December 31, 2023


Dear December,

Thank you for holding space for new and old traditions alike. The holidays were merry and bright - with evening drives through neighborhoods to look at lights, playing basketball with the fiancé, exploring different neighborhoods, hanging out with my family, and learning how to play backgammon, too. They were low-key, but in the best way possible. It provided space for much-needed rest and a break from work, which was something I haven't ever had in my working career. As a teacher, I spent much of my winter break planning and prepping (and taking professional development courses), so logging off from work and actually unplugging was a strange, but really good feeling.

Both November and December also held moments of  deep reflection and processing. I'm taking a few moments today to chew on these words from one of my favorite work-related newsletters: "Reflect on what’s nourished your mind, heart, body, and spirit this year. When have you felt most alive? Most at ease? Most fulfilled?"

What's nourished my mind, heart, and body this year? The outdoors. Spending time in nature brings nourishment in more ways than I can count. Moving was - and has been - a really big adjustment for me, and much of that I found myself mourning over the loss of my favorite running and walking routes. I discovered some new ones in my new neighborhood and grounding myself in the morning with fresh air and movement has been really nourishing in moments of change and adjustment.

When have you felt most alive? I felt the most alive this year traveling - whether it was travels to present at a work conference, a weekend trip to BC, or a road trip to the coast for the day (among many other adventures), leaving the comforts of my home brought a new awareness of the world around me and the people, sights, sounds, and nature surrounding me, too. 

When have you felt most at ease? I felt the most at-ease post-holidays this year. After spending Christmas at my parents, there was a certain ease to and pull for me to come home to my new-to-me house. It was the first time that I spent the holidays "visiting" my childhood home and while it was strange to live out of a suitcase at my parents' house, it also felt really good to spend time with them. But coming back to my house, where nearly all of my belongings are? I felt a newfound coziness coming to my house and sitting down and curling up to watch a movie with my fiancé. 

When have you felt most fulfilled? This was a hard one. There were lots of moments where I felt fulfilled this year - many of which include new experiences at work (e.g. presenting at conferences); but I think I felt the most fulfilled getting engaged and turning this house into a home together. It wasn't one particular moment, but just experiencing engaged life - something that I've dreamed, prayed for, and hoped for for a long time - was something that felt like a dream and wish fulfilled. So much so, that I've often wanted to pinch myself if this is all real. 

Here's to a gentle, soft, and restorative new year - wishing you all love, joy, and calm this year!

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© IN ITS TIMEMaira Gall