Through the Eyes of an Educator: To Thrive

by Stacey Ebert /
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Jan 03, 2024 / 0 comments

A new month, a new year, a new chance to write your story. 

How do you greet the new year? 

Through the Eyes of an Educator: To Thrive

After college graduation, a few friends and I backpacked through Europe. For me, it was a first full feeling of independence, exploration, and a chance to see more of the world. We spent over three weeks hitting the typical western Europe go-to spots, including a few days in France and Italy exploring all things art, people watching, and food deliciousness. Sure, we took in the cafe culture, the sights of the cities, and the lure of the coast. But we also rushed through rooms in the Louvre to find the Mona Lisa, dodged humans in the Accademia Gallery to get to the David, and zipped through the entire Sistine Chapel solely to reach that magical ceiling at the end of the hallway. At the time, we were in the get to the thing and click the picture mode, which regularly seems like a metaphor for daily life.

Today, I see it differently. 

By taking the time to go slower, take in all of our surroundings, and make space for all there is to witness and explore, perhaps we would experience something deeper in the process. 

At the close of a year and the start of a new one, which mode are you in? 

Through the Eyes of an Educator: To Thrive

We speed through seasons, epic sporting events, school years, summer, and even the overload of all-things-December-holidays to get to the next.

Do you take a moment to let it all sink in?

Are you someone who debriefs the year, takes stock in frozen moments, and sets intentions for the next? Are you already planning your annual calendar of appointments, travel dates, and milestone moments?

I’m certain it doesn’t have to be an all or nothing scenario; there’s room for it all, both the doing and the being. 

Through the Eyes of an Educator: To Thrive

One friend keeps a gratitude jar, and on the 31st of December, revisits the year through sacred notes. Another has a sage ceremony for an out with the old and in with the new clearing energy process. And still another makes a list of goals she’d like to aim for, including her why, yet realizes life is a fluid process and welcomes change. There's a letting go and clearing out phase, a bit of manifesting and intention setting, room for magic and spontaneity, opportunity for growth, and a space to be—all with the goal to flourish and thrive.

There's always talk or touting of the new year, the new you, that claim this-year-as-your-year kind of message, and a full speed ahead notion that as soon as the calendar flips, we must go into overdrive mode. Um, what?

That’s a resounding no for me. 

Through the Eyes of an Educator: To Thrive

These days, I’m in the slow travel lane: the one that stops for butterflies and fireflies, the one who watches the awe of a hummingbird flutter, takes time to talk to treasured humans, and will forever be the kid who is excited by the changing colors of the sky.

So, as we turn these calendar pages to start anew, just for a moment, can we stay present, slow down, take a breath, and set an intention to just be?

Whether you make resolutions, create a word for your year, strive for happiness, or something that fully feels YOU, can you do it mindfully, purposefully, and from the heart? 

Through the Eyes of an Educator: To Thrive

The media may have dubbed 2023 as the year of Taylor Swift, yet if you look beyond the cover image, it took that superstar far more than 365 days of effort and energy to reach this moment of stardom. She’s the first to mention her reinvention, rejuvenation, and the reimagining of career, music, and self. Whether or not you’re a full on Swiftie, a supporter, fan, friend, or one who keeps that sparkle to yourself, we can all learn something from Taylor.

Keep doing the work. Reinvent when necessary. Learn what works and do more of it. Step away and rest to heal. Ignore the loud naysayers. Fasten your forcefield to repel those who place obstacles in your path.

Breathe more. Listen more.

Trust that karma works in your favor.

Walk forward...and with every step, thrive.

4 tips toward thriving in the new year

Through the Eyes of an Educator: To Thrive

Just do the damn thing!

Spotify has wrapped, Apple published their top podcast list, and in NYC, the ball has officially dropped. We’ve closed the book, opened a new one, and are ready to go. Simultaneously, we’re navigating all the big feelings that come with that turn of the page.

Change takes time, imposter syndrome is noisy, and anxiety triggers. While we focus on thriving, all those things pop into our vision. Maybe you’re taking a breath, grounding yourself through meditation, creating a vision board, or elevating your energy levels at the gym. Maybe you’re taking a moment to settle, or maybe the thought of it all is a bit too much. 

You’re not alone.

