“And in the end, it’s not the years in your life that count.
It’s the life in your years.”
– Abraham Lincoln
My Indonesian ‘dress cut’ experience

I took this seriously last year; breathing some life into areas that have been dormant, neglected, or otherwise overlooked.  Another year of happiness, laughter and lessons learned – here are some of my favorites:

Go big.

This year was really about trying something new-all the time.  I forced myself in directions I never knew I was interested in or qualified for.  I wrote-a lot.  I threw it all out there and watched where it landed, pushed a few pieces into place, and found some that had gone missing.  I learned that going big is often scary, but always worth it.

Let go.
My kids officially grew taller than me this year.  It actually was a humbling experience when my baby boy passed me up.  Watching my daughter drive away from me for the first time chipped a piece off my heart, reminding me  I had to let go and trust that everything has a way of working itself out.  I released some habits and situations that weren’t working for me, looking for more positive instead of negative.  I learned that letting go is growing forward.
Work hard.
I surely did that this year.  I pushed for my best and tried not to repeat what wasn’t working for me.  I showed up.  I tried.  I learned that working hard is exhausting, but creates energy in the right places.
Be humble.
I went places this year that I never imagined I would.  I felt outnumbered, out of place, and out of control.  I remember the calls to prayer, the fears, and the deep sense of respect at how small a world we live in, yet what a large part I can play.  I learned that being humble can bring safety and comfort, and that relinquishing control can reveal a whole new perspective.

Say no.
Learning to stand up for ourselves can take a lifetime.  Watching bullying, in our community, our country, and our world gave me the power to practice saying no.  Daily, I listened to one of my college interns call out ‘Make good choices’ to my students as they exited my classroom door, and tried to do the same.  I learned that saying no allows me to say yes when I want to, and that going with my gut is usually takes me in the right direction.
Be grateful.
Obama’s elementary school in Jakarta

I saw people and places this year that shattered my heart and made me fearful for our future.  I met people who lifted me up, taught me about hope, and reminded me to make peace with what I have, where I am, and who I’m with.  This year, I learned that blessings come in a multitude of ways, and that happiness and gratitude hold hands.

As I end 47 and open the chapter of 48, I think of all that I’ve experienced:  the children, parenting, family, teaching, education, memories and motherhood that blended themselves together and brought such lessons to me.  Typing this, I’m reminded of all that I hold close, and all that is yet to come.  I’m happy about 47, and watch out 48- I’ve got big ideas waiting to throw at you.  This is definitely not the time to feel old!

Jennifer Wolfe

Jennifer Wolfe, a writer-teacher-mom, is dedicated to finding the extraordinary in the ordinary moments of life by thinking deeply, loving fiercely, and teaching audaciously. Jennifer is a Google Certified Educator, Hyperdoc fanatic, and a voracious reader. Read her stories on her blog, mamawolfe, and grab free copies of her teaching and parenting resources.

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  1. I wish I could say that I can’t relate to any of this but lo and behold, I cannot. It really touches those nerves, in a good way. Always nice to know that that you’re not alone. Great attitude and here’s to 48!

  2. Abundantly Insightful Post.

    “”calls to prayer, the fears, and the deep sense of respect at how small a world we live in, yet what a large part I can play.**

    My Favorite line.


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