11 Lessons I Learned in 2011

“I hope that in this year to come, you make mistakes.

Because if you are making mistakes, then you are making new things, trying new things, learning, living, pushing yourself, changing yourself, changing your world. You’re doing things you’ve never done before, and more importantly, you’re Doing Something.

So that’s my wish for you, and all of us, and my wish for myself. Make New Mistakes. Make glorious, amazing mistakes. Make mistakes nobody’s ever made before. Don’t freeze, don’t stop, don’t worry that it isn’t good enough, or it isn’t perfect, whatever it is: art, or love, or work or family or life.

Whatever it is you’re scared of doing, Do it.

Make your mistakes, next year and forever.”- Neil Gaiman

Do you ever notice how sometimes suddenly, and for however brief, everyone and everything seems to be on the same wave length. This Neil Gaiman quote is exactly how I want my 2012 to be. Full of experiences and more importantly experiences I can learn and grow from. For the past several years I have written posts summing up the major lessons I have learned. Over the years some lessons have had to be relearned. Hell some lessons have taught me that I may have been wrong about past lessons learned…. in any case I have found that an important part of learning lessons is being able to identify what they are. So that being sad, I bring you 11 lessons I learned in 2011.

The best kind of drunk is an Absinthe drunk– March was my birthday and as you may know from reading this blog Absinthe was served. What that night taught me is that chasing the green fairy is a pretty fun ride. It does not make you sloppy or mean like some drinks. It makes you feel like you are floating  through space. Which makes this video make so much sense. 🙂

How to buy a car– The first car I owned was a hand me down from Lady Linzi. It died in like 6 months, but it was a car and it was free…so I can’t complain. The Second car I owned was a college graduation present. Up until this year I had NO idea what was involved in buying a car. I was SO freaked out. My stomach was in knots for days. I enlisted the help of a work friend and with her advice I got myself a Kia Soul. The exact car I wanted. It made me feel like a real adult. 🙂

Things have a way of working out– Even the most dire of circumstance has  a solution and it may not seem like this at the time, but sometimes your better off for it.

I’m a bit of a control freak– I have a terrible habit of thinking that things need to be my way or the highway when it comes to the way my house is kept and the way I do things at work. I am guilty of doing things for other people because in my crazy control freak mind I will do it better. What happens I end doing way too much. I also end up resenting people because clearly if they knew how to do things “right” I wouldn’t be so inconvenienced…Now that I’m aware of this ridiculous behavior maybe I finally stop this unproductive self destructive pattern.

I want a house– I have grown really weary of apartment life. I want a place I can call my own. A place I can decorate. I place to store all my stuff. Where I don’t have to pay 3 dollars a load to do laundry or haul it over to my parents house. It doesn’t need to be big. A small bungalow where I can have a garden and  a craft area, and a garage….I’m clearly getting old….oh and I want a dog.

Being 30 kinda rocks– I swear I’m not pulling one of those “trying to convince myself” statements. I really honestly feel that my 30s have been pretty good so far. I feel miles away from my 20 something self. I mean that in a good way. I feel like I’m on a good path.

I’m really lucky that I have the gift of creativity– My mother, who is an artist is often too self critical of her art. Don’t get me wrong. I think it’s important for people to b critical of their art, but I think artists need to be more thankful for their abilities. Everyone has the ability to be creative, but not everyone taps into it. Not everyone enjoys it. Not everyone excels at it. If you do, then you should be very proud of yourself. This year I took a look at my art and my crafts and said to myself, “self, you made something outta nothing and that is awesome.” I actually didn’t say this, but I did think it. I’m creative…not crazy…ok I’m a little crazy.

Ignorance is NOT bliss– Knowing is always better then not knowing. Denial may work, but not for long. This year was the first time I found out what my credit score was. I was always so scared of what it could be. I always pay my bills on time. I thought that my credit score was probably a good one, but I didn’t know for sure. So when it came to getting my new car I knew I was going to have to confront my demons. The doubt and fear sat in my stomach for weeks. Finally  I checked out my score… All that worrying was for nothing. It was a pretty good score. Hey sometimes what you don’t know can be good and sometimes it can be bad, but it’s better to find out then to waste your time worrying about which one it is. Problems can always be solved or at least managed, but not if you don’t confront them.

Sometimes you have to be uncomfortable– You can’t have the rainbow without the rain. Seriously. You can go your whole life producing average outcomes with zero to limited effort, but you can not produce something Amazing with out giving a little more yourself then you maybe be comfortable with. They mean it when they say that NOTHING in life is free.

There is a big difference between a healthy pushing of boundaries and insanity inducing misery– I used to tell myself that my job made me a better person. That even though I wasn’t happy with it, that be enduring it I was going to pay off for me in the end. Experience, even if it wasn’t in my field of choice, would lead me to where I needed to be professionally. 6 years later it has gotten progressively worse. This year it has reached an all time low. I have finally realized that all this job has done is wear me out. I have been in the same position for 6 years with no sign of advancing. Each day attempting to achieve the unachievable. This year I finally reached my breaking point. It made me feel like a failure. I felt like I was doing something wrong. Was I a freak because I would have, what eventually daily breakdowns ? Was I doing something wrong? Was I too sensitive? I started to feel guilty too. There are people out there without jobs, people out there that make less money who don’t have health care etc…I realized that these thoughts and feelings are the thoughts and feelings of a person in a toxic relationship.  Placing blame on yourself? Guilt? These are the reasons that people in abusive relationships give when people ask why they stay. Eventually my boss, who understood what was going on with me or at least pretended to helped put in a good word with another department.  In a few weeks I will be transferring to that  department doing I’ll be doing a fraction of the grueling work that I currently am responsible for and there is more chance for advancement. I’ll actually get a lunch and breaks. I might still hate it…who knows, I’m still a little jaded,  but I’m hopeful that this is my chance to advance and have my hard work pay off.

You can do anything…but not EVERYTHING– First off I’d like to say that people are capable of doing anything they set their mind to. Ok, forget for just a second about yourself and your doubts about you can do. Now re-read that first sentence. People are capable of doing anything the set their minds to. You as a person can therefore do anything you put your mind to. You can learn Mandarin, start your own business, become the foremost authority on Cirque de Soleil, read 365 books in a year. I personal know people who have done these things. It’s possible to do any one of these things, but it’s not possible to do all of these things. Sometimes I want to do so much. I make these long to do lists. Lists that include things I want to do, things I have to do, and even things I hope to do.  In the past when I didn’t cross everything of the list I would feel like failed. The thing is I am setting myself up to fail by creating these hug lists. I realized this on Christmas eve as I was busting my ass all day to finish my to do lists and at 7:00pm I realized if I kept going I was still never going to finish and my Christmas Eve would be over. So instead I stopped and enjoyed the traditions that my husband and I have and I was a happier person for it. I probably will never learn to cut down on my to do lists, but I will tell ya I learned…or I should say, I’m starting to learn that it’s OK if I don’t get to EVERYTHING. I think that once you understand this you can start to weed out what your priorities are.

One thought on “11 Lessons I Learned in 2011

  1. I wouldn’t feel too bad about how you feel about your job. It took a breakdown for me to re-evaluate and take a chance on something new. Which is currently making me crazy but i hope i’ll be happier in the end for it. Remember when we graduated from hs and my mom made me a scrapbook and included her rules for a good life? My favorite has always been “know that you can live through anything, but have the good sense to know when you don’t have to. Happy 2012!

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