Mel Robbins had one of those top podcasts on Apple’s list. In various ways, she’s been showing up for decades, but this year exploded on the podcast scene. Of her countless motivational snacks, one that helps to shake us out of anxiety, stymies imposter syndrome, and step forward is a reminder to TAKE ACTION. The next step, the new thing, that ever-present challenge, the thing you’ve been procrastinating about finishing—do the damn thing! 

Push through the frustration, allow the discomfort, and even slither out of bed if you must, but do it. We’ll never feel ready, we don’t have to like it, and the doubt might still come along for the ride. Each time we take action, we quiet our own noise and empower our spirits.

Do the damn thing. Your time is now.  

Through the Eyes of an Educator: To Thrive

Wake up with wonder

My Dad was famous for being super excited to wake up at an insanely early hour to exercise. In his 30s, he took up running, which later transitioned into triathlons, workouts, and all things cycling. His outlook on life included a strong belief in bonus days, and that every single day is one of them. Upon retirement, he couldn’t wait to incorporate all of the things he enjoyed each and every day. He quite literally woke up each day thinking, “how can I have fun today?”

Perhaps it’s a moment of laughter, a glimpse of the sun, or a puppy snuggle. Perhaps it’s family time, a good book, a daydream, or a workout. Perhaps you’re not quite sure yet, but a moment’s peace is a gift and allows for time to strengthen that curiosity muscle. 

In this new year, can you give yourself the grace and patience to take a moment and wonder, “how can I have fun today?” If you struggle, know that my Dad is right there next to you cheering you on your journey to joy.

Through the Eyes of an Educator: To Thrive

Listen to your heart

There’s learning, unlearning, transformation, and static phases of a life’s journey. Each one will come with an unfolding and letting go, as well as an uncovering and reimagining.

Through it all, hearts lead.

What feels right at one stage might not suit another. What was tolerated or accepted might today be flung by the wayside shifted by a newly instilled boundary. The idea of a caterpillar cocooning, shedding, and transforming anew takes place multiple times in a person’s life. 

It’s not only normal, but necessary for growth.  

Whether it’s a new major, a new hobby, a rediscovered curiosity, a renewal of spirit, an internal makeover, a challenge conquered, a new quest launched, or a goal we're finally choosing to action, the only motivational speaker necessary is the heart. Those pulls show up in all sorts of ways. 

Listen! You know the way.

A feeling, a knowing, a trust, a deep down in the bones attestation of self–it’s there. And when you finally watch your butterfly wings emerge and feel yourself lifted, you’ll know for certain. 

Through the Eyes of an Educator: To Thrive

Be you–unequivocally and authentically you

Memes, podcasts, motivational speakers, self-help books, guidance counselors, coaches, mentors, and those who have your back use varied forms to share similar messaging. Deep down, we know who we are. Amidst indecision, confusion, life’s questions, insecurity, imposter syndrome, doubt, and discovery, we know. 

To understand who they truly are, Disney’s Moana crosses an ocean, Queen Elsa constructs an ice castle, and Brave’s Merida defies all odds. Simone Biles stepped away when the world asked her to keep going. Megan Rapinoe fought for equal pay when looming forces told her to stay quiet. And Taylor looked the industry straight in the face and re-released her songs under her own power. 

Trust the timing of your life, deflect the noise of the naysayers, step into your power, take a deep breath, and put the world on notice. You've been here all along, you’ve strived to get where you are, you know your worth, you’ve stumbled and reemerged. 

You’ve arrived and are meant to be exactly as you are

Through the Eyes of an Educator: To Thrive


Please click the photo below for a collection of my Through the Eyes of an Educator columns:

Through the Eyes of an Educator: A Compendium


Stacey Ebert, our Educational Travels Editor, is a traveler at heart who met her Australian-born husband while on a trip in New Zealand. Stacey was an extracurricular advisor and taught history in a Long Island public high school for over fifteen years, enjoying both the formal and informal educational practices. After a one year 'round the world honeymoon, travel and its many gifts changed her perspective. She has since left the educational world to focus on writing and travel. She is energetic and enthusiastic about long term travel, finding what makes you happy and making the leap. In her spare time she is an event planner, yogi, dark chocolate lover, and spends as much time as possible with her toes in the sand.

Check out her website at for more of her travel musings.