The year 2019 is almost behind us and it is time to prepare for a new decade. I am so curious and excited as to what this new decade will bring forth. I must admit that I am definitely anxious when thinking about this country’s political future, but I must continue to have faith in Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.’s words that, “The arc of the moral universe is long, but it bends toward justice.”
Each year I complete a two-page reflection worksheet. I’ve been doing so for a little over a decade. I always relish the opportunity to reflect on the activities and accomplishments of the year, as well as reflect on what I could have done more of and what I would like to do in the upcoming year. Unfortunately, the consistent refrain in my past worksheets has been that I do not take enough time for myself to participate in physical activity. As a colleague recently told me as we complained about our various back and neck troubles, “The life of the mind is hard on the body!”
As I reflect on the year’s activities, I am reminded of a quote by Margaret Fairless Barber, “To look backward for a while is to refresh the eye, to restore it, and to render it more fit for its prime function of looking forward.” Hopefully, we will all find a few moments before the close of the year to assess, reflect, and then act.
The first step of my yearly reflection is to evaluate the following areas of my life for the past year and assign a letter grade (A, B, C, D, or F). The areas include: Work Life (everything to do with your primary money-making endeavors), School Life (books and reading and theses and such…if you’re still doing it), Free Time (everything to do with the other two-thirds of your life), Humble Abode (everything to do with your physical environment at home), Friendships (this one is self-explanatory), Romantic Interactions (everything to do with whom you date/pine for, etc.), Familial Interactions (everything to do with those people in your life whom you don’t choose), Health and Wellness (everything to do with how you take care of yourself physically), State of Mind (everything to do with your attitude toward life), Impact on Society (everything to do with how you change the world around you), Cultural Experiences (everything to do with the artistic/cultural/literary opportunities you engaged in), Creativity (everything to do with how you’ve used your creative energy to, um, create things).
These are just a few ways I reflect on the past year and plan for the future. I definitely have some areas of growth, but it is helpful to see my evolution. Hopefully this small task will help you ease out of 2019 and approach 2020 with a new sense of clarity and confidence.
Christina Greer, Ph.D., is an associate professor at Fordham University, the author of “Black Ethnics: Race, Immigration, and the Pursuit of the American Dream,” the co-host of the podcast FAQ-NYC.