Happy New Year’s Eve, chick-a-dees!
I suppose it’s something that comes of getting older – and it’s rather cliche – but the time has gone by so quickly I barely even noticed we were already here. December 31st. When I was a kid, years were eternal and I didn’t realize how fleeting they were, what ethereal little creatures (or fickle little monsters, your choice) they can be.
So it’s time to take stock. I’m not one for New Year’s resolutions and I never have been. I’m more the ‘if you want it to happen, start now’ kind of people, and let me tell you, this wreaks havoc on my procrastination ways. You might be telling me by way of your screen – um, you can’t be both – but I’m here to say it’s possible. Oh yes. It doesn’t make sense, but I’m nuts that way.
In honor of the 12 months that are on their way out, I have compiled a list of life’s lessons I have learned this year.
1. It’s okay to take a plunge once in awhile. It’s nerve-wracking as all hell, but there’s nothing like taking a risk to make you feel like you’re taking charge of your life.
2. Don’t throw a Halloween party with people whose idea of a costume is to copy whatever it is you’re going to wear. There were two nerds at the ball this year. Yes, there are photos. No, I will not be sharing unless legally required to in a subpoena. (p.s. It’s a lot of fun to dress as a nerd for Halloween.)
3. Ask for help. Even if it’s a small thing. This is one I struggle with because I think I’m She-Ra, except I’m not blond. Case in point – two weeks ago, I helped my friend at a winter festival to raise funds for the Special Olympics. At the end, we had to pack up the booth. Packing up an awning is kind of like performing brain surgery in my honest opinion. I tried lifting stuff that was way too heavy and ended up with a bruised arm, a deep cut on one finger, and a bit of humiliation because, you know, naturally, people like to watch a person making a fool of herself.
4. You may not always be right, but neither is your mom. I love my mother. And she’s an intelligent, caring, savvy person. But as I’ve come to know her as an adult, I’m realizing that sometimes she is just plain wrong. And it’s okay. Before, I had to take her word for it even while rebelling because she had some years and experience on me. But she’s human, too. And can I say, it’s a relief to know it wasn’t just me being a bratty teenager. She can be wrong…and once in a blue moon, she’ll admit to it!
5. I love the resilience of the human spirit. There has been tragedy in this nation and others this year. But there are so many stories of people going out of their way to help others. Off the top of my head, I’m thinking of the NYC police officer who bought shoes for a homeless man, and also of the kindness in the wake of the Sandy Hook tragedy.
6. Confucius say – you will get gray hairs. It doesn’t matter what age you are, you don’t want them. But it’s going to happen. It’s just something you have to deal with. Get over it. This is what I tell myself, anyway, and sometimes it works.
7. I really want people to know the difference between there, their, they’re and your and you’re.
8. Make a plan and stick to it. I have a dual nature where I can be extremely patient, but then go and do something impulsive. These are my flights of fancy. It’s great to have them, but sometimes you do just need to make a plan, and put it into action. You’ll be happy you did. Which leads me to…
9. Have flights of fancy. I threw a birthday party for my brother this summer at the beach and I decided to make it a wig party because I’d been to one and it had been great. Someone should have reminded the grinning fool (i.e. me) that wearing a wig in June in the midst of heat, humidity, and heat is tantamount to sticking your head in the oven. Alright, I exaggerate, but it was pretty darned hot. Bless them, they all went along with it. What good sports, huh?
10. Don’t buy clothes that are not your size, thinking you’ll fit into them at some point. Now, I know there are some people who think this is a way of motivation, kind of like The Secret – if you put it out into the world, the world will hear you. No. It’s a waste of money. Same thing with shoes. I bought some cute boots a size and a half larger because they didn’t have my size and they were too great a deal to pass up. I fell. I do that sometimes.
11. Open yourself up to new possibilities. By the time we’re adults (real adults not technical ones), we tend to think we know ourselves completely. That’s why it’s a surprise when you discover something new about yourself. I discovered I might like to write a YA book, when before, I was firmly of the opinion I only wrote a specific type of story. I now count a YA trilogy as one of my works in progress.
12. Give at least one compliment a day, and make it genuine. This was sort of an experiment for me this year. As humans we want praise for our work, but don’t always realize that we should give praise as well. I’ve complimented friends and family on simple things like ‘hey, that color looks really good on you’ or ‘those chocolate pretzel sticks were delicious.’ You’ll see the light in the eyes of the person whom you complimented. Little things like that count.
There are a lot more things I’ve learned, and some I keep re-learning or remembering. I can’t wait to see what 2013 has to offer. One non-resolution I’m trying right now is to get back to that place in my writing where I write without fear. My friend sent me another writer’s post and she speaks of this, and it’s true. At some point I started writing in a way that took other people’s opinions/criticism/suggestions into way too much consideration. And this is not to say I don’t appreciate that because I can always learn and grow as a writer. But this is about writing in that space that leaves the fear of disappointing out of the equation.
Anyway, may you all have a wonderful New Year’s Eve and an even better year in 2013!