What I've Learned, 2011 Edition

Last year, Dave and I did our own "What I Learned," just like in Esquire magazine.  Again, the magazine did not find us interesting enough to ask us about the life lessons we've learned, so I'll have to publish here.  I enjoyed taking stock in the year, and it's a tradition I choose to continue.  Life experience without a lesson is worthless.  Lessons unshared are equally useless.

Someday, maybe Esquire will ask us and we'll be famous or whatever.  Until then, here are some valuable lessons learned in an incredible year.
  • ADD is a gift.  I'm a hunter in a world of farmers.  Instead of continuing to fight it, I rebuilt my life to adapt to it.
  • I love writing.
  • My burdens are my blessings.
  • I don't "play" well with my kids.  I like doing projects with them, but I get bored playing house.
  • I like waking up really early.
  • I'm a good parent.  I'm not perfect, but I'm good at parenting.
  • I have cheerleaders in my life.  I propose wild and insane ideas that sometimes never come to fruition, but they cheer me on regardless.  (I'm talking to you, Erin and Amy)
  • I forget birthdays and it's not on purpose.
  • Take chances.  Amazing things happen.  The worst that happens is nothing.
  • Preschool and kindergarten classrooms are filled with magic.
  • Sometimes you really need to start a project.
  • Have faith in the final product.  A simple beginning may not resemble the extravagant end.
  • Err on the side of really early when you're leaving to see your best friend take the lead in the school play.
  • Every conversation is an opportunity to change someone's life.
  • When trying to blame somebody for the woes in my life, I should take a look in the mirror.
  • I love an annual garage sale.  Semi-annual is even better.
  • I don't need a lot of the stuff I have.
  • God hasn't failed me yet.  I live so that hopefully He might say the same for me.
  • Money isn't the root of all evil, and neither are people who have a lot of it.  They can do a lot of good with it, and many of them do.
  • Apathy and laziness are the roots of all evil.
  • Accepting what we've been given is much different than taking what we feel we're entitled to having.
  • I fear nothing and nobody.
  • Never park the car for the night with less than 1/4 tank of gas.
This was one of the best years of my life, and it began with The Artist's Way by Julia Cameron.  Our financial situation didn't change much for the better and life didn't magically get easier.  The most significant change is that I landed my dream job, but the pay isn't great yet.  We still experience the same burdens as last year, perhaps even with a few more.  My perspective changed, though.  I realized that my life is extraordinarily good.  My quality of life improved the second I realized how much good surrounds me.  My life continues to get better.

This year I expected good things to happen, and they did.  I tried my hardest to let the bad roll off me.  I was frivolously creative.  I played more.  I enjoyed more.  I took life less seriously and remembered how to have fun.  So really, not much changed in 2012 except my attitude, and honestly, that changed everything.

Happy New Year, and Happy Next Year