16 Lessons from 2016

2016 was hard.

The world lost David Bowie, Alan Rickman and Prince. Here, in Park City we lost Mandy in the most horrific way possible.

An “un-presidented” election season led to Donald Trump’s “Thank You” tour. New words, like “bigly” and “yuge” were added to the national dialogue.

Native Americans stood up at Standing Rock. Women wore white pantsuits to show solidarity. We realized that until #blacklivesmatter, all lives don’t matter.

Princess moved into the Hooker Horde.

I learned the following:

  1. imgresLove does trump hate. In the musical, Aspects of Love, there is a line: “You can’t feel more than one emotion at a time.” There is only love.
  2. Feeding fresh natural food makes us all feel better and live longer. images-1I read an article that confirmed my belief that the whole Hooker Horde needs fresh vegetables. Betty White is now 17 or 18 and planning to outlive us all.
  3. Change is good. I moved from my comfortable teaching gig at the junior high school, where I knew the curriculum forwards and backwards to teaching AP Language, Honors 10, and Student Council at Park City High School. My brain is challenged. My colleagues are generous with their time and talent. I’m learning.
  4. Mean people are usually mean for a reason. Mean-spiritedness masks insecurity. When you understand that someone’s meanness is about them and not you, it hurts less and allows you to forgive.
  5. We can’t fix everything, but we can make everything a little bit better.15317872_10154799052014451_4322620111089682629_n
  6. Time and shared experiences mean more than any item, bank balance, or place.
  7. Follow the OHIO (Only Handle it Once) rule. For example, when the mail arrives, sort it at the mailbox and discard anything that will not be useful. Fold the laundry AND put it away.
  8. Chocolate. img_5301Chocolate makes everything better. Having spent time in Tandem Chocolates, I understand that real chocolate requires the finest ingredients, time, talent, and creativity.
  9. An extra layer with sprinkles hides a multitude of sins . . .this applies to clothing and cooking. When I wear an extra sweatshirt, it hides the extra chocolate I consumed. When I hand roll a chocolate ball and sprinkle it with candy cane bits, it hides any mistakes from the mold.
  10. I look forward to Secret Santa all year long. Whether it is at school with my students and colleagues or my Kaibab family, I love shopping for someone I don’t know with just a few clues. This year, at school, I was surprised that one of my students listed “Bit O’ Honey” as his favorite candy. Who likes Bit O’ Honey?  But, I found out that he loves his Maltese named “Sugar.” Then, there’s my Kaibab family. This year, we met a 7-month old rescued Berner named, Houser. We connected with a dog in North Carolina. And, we go to know a human in California. Three Secret Santas visited the Hooker Horde. We are so grateful that strangers, and those that aren’t strangers, took time to get to know us.dsc_0193
  11. One-a-days. During the summer, football players have two practices a day. Each solstice, I jump on my one-a-day plan. This year, I plan to maintain my one-a-day routine. I clean/organize one space each day. Today, I cleaned out the guest bathroom linen closet. IMG_5407.jpg
  12. Angels. From Angel cards to actual living breathing angels. Dwight never leaves our house. (Literally, his ashes are inside this sphere.)img_5283 Angel Ariel wraps her wings around our home and keeps everyone safe. Archangel Michael travels with me every day.
  13.  Teamwork. It is all about teamwork. Mary-Ann wrote a blog about #teamsparklers. When I felt overwhelmed with Princess’ surgery, Mary-Ann shared the hashtag, #teamprincess. It made me feel supported and like I can handle whatever comes. At school, I have teams. The administration, my department, and all of my colleagues team up to do what is best for our students.
  14. Be quiet. Just listen.
  15. Sometimes, doing nothing is the best thing.
  16. Be optimistic. Moving into 2017, that is all we can do. We can have hope. yoda-hope-meme

About Julie Hooker

I'm a teacher, writer, and editor. In addition, I'm an animal rescuer, yogi, and friend.
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