Oh, 2013. How glad I am that you are almost over. You had your moments, many of them, but you sure didn’t spare the punches either. You taught me many new things and reminded me of many things I already knew.
Here are some of the ideas I’m taking with me into 2014:
1. Things often take longer than you think they’ll take. Especially things you really care about or that are particularly unpleasant.
2. Stress takes its toll on the physical body.
3. Perfection is frequently impossible. Doing one’s best is a more realistic target.
4. Meaning in life is created by relationships, engaging work, and an ability to reframe adversity.
5. Feelings are always okay. It’s what you do with them that you have to be careful about.
6. The gift of true and unconditional listening is rare. Shower those who give it to you with affection and appreciation.
7. The temptation to lie is data about you and your relationship with the person to whom you want to lie.
8. Sometimes pretending you belong even when you feel like you don’t will get you pretty far.
9. Knowing who you are is magic akin to knowing a true name.
10. Sometimes other people are wrong.
11. Learning to recognize the difference between things that are true about yourself and things society has told you are true about yourself can help you achieve things you never thought were possible.
12. The food in France is really, really good.
13. Home is a little white dog, a piano, a place to create, and good times with friends.
14. Asking is a good skill to cultivate. So is saying no. So is generosity.
15. Being imperfect makes you more approachable.
16. Failure is a part of life. Sometimes it feels like it is a larger part of life than you would like. That is the time to embrace it even more strongly. You are learning, you are growing, you are taking risks, and you are the active driver of your own life story.
17. Change takes a long time and is often uncomfortable and difficult. You will need all your courage and belief in yourself to pull it off. Including the courage to fail and pick yourself back up to try again.
18. I can listen to Moonface’s new album Julia with Blue Jeans On over and over again and I never get tired of it.
19. Repeat after me: You can’t make everybody happy all the time. No, really. You can’t. Nobody can.
20. In times of darkness, it is the ability to find the pinpoints of light that keeps you going.
21. Sometimes I am lonely. But I am not alone.
What have you learned this year?