2013 did not go as planned. At the beginning of the year I fully expected to still be a teacher at the end of it. That’s not how the year worked out, and I’ve spent the last six months trying to figure out this new identity. Stay at home mom? Work at home mom? Temporarily at home mom?

The truth is that I have no idea what 2014 will look like, at least not professionally. I’m pretty sure my home life will still be as warm and fulfilling, and my friends and family will still be amazing. I hope it will be full of creativity and new knowledge. I hope I try lots of things and don’t completely fail at them all.

I sort of took a hiatus from my regularly scheduled programming this year. There were fewer things made, fewer books read, fewer things cooked. I think it’s safe to say there was a bit of an identity crisis, and the presence of a neverending tornado named Hannah left little energy behind. There was just less of me to give to the activities that help make me whole, and some of it just held no interest for me. I’m hoping to regain my footing with those things in 2014.

Usually the beginning of January is a time when I look forward eagerly to the announcement of the Caldecott and Newbery awards. I’m strategizing the second half (or, really, two-thirds) of the school year, with big programs, book orders, and my classic lesson plans. I honestly don’t even know what the Caldecott and Newbery contenders are right now. My brain turned off that bit of interest for the second half of 2013, and now all of my librarian peers feel a little like aliens. What are they talking about? Am I even still a part of that world? Am I a librarian, or a former librarian? And, am I actually all that upset if it’s the latter? I don’t know, because I feel like I might be evolving into something else, and hopefully something equally great.

My years have been defined by the school year calendar for quite a while now, whether as a teacher or as a student. So January hasn’t felt like such a clean slate in years. I’m typically already well into my new year by January, so it feels like the rolling over of a calendar but not so much the beginning of a space of time. This year is really different.

That is terrifying in some ways. There’s so much comfort in knowing where you need to be every day, especially when you’ve done something long enough to take the guesswork out of it. The expectations were clear before, and now they’re being entirely invented by me. Terrifying, but also really, really liberating.

This year the new year is a clean slate. I’m standing at the beginning of it with absolutely no idea what it will look like by the end. I kind of like the uncertainty, but it’s also unnerving. It’s a lot more responsibility than I’ve had before, to be the one creating and figuring out what to be next.

So I can’t say that 2013 was bad. It was different, that’s for sure. The last three months as a teacher were harder than I could possibly express in print. But then after that this whole new life started opening up. I’m still at the beginning of it, figuring out my way through it, but it’s a life that is actually making me feel more present. And more driven, in a weird way. More curious, more independent, more nervous and stressed, but a different kind of nerves and stress from workaday things. I feel like 2013 held a long grieving period for something I worked hard to become, was very happy to be, and then suddenly wasn’t anymore. I could have found another school job or another library job, and maybe I still will at some point. But for now I want to try being something completely different for a while. The grieving period feels like it’s over with the start of this new year, so I’m hoping to really explore what completely different could be.