Wednesday, January 1, 2014

What I learned in 2013

A few years ago, I started over. At a time when most of the people I knew were moving onto the next great phase of life, I pressed the reset button and went all in, returning to school even as the grey hairs (premature gray hairs!) started to outnumber the black ones.  And although it hasn't quite gone as planned, I'm a lot further down the path to a new kind of future than if I'd just kept imagining it. And as I look back through some of my past musings at this time of the year, trying to see how many of them I took to heart, I realize that self renovation is like home renovation on television - it always seems so easy when you're just watching.

It's the start of the new year, and so I think we all stop to take a few minutes to reflect and recognize a few truths. For me, I realize I'm not gonna make it to billionaire status this year, yet again. It's still on my to do list, but I got a couple of other things I need to get straight first. And while eating healthier and gym time are in the mix, it seems I won't be starting my own country, setting foot on the moon, or reinventing how we slice bread anytime soon. Well, at least not before this fall. But that's all okay, as long as I keep trying to get there. The honest effort, the trying, the making the changes, that's what's important. Change on my schedule, not random chance. So the question becomes, where exactly is your 'there'? And what are you doing, what are you changing, to get 'there'?

Do something. Even if it seems unrelated, do something just to get you started doing things. Write some poetry. Write a book. Stop at that restaurant you keep meaning to go to. Apply for that new job. Call that old friend. Go dancing. Start a garden. So hi to your neighbor. Shoot a movie with your phone's camera. Try some new spices. Coach a little league team. Start your own side business. Take a road trip. Learn that new language you were supposed to learn last year. Start walking in the morning. Do something, anything. I say that every year, and every year I mean it. Because when we keep doing the same old thing, we stagnate. Then we end up just concerned with staying alive, and not with actually living. And really living your life is so much better.

It won't be easy. Change never is. And what you choose might not even be worth it. But it will be something, and if you start with something, then getting your thing just becomes a matter of redirecting your focus.

What did I learn in 2013?

Take a little time each day and enjoy yourself. Have an ice cream sandwich, listen to your favorite song, dance in the elevator. Because life is way too short not to do so. 

Structure is important. If only so you have a starting point for change.  

The internet is a thing, not a place. Remember that it is just a tool, and go outside every once and while.  

The time was going to pass anyway.

If you love someone, tell them. Do it without expecting a response...just let them know. Because life happens.  

Remember the basics. Sometimes a good book, tea and some peace is just what is needed.

When its quiet, stop, take a deep breath and let it out. Feel that? That's you.  

You are better than the worst thing that has ever happened to you, because you made it past that.  

The other person might have a better handle on it than you, so always be prepared to at least listen with an open mind.

Feelings and self image are two different things, and hurt feelings shouldn't change your self image.

Arguments start most times not because you disagree, but because of how you approach it.

How you look in the mirror is not as important as how you feel, but you need to feel healthy.  

An honest conversation is priceless.  

You cannot reward someone in currency that they don't value.  

All the planning in the world loses its value without self discipline.

The phrase "I love you" is still the sweetest sound in the world. Even when its just written down.

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