I never went in much for resolutions but last year on my birthday I decided to create a list of the value that defined who I was or wanted to be. The perfect me in my eyes. What I should aim to be. I have yet to resolve what I believe religiously but I do have a set of clearly thought out personal values I try to live by. So the list was an attempt to simplify them and decide on the aspects I wanted to develop. At first I thought of having “to be confident” which was something I did need to work on and I think has developed much this year. However, it was not the core of what I wanted to be. It would help me be the real me but did not define the values I most cherish. However, I found the list could be summoned up in the word “understanding” and I aimed to make it my watch word for the year. As a teacher I would seek understanding of the new subject content I was teaching, understanding of educational theory, understanding of new teaching methods and how well they worked and understanding of my students. As a friend and family member, I would seek to better understand those close to me, of their quirks, values, needs, behaviour and desires. Gaining a better understanding of our relationships, how they worked and how they could grow. For me, I sought to understand myself better. To understand my physical boundaries, how to cope with my conditions better, how to manage them, how to ask for and accept help when needed with grace. Understanding of what made me tick, of the quirks in my brain, of what I felt and believed. Understanding of my strengths and weaknesses, acceptance of who I am and that I am trying my best but striving to be better. I believe in Aristotle’s idea that a happy life is to led a good life. Happiness is something to seek and enjoy, to share and spread. Linked to this I added a seconded watch word, kindness. I aimed to be kind. To not do harm and to help when I could. A random act of kindness can improve a day. It went well hand in hand with understanding and generally leads to happiness. Understanding helps one to see when kindness is needed and in what way it can help. Kindness leads to understanding and friendship. Understanding helps me to see actions that cause me harm and pain are often not intended that way. I do not like conflict and will feel ill at ease if I cannot understand an action. Kindness is the opposite of my other believe that as long as an action harms no one it is fine. I have gotten things wrong many, many times. Said wrong things in the heat of the moment. Like all, I often make mistakes. I try to apologise as soon as I can and to not do it again. Understand why it happened and try to ensure kindness is the outcome next time. Understand I am only human and others are only human, we are all trying to do and be our best but we frequently make mistakes. Understand that if it does not really hurt me and others then something is fine, even if it irks me. If it cause harm then it must be addressed. Understanding I am seeking for an ideal I am very far from but that that should not stop me from seeking. Understand I very often get it wrong, that I often do not live up to my ideals but I can try to be better next time and to not beat myself up. Understand I must keep seeking kindness to myself, to and from other. As this in the start of a new academic year and my approaching birthday I seek to redefine my aims. This year I am to seek. To seek is to be more open and to find. So this year I will seek. To seek will be the watchword underpinned by the ideals, to seek understanding, to seek kindness, to seek happiness, to seek acceptance, to seek bravery, to seek health, to seek peace, to seek trust, to seek beauty. To continue to seek a better me.