In what feels like an alarmingly fast fashion, 2014 came and went. It was a nourishing experience to recap lessons learned in 2013, so I gathered myself to compile this year's list.
I learned that is it more important to be present, than happy. The human condition is comprised of a spectrum of emotions and tendencies, most of which have a functional purpose. Rather than crowding out negative feelings, I endeavored to grow from each experience.
James taught me how to make broth from tortilla chips, a hearty sauce from leftover pot roast and potatoes, and broccoli rabe so enticing that I prefer it to mashed potatoes, and that is saying something.
I learned that Disney can make a successful film around two female protagonists, that "Bakers gonna bake, bake, bake, bake, bake, Nick Jonas grew up, and "It's all about that bass", thankfully.
I was reminded almost daily that I crave the exact. There is comfort in certainty as expectations can be defined and managed. But I have learned that real courage and growth manifests in the unknown. The yearning for order will taunt until you learn to dance in the gray area.
Speaking up for yourself is daunting but worthwhile. No one else knows exactly what to say or how to say it on your behalf, so open yourself to communication. Advocate for yourself and the world will often welcome your entreaty.
You are successful in whatever faculty you choose to pour your heart into. No act is too small to leave an impression on someone.
Urgency makes you creative and resourceful.
I learned that when you expect perfection, brokenness will undo you. When you expect brokenness and vulnerability, everything will rise to greet you; all will be in the realm of ok.
I learned how whiskey is made, how to assemble dream catchers, and re-learned how to make drop-down menus in Excel which is incredibly useful in lots of applications. A new friend of mine taught me a breathing method to combat anxiety and also introduced me to the primary foods. They have nothing to do with food.
That we can't live our lives afraid of something going wrong. We must be so engaged, infatuated even, with the life we made that not even hardship can deflate our joy.
I learned that the above doesn't mean we should be arrogant. Humility is timeless. Competition is human, but kindness divine. And very little comes from comparing yourself to others. Self worth is like a pie with limitless slices; everyone gets a slice regardless of his or her station in life.
Pulling an engagement ring out of a pair of cowboy boots, makeup-less, unfixed hair, with no one around, is just as special as something out of a storybook.
On that note, storybooks are overrated and unrealistic. The good stuff lies in the trials and overcoming them. Embracing someone despite their flaws and having them embrace you in return. People come into your life exactly when you need them, and not one second before.
And I learned my sister gives a mean speech, although I never doubted she would be poised in any situation with a microphone.
The end of the year often carries with it an air of melancholy, the high of Christmas having worn off and the shorter days cloaking us in darkness. But I've learned every morning we can begin again. I've found solace in the morning light and am grateful for these pockets of stillness.
Happy New Year to you and yours!