10 Things I Learned in the Year 2009
I've learned that judgments of people, made too quickly and harshly, are very often wrong. I keep thinking I've figured this out already, but then I find myself doing it again: dismissing someone because of an opinion they have; deciding someone's mean because of one comment. I hate that I do this, and I don't want to do this, because most of the time, it turns out that the person is really incredibly cool. This reaction stems more from fear than anything else, and I finally seem to have figured this out this year, so I'm getting better at meeting people with an open mind and heart.
I've learned that grief has a strange beauty to it, despite the pain.
I've learned that arguing with people really isn't worth it. I have my opinions, and I'll state them. The person I'm talking to can state theirs, and I'll listen. But when it starts to turn into a *debate*, I no longer want that conversation. Debates are simply a contest to prove who's *right* (as if right-ness was somehow objective) by contest of who has better debating skills. I can debate reasonably well, but I hate it. It seriously stresses me. So I've learned that while discussions and conversations are wonderful, whether or not the person I'm talking to has similar opinions, debates just end up leaving me stressed without actually accomplishing anything.
I've learned that there are a ridiculously large amount of absolutely amazing people in this world. I can't believe it took me this long to realize just how many of them there are!
I've learned to be proud of myself.
I've learned that "becoming an adult", by turning 18, opens up a whole new world of pressure and expectations. Yikes!
I've learned that if you take someone for granted for too long, something will come along that shows you just how important they are.
I've learned not to take things for granted. I'm still having trouble putting that into practice, but at least it's something I'm conscious of...
I've learned that I'm actually a pretty capable person.
I think I learned this one a couple of years ago, but it took a while to really get processed, and now I can say that I've learned, as hard as it is, that I can't make other peoples decisions for them. It's their life, and all I can do is give opinions and be supportive. The rest is up to them, no matter how bad the choices they make are.
I've learned that I'm not nearly as alone as I often think I am.
It's been rather rocky year. My grandmother was diagnosed with uterine cancer in February, and she went through an operation, chemotherapy, and radiation, followed by a no-more-cancer diagnoses, during the course of the year. She's the only grandparent that I'm close to, and it was hard for my whole family.
Our dog of many years, Flora, passed away in August after being sick for much of the Summer. I've had furry family members die before, but only when I was very young. It was a hard time.
I also went through a lot of emotional turmoil this year, over the big question What Are You Going To Do With Your Life? I'm afraid that that turmoil is following me into the new year...
I don't want to give the impression that this year was all horrible, though, because it wasn't. This was also a year of some truly wonderful times: the Northeast Unschooling conference was wonderful fun, and I felt truly accepted in a large group for the first time in my life at Not Back To School Camp. I also spent countless hours of time with my family, in deep discussions, silly giggling, and quiet companionship. They mean so much to me. I've also realized that although I may have very few local friends, the ones I have are very precious to me, and are truly wonderful people.
It's been a mixed year. One of many challenges, but also much beauty. I'm looking forward to this coming year; wondering what it might bring, what places I'll see, what people I'll meet, what good times I'll have...
Wishing everyone the best in the coming year!