Friday, December 25, 2009

Annual New Years' Blog! Things I Learned in 2009

It's that time again. Three years ago, I decided that instead of making a New Years' Resolution, which never works anyway, I would reflect on the lessons I have learned in the past year (or at least, the lessons life has tried to teach me...whether I've learned them or not is an entirely different issue!) and publish them on the Net in the hopes that some of you may benefit from my failures, successes, and utter humiliations as well. So, without further ado, here are the top 25 lessons I've learned in 2009.

-Commitment isn't scary-it's the unknown that's unnerving. Now that I've finally jumped into a committed relationship, I'm beginning to wonder what the hell I was so terrified of in the first place.
-There is no joy like that of seeing your students excel. Even if only one person in the world wants to learn from you, it's worth the effort to see them learn and succeed.
-It's OK to cry. Sometimes even in front of people.
-Rock bottom sucks. A lot. It sucks even more when you're alone. But no matter how bad things get, no matter how horrible life may seem, even when every tiny thing that could go wrong has, it will get better. Trust me. It may take months before even the slightest sign of improvement, but it will come. Just focus on any feeble rays of light you may be able to see, and you'll eventually pull yourself out of it.
-No matter what you think of organized religion, sometimes turning to God actually does help, even when you're not sure if you believe in God at all.
-Good friends will never abandon you, regardless of distance.
-Don't get credit cards. Just...don't. Trust me.
-Sometimes, just letting go and being completely reckless and carefree can result in the best memories. There's no harm in being spontaneous.
-Even smart people fail Latin. For a long time after I failed that class, I thought that I was just stupid and I couldn't possibly be intelligent enough to make it as an academic. What I really discovered was that I just wasn't playing to my strengths. Just because you're bad at something doesn't mean you're an idiot-it just means you're bad at that one particular thing. Nothing more, nothing less.
-Whenever you move from a place in which you were happy, you leave a piece of yourself behind. I left a piece of my heart back in Miami, and likewise, I have now left a piece of my heart in London as well (along with most of my books and half my clothes...). But as long as you leave it with good friends, it will be there waiting for you when you get back.
-There's no shame in asking for help.
-Working hard never fails to pay off. People will notice and respect you for it, regardless of what you actually achieve.
-Know your strengths. Likewise, know your weaknesses. It's OK to admit you don't know something.
-Don't get swine flu if you can avoid it.
-You can in fact live off of £4/week. It sucks and results in a lot of sauceless pasta, water, and walking everywhere, but it can be done. Trust me-I did it for 4 months.
-A boss who constantly gropes your ass isn't a good boss.
-Don't be petty. It gets you nowhere. The only thing it will get you is disgust from people who once had respect for you.
-When the papers say the economy sucks for job-seekers? They aren't kidding.
-Always remember who your friends are, and never forget to appreciate them.
-A true friend won't care if you can't afford to go out. If they really care about you, they're happy just to spend time together. £1 pizzas from Sainsbury's will keep you just as busy as a steak dinner.
-It's OK to need some alone time.
-Smoking is really bad for you. But it sure is fun.
-Facebook is great, but it's no substitute for human interaction.
-Using British slang in America isn't considered cool, just pretentious. Even when you're not doing it on purpose.
-It's OK to say "no" when absolutely necessary.

On that note, Merry Christmas, Happy Chanukah, Happy Kwanzaa, Happy Festivus, and the very best of New Year's to all!