Happy New Year everyone! Yes, I mean it with all my crazy heart!!!

It is a new year after all, I swear. But this is the first year. This is the first year ever. This is the first year ever that I am not in school. For as long I can actually, legitimately remember I have always in some capacity been in a school. Always. From the days of pre school or day care, the middle school hell years of living as an awkward human, to sitting in a lecture hall as a college kid, as a teacher and an admin, to my year with Zen and the art, my whole life has been spent in a school. My whole damn life. Hell, some of my earliest memories are of me falling asleep next to a card catalogue with my etch a sketch. My whole life in a school and yeah, shit thats a lot of years…and great, now I feel old. 

Truth be told, right now I think it is supposed to be New Year’s for me. It is a feeling I can’t shake. The end of summer is always the start of the brand new school year. A new beginning full of wonder, stress, excitement and oh so very important routine. A return to what we rather instinctively know. But this is the first year.

I think about what a dear friend would say to her kiddos starting school, that everything is all new, exciting and scary. Right now is a new beginning for so many of my peeps young and old alike and I am for the first time watching from the sidelines and I feel like I am in a galaxy far far away.  Perhaps for some it is the start of the last semester of college and the scary part is realizing that that chapter will soon be coming to an end with the real world looming on the horizon. I can see that. Maybe it’s the very first day of class away from home and the excitement of finding the first party to go to. Maybe it’s the first time teaching an AP class and the pressure is on already for those scores and that’s scary. So many teachers are sitting at a desk in a moment of silence, perhaps the last one for months in a painstakingly decorated room waiting for it to fill with new faces. Genuine excitement. For so many people in my world this is New Year’s, the very definition of NES, and I see and hear their renewals. I am a bit envious, but that was the old me and I know that.

But dammit, this is supposed to be a new year, a time of resolutions and hopeful beginnings. However, there is no giant glitter ball dropping in Time’s Square to count down with us. There aren’t any silly party hats and cheap feather boas that line the streets just after midnight. There aren’t life coaches on every ad you see/hear telling you how to drop your holiday pounds you have yet to even gain (because really if nothing else the pumpkin spice devil will get you) . There are no official midnight kisses or proper songs to sing. There’s not even a party because it doesn’t seem like a time of celebration. But this is New Year’s, it really is.

This is a different New Year though.  This is the first year I remember not walking down isles at Target for notebooks or making seating charts or master schedules or attending meetings and meeting my new kids. Weird. I’m not shopping for backpacks and the elusive perfect to go coffee cup that will actually not pour coffee down the last white shirt because of a shitty lid. I don’t have the first day jitters keeping me up all night the night before the first day of school. I don’t have an outfit to pick out, or to set my alarm for an ungodly hour for someone who just isn’t a morning person. I didn’t pack a salad. A lifetime of bell schedules. The bells are gone. They toll for someone else. It’s strange. I feel like I’ve gone AWOL. I feel like I have just… gone rogue.

This year, this rogue one is in many ways the most new, exciting and scary and full of promise of any new year I can remember.  I shouldn’t be worried, but I am a worrier. I should be excited and often I am. But mostly, going rogue just feels…scary. Finally though, I’m learning that it’s a good thing to be a little scared.  If nothing else, being a bit nervous keeps you on your toes and reminds us we are human. That’s a beautiful thing.

But we are creatures of habit, we go with what we know. After all, we accept and know as a collective that it takes a few weeks to truly form a habit, and recently I have learned that some habits after years of having them are literally wired into our brains. Literally part of our biology,  part of our very bloody grey matter of a circuitry. Having spent a lifetime with the ringing bells, the new faces and the challenges of school I know that part of me has to literally break with biology or evolve in another way. I have habits to unlearn and that is invigorating and really hard because at this point, I think I have only just begun to realize how integral they really are for me. So is it setting a new routine or allowing the freedom to let one settle in on itself? I am just not sure what this year brings in any way, and the newness of that is settling in. I have the freedom to go do it. Whatever it is. My horizon is open but it feels so very very far away. Of course, thanks to Monkey brain and a love of Star Wars, I made a nerd correlation. Shocker. My Monkey reminded me diligently of the word rogue and made me think of this moment…and smile.

“There you are. I’m standing by as you requested, although there’s a problem on the horizon. There’s no horizon.” -K2SO

Yeah, that. Because Bitch brain gets me sometimes, hits me hard with questions like…what if there isn’t a horizon?

The Rogue One year, the first year not doing exactly what I have been programmed to do. I will not take it for granted. I damn well know I am blessed beyond measure and that most people dream of having an open horizon, of being able to go rogue. But maybe, just maybe for me that is actually the problem, as it is for so many of us if we are being honest with our selves. We are so programmed, literally programmed like a droid to plan, to think ahead, to calculate the odds (never tell me the odds) that we forget the beauty that comes from breaking with our programming a bit, going rogue and trying something new. Truly whatever it is, I have the hope that I just can’t see it…yet. Looking for a new horizon, going a bit rogue takes courage. It takes guts to just hop in and go, with nothing but hope in your heart. But that’s part of celebrating a new year too. Cliche alert…new year new me right?

New years is officially a time for reflection and resolution. A time where we actually take the time to set out new intentions and paths. But, as a lifetime schoolie (yep making up a word)  I know a new year can come whenever you actually want it. I got to see it all the time and didn’t even realize it.  A transfer mid year for a new start from some drama or a shitty semester.  When a medical event forces your hand into self awareness and to make a break from the norm. When you finally decide to buy the bike. These are all new starts, they are all taking a chance to do something different and they need to be celebrated. We need to celebrate a chance for renewal wherever and whenever it comes. But I haven’t broken free from all of my programming yet and my brain still says it’s new years now. So I really do mean this…with all of the nerd love I have to give.

Happy New Year’s friends. Toast to a new year and make it a good one, rogue or otherwise.

“It’s a chance for you to make a fresh start.” – Mon Mothma

Learning to live unafraid.

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