One Year at CLE in Review

By Levi Noe, Newsletter Project Manager CLE Denver

Levi Noe, Newletter Project Manager, CLE DenverOne year doesn’t seem like a long time, but it’s 365 days of practice, 8,760 hours of life lessons, 31,536,000 seconds of living, learning, breathing. One year can mean the difference in getting a degree, finding a job, learning how to meal plan and grocery shop, finding self-confidence, making friends. In my time at CLE I’ve witnessed some amazing transformations in one year: a student who barely took care of himself now running ultra-marathons, a student who never cooked before now making gourmet meals and trying out new recipes every week, many students finding jobs that make them happy after months and months of searching, a student with severe anxiety giving her first speech.

So how long is one year? And how much can we accomplish, grow, and learn in one year? It depends on who’s measuring. This year’s lesson, for me, has been to break the stick that we measure ourselves by. It’s easier said than done, but I mostly have my students to thank for helping with this difficult task. Every day I witness things that are outwardly small progressions, but are epic when viewed from the personal lens of each of our students. The student who took a moment to listen instead of talking over someone, the young woman who found her voice and remembered how good laughing feels, the young man who stepped back and took a breath before arguing. It’s all these seemingly trivial events that accumulate into shaping massive growth and change in our students.

So, here’s my takeaway from 2017

Drop the measuring stick, don’t lower or raise the bar — get rid of it altogether, erase the concepts of societal standards and subjective “normality”, and forget that there is any right or wrong way a person should be, there are only differences. And these differences are what make all of us unique and beautiful and strong. This doesn’t mean we don’t have goals, or create measurable objectives to achieve. Mostly, what it means is just taking some time every day to take note of how special and private our personal journeys are. One person’s year may be spent earning a million dollars, one person may be learning how to tie his shoes, another person may find huge success in making one real friend. And each person, each year is well spent, well earned.

When we lose the measuring stick and the scales that we weigh life by, we realize that there is no measure of comparison between our lives. We are all just people, figuring out how to be our best and truest selves.

I hope that 2017 brought great lessons to your life. May 2018 keep us all on our path, reminding us that our journeys and our lives give us value and meaning both monumental and immeasurable.