Lessons I Learned from 2014

29 Dec

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2014 was an eye opener and more importantly, a mind opener, for me. It not only reminded me how short 365 days are, it also taught me how important those days are.

2014 taught me quite a few things –

Your circle of friends isn’t as big as you’d like to think. Your Facebook list may be large but how many people do you really talk to? How many take the time to call you just to say hi and how many do you keep in regular touch with? If you look at your phone contacts, how many of those numbers have you called in the past 6 months and how many have called you? When you hit rock bottom, who was really there to pull you up and see you through? Who encourages you, who inspires you, who is THERE and not just “there”? Pay attention to the ones that matter, the ones that define the word “friendship”. They’re the ones you hang on to. Make sure those in your ship are keeping you afloat and not causing you to start sinking.

The relationships and friendships you thought were solid and would last, don’t always do so. I’ve learned to love and let go when it’s needed. Most people are made to simply pass through our lives while only handful were meant to stay. Know the difference. Sometimes it’s those you love the most that are meant to go on their way and those are the ones it’s hardest to let go. Life happens that way. Don’t hold a grudge, wish them well and move on with your life.

Promises, big talk and bullshit may get you into certain circles, but your character is what keeps you there and it speaks louder and says more than anything your mouth ever will. Character is what you do when others aren’t looking but it’s also what you do when they are. You know why you do things, what the agenda is, and what you hope to gain and so does one other person that can ALWAYS see what and why you’re doing something. Honesty, integrity and character are 3 things you can never buy.

No matter how much you care for and love someone, those feelings aren’t always going to be returned and that’s ok. Some people are meant to just reserve a spot in your heart. I’ve learned to just keep loving them and be the same friend I’ve always been. Not everyone you want to be with is everyone you need to be with. I’ve learned if they want to be with you, they’ll make an effort and you won’t have to wonder where you stand. If you have to wonder where you stand with someone, maybe it’s time to stop standing and start walking.

A 13 hour road trip and a week in another state with your 72-year-old father is not only a great idea, that I’m glad I did it. The quality time with the man who shaped me, taught me life lessons, taught me the importance of laughter is something I will cherish until the day I leave this earth. It reminded me of being a kid again, when it was ok to stand between your parents on the hump on the floorboard between the seats and sing along to 70’s radio. It reminded me that while I might not feel like I’m 44 years old and that he’s 72 years old, we are and that time isn’t waiting on either of us. It reminded me that time with those you love is time well spent.

I’ve learned that paying your dues is necessary, having things handed to you is nice, but working for them and getting them is even better. There’s a satisfaction both in what you’ve done and in yourself when you work hard and it pays off.

Be a friend, even when it’s hard to and be there even when you’d rather be somewhere else. People need you when they need you, not on your schedule.

Good music matters.

It taught me that there is always hope. You may feel like giving up, but remember that hope is something that is never out of reach, it’s always there and it can keep you going long after you thought you couldn’t go any farther.

Stop bitching about what doesn’t matter and concern yourself with what does. Who cares if they put pickles on your burger when you asked them not to, take ’em off and eat the damn thing. Long line at the store? Stand in it and be thankful you have the money to purchase whatever it is you’re standing in line for. Think before you bitch.

No matter how bad you think your life is, someone else out there would love to be in your shoes. Life really is pretty good even when you can’t see it at the time.

Be honest with people, don’t tell them what they want to hear, care enough to tell them what they need to hear even when it’s not pretty. Care enough to want the best for people and sometimes the best includes blatant honesty.

People matter. No disclaimers, no conditions, no questions. They matter, all of us, every color, every background, every last one of us. Treat everyone like they are someone because they are.

Do the things you want to do while you can. Wanna travel? Save up what you can and go where it will allow. Just have some fun in your life, do the unexpected and be spontaneous. Life isn’t a day planner, why treat it like one.

Take a long walk outside, look around you and really notice the beauty surrounding you, breathe in the fresh air and listen to the “music” in everyday life. Say hello to the stranger you pass on the street, make eye contact with them and wish them a nice day. Hold the door for someone. Thank a cashier or someone in public service for what they do, it’s not an easy job although you may think so. They deal with some of the worst attitudes and rudest people every day. The public is not easy to deal with.

Just appreciate the time you have left, you don’t know how long that is. It really is a gift that you have a present, that you’ve made it through the past and that we all like to think of the future ahead of us. Right now is all you have, just use it wisely. Make it count. Make your memories worth making, they’re all you’re really taking with you.

Thank you 2014 for the clarity, the confusion, the love and the occasional slap in the face. I’ve taken your lessons to heart and am looking forward to learning more from the year to come.

Jenn

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