once heard or read somewhere “fake it ’til you make it.” Being an adult is ALL about faking it. Anyway you can. That’s why I like working with kids; they haven’t been jaded to the point where they’re anything less than authentic. They fart, they giggle, they get over it. Farts are funny. I mean, really, who has time for a one-cheek-sneak?
All in all, there have been some pretty awesome things that have happened in 2015.
- In January, I went camping and had a pretty spectacular view from Garner State Park in Texas. Hiking and seeing the natural parts of the world has always been one of my favorite things to do because it’s so easy to just let everything else go and appreciate the world and its many wonders.
2. I was able to trade in my adult responsibilities for a day of silliness with some of my favorite Navarro Navigators. Yes, the costumes were hot, sweaty, and the face paint was gross by the end of the day, but getting to read to kids and dance all day as a part of Read Across America was pretty epic.
3. I learned a lot of teacher stuff and made a lot of memories at the ACSD conference in Houston with some pretty cool people that put up with my puns, anxiety, and inability to drink copious amounts of alcohol.
4. One of my best friends, Alex, convinced me to get back into running, and he convinced me to run my first 5K, SAISD’s annual Run for Education with him. As you can tell, I mastered the running part.
5. As a matter of fact, some of the best memories that I had during my “happiness project” was trying to create a work-life balance. Alex convinced me this could be done by exercising regularly. So we found a pretty awesome running trail at Tobin Park, and he would run and come back to push me along, pretending that we were being chased by zombies to motivate me to work towards the ever elusive thigh gap. If anything, my thigh gap disappeared this year.
6.Then there was the time that I graduated from Teach for America.The experience resulted in a pinata, a certificate, and was filled with many days where I cried in my car. The jury’s still out on how this experience has made me a better/ worse person.
7. Oh, and there was also that time that 15 of my students graduated from high school and I felt like a proud momma bear. I also cried a lot because I was so proud. What can I say, all of those buzzfeed quizzes tell me that I’m sensitive or something like that.
8. Then one time, I took a weekend get-a-way with a good friend, Lorena, and her family. We went to Port A, and, for all intents and purposes, I was a Mexican that weekend. It was great. There was Big Red, breakfast tacos, a lots of Lonestar, and I was the only one who ended up with a sunburn, even though I went through an entire bottle of sunscreen.9. The best month of my entire teaching career also happened during 2015. With Monica and James, we spearheaded (now that’s an adult word if I’ve ever used one) a social justice camp. The highlights: volunteering at a local food bank, a trip to the Holocaust Museum where we got to hear a Holocaust survivor speak, and a hike up Enchanted Rock. For more information, check out my article. http://therivardreport.com/navarro-navigators-a-social-awareness-summer-camp/
10. When one of your best friend gets a boyfriend who also lives in Texas, you drive 3 hours to see her because at any other given moment, she’s a good 26 hour drive away. Most of the time Amanda and I spend together is outside. This particular time, we decided to try our luck with border patrol by parking our car, running outside of it, and sneaking a picture with this sign. Getting chased off scene by border patrol and followed for a few blocks: worth it.
11. It was really during the end of the summer that everything changed. Maybe this was when I found the big girl panties, who knows. But, I dropped everything — literally everything, new apartment, best friend, job that I loved — and moved to Florida to move forward with my bae. Florida does weird things to my hair, but the view’s pretty awesome.12. So, yeah, I think the “adult” thing to do in that case, would’ve been securing a job before I made the 11 hour drive/ move to Fort Walton Beach, but when I’m gambling, I’m all in. Whether by fate or by some man upstairs looking out for me, I got to Florida Sunday, finished my application on Monday, applied to a job on Tuesday, interviewed on Wednesday, filled out paperwork with HR on Thursday, and started working on Friday. Not bad for chance, huh?
13. I came home from work one of the first weekends that I had been working to a surprise trip. I wasn’t allowed to know where we were going until we got there. Needless to say, it was Disney world. Talk about a panty-dropping moment. Surprise a grown adult woman with a trip to Disney and you’ve already done made her dreams come true.
14. The new job let me cross something off my bucket list: become an English teacher. This experience is so completely different and not really comparable to my time in San Antonio as a special education teacher. But the people I get to work with are silly, too. And silly makes me happy.
15. I got to end the year with another hiking trip – Glen Onoko Falls. Waterfalls soothe my soul, and are one of the things that I missed about Pennsylvania, after the people there, of course.
16. Surprisingly, there wasn’t any Final Destination ish that happened during the road trip to PA. The travels were fairly smooth, and I got to reconnect and visit many of the people that mean the most to me. I’ve only been back in Florida for a few days and I already want to go back. (Who knew being an adult came with feelings? Yuck.)
These are just a few of the highlights from 2015, and by no means are holistically representative of the year as a whole. As a matter of fact, what I am currently doing is much more representative of how I spent a lot of 2015 — not wearing pants, drinking coffee because it’s too early for Moscato, cuddling with my dog, listening to Shawn Mendes, toggling between Pinterest, Instagram, and Facebook, and chatting it up with some people who mean the world to me, but I don’t get to see every day. Most days, I’m just a sassy homebody who likes to correct people’s gramma
That’s when the realization hits: I’m one year closer to my life goal: to become an ornery old lady.