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Connect. Collaborate. Risk. Innovate.

Monday, 25 August 2014

Here's To a "Sweet" Year

          My new year doesn't begin on January 1st. I'm not really one to make New Year's resolutions and as an early riser, staying up until midnight is pretty much a Herculean task. For me, my new year has always started in September. Amidst the deluge of "back to school" commercials, as the days begin to shorten, and the evenings become crisper, it is during this time that I typically set my intentions and goals for the coming "year". And it's not only as an educator that I associate September with new beginnings. Rosh Hashanah, commonly referred to as Jewish New Years, also occurs in September. Growing up with an Irish Catholic mother, and a Jewish father, I've been fortunate to experience a wide range of holidays and traditions. I don't think I'll offend either branch of the family when I say that at their core, they both incorporate the same essential elements: food, family, and of course, a healthy dose of guilt!
          For me, Rosh Hashanah is primarily a time of reflection. It is an opportunity to examine past *mistakes, to make amends, and to learn and grow from these mistakes in order to do better in the coming year. To ensure a "sweet" new year, we eat apples dipped in honey (fortunately, amongst his many other professions, my dad is also a beekeeper), and challah, a braided sweet bread that on Rosh Hashanah is rolled into a circular shape to symbolize the cycle of the year. In my family, after we eat, we take turns going around the table, sharing something from the previous year that we are thankful for. To be honest, some years this is more difficult than others. But ultimately, whether it is a new job, renewed health, or a new bicycle, we each take a moment to express our gratitude. 
A variety of honey to choose from. Courtesy of Allen Garr apiaries!
          Fortunately, my blog serves as a helpful reminder of the past year. As I have commented in previous posts, it was one of challenges and opportunities. For me, the two typically go hand in hand. This year, my professional and personal goals are intermixed:
- To listen more and speak less.
- To move through each day with patience and gratitude.
- To recognize and support the emerging talents and skills of those around me.

          And so, with September only a week away, I wish everyone a happy new year! May it be one that is filled with much sweetness and joy. 

*For an interesting perspective, check out the NPR Ted Radio program- Making Mistakes

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