14 Lessons I’ve Learned in 2014

My fourth year of doing this list and I’m finding that I don’t necessarily learn anything new each year, rather expand on the lessons of the past. Regardless, it’s an interesting lesson.

14. Telling your truth may hurt other people. But that doesn’t necessarily mean you shouldn’t tell it. This is probably the biggest lesson for me in 2014 and has impacted me the most. We all have a story; our version of the truth. But that true is ultimately intertwined with the stories of the supporting characters in our lives. Often, those versions of the truth rarely match. We each bring our own perspectives, histories and feelings to the table when the story gets retold. So, my version can feel like a betrayal to others. But it doesn’t mean it isn’t still mine to tell. Every year, I get more comfortable living in my skin, accepting my story and trying to move on. And with that comes fall out. I have to live with that. So I’m deciding to do just that.

13. I suffer burnout multiple times a year. Burnout follows me where ever I go. I often wonder if somewhere, on some far away island, live a group of well rested, refreshed people. I’d like to meet them and figure out what the hell it is I’m doing wrong (P.S. I probably already know).

12. You can be a grown up and a child at the same time. In the closing and aftermath of tying up the loose ends of my mother’s estate, I found myself caught between two worlds. One as an adult, attempting to be rational as I went through a lifetime of memorabilia, and the other as a child, grieving the loss of all that was. Grief doesn’t end. It changes along the way. It doesn’t get easier. I’m still that little girl, living in that house.

11. Saying goodbye is hard. For the fifth year in a row, it feels like I’ve said goodbye to many, many things. At times, it felt like to much to bear. My life continues to change in ways I’m still trying to comprehend. But, with every ending comes a new beginning and I’m working that shit out.

10. Unorthodox families are born out of necessity. My family has changed so dramatically over the past few years, I can barely recognize it. I still love them as much as I ever did, but the dynamic isn’t the same and it has been redefined over time. I’ve taken on a new definition of family, one that includes placing values on things other than obligation and blood. Instead, I’ve added those who have shown me support, laughter, love and understanding with no expectation in return. But I give it back anyway.

9. I hate commuting. I wish I could embrace my 10 hour weekly commute. But I can’t. It’s old and it’s on my list of things that have to give.

8. My 40’s are more liberating the longer I am in them. My 40’s, while at times, angst filled, have been truly liberating. I care less and less about what people think and wish everyone felt that way. It’s a beautiful thing.

7. I’m disturbed by the fact that my students can’t relate to September 11th. I’ve got this problem. It doesn’t matter how old I get, my students never age. The longer I teach, the harder it is to connect with them on common ground. So much of what I teach about the human condition and experience can be explained by the unified emotions we all felt on September 11, 2001. And now I’m teaching students who were 4 and 5 years old on that day. They just don’t get it. And thankfully, they haven’t had a 9/11 of their own generation. But, it does make my job harder somedays.

6. A cell phone is a novelty, not a necessity. Believe it or not, you can live without your cell phone. I’ll admit to some addict-like behavior, but you will rarely see me bring one into a meeting (unless I know I’m going to need a fist emoji text to me) and I’ll never pull it out in class. Neither should you. It’s rude. It’s interfering with our ability to actually connect with people. It’s a cop out. None of us are that important. None of us.

5. Your dentist could ruin your life. Do yourself a favor and pick a good dentist. It will save you a lot of heartache and a possible lupus diagnosis.

4. There’s nothing a great date masseuse can’t fix. Do yourself another favor and find a great date masseuse. Not a shitty one who wastes a glorious hour of your life. Find one that will beat the shit out of you and make you feel like you got your money’s worth.

3. It’s easier for me to embrace my own successes than have you do it for me. As much as I’ll happily toot my own horn and have been accused of being full of myself, I’ll be embarrassed if you try to do it for me. Anyone who knows me, knows I don’t take compliments freely. I compete with one person in my life; me. And when I rock, I rock. But, I don’t need any of you to point it out.

2. Being an introvert is a good thing. I have learned after many years to embrace the introvert that I am. While I can stand in front of large groups of people and do my shtick, or crack jokes for my closest friends, those things require a huge amount of mental and physical energy and recovery. I like what I do for a living but there is a price I pay. It’s a deep need for solitude and I physically crave it after being around too many people. It doesn’t make me a freak or anti-social. It makes me, me.

1. While I have questioned it multiple times this year, I still love my life. After what feels like a pretty difficult year, I wasn’t sure I could end with my yearly “I love my life” lesson. But I can, and I will. Under the sarcasm and glass-half-empty persona is a girl who gets out of bed every fucking day and tries to be be happy. And figures it out everyday. Laughter is a must and is accomplished every day. Loving Max is another key….happens everyday. I thank God everyday for this less than perfect life. Because I’ve seen worse and I’ve had worse.

Here’s to another year of lessons and a happy 2015!

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