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22 Things I Learned in 2022

I’m always reflective this time of year. I love New Year’s Resolutions and I’m always ready to see a deeper meaning in something that I’ve done or has happened in my life. So this year, I’m looking back on the lessons I’ve learned and sharing them with you, so hopefully, you can learn as well.

1 Be careful what you wish for

This is true in so many ways, but it was especially true for me this year. My niece came to live with me in April. She was 18 at the time and needed some extra support. I was happy to help her and happy to have the company in my quiet apartment. I never anticipated just how difficult it would actually be. Yes, I knew it would be hard because I’ve lived alone for so long and we’d been apart for 4 years, but I didn’t realize how hard. I had hoped that I would be able to teach her some things about real life and surviving on your own, but I didn’t understand how much she would teach me about relationships, compromise and always being right.

2 Ask more questions

If I were making a list of “Rules for Life” I would start with this: ask more questions. You can never ask enough. When my niece came to live with me, she wanted to get a dog. I agreed because I assumed were talking about a miniature dachshund, like she had had before. But no. She wanted a golden retriever. Ten pounds versus one hundred pounds is a massive difference. Had I have known what I know now, I would have asked a LOT more questions.

3 Don’t settle, life is too short

I had a job that wouldn’t let me do anything for about 3 years. Yes, I got paid to do basically nothing, but it’s not as nice as it sounds. I felt stupid most of the time there because they treated me as such. They questioned everything I said and yelled at me when I said what they felt was too much. I knew that I was settling for being treated really badly, and I felt like such a hypocrite because this is exactly the thing that I tell people not to do! This year, I decided that I had had enough. So I started applying for new jobs and within a couple of months I found one that is 100 times better! I’m appreciated and liked there and my talent is recognized. It was well worth the hassle of looking for a new job. And even if I have to actually work at this job, it’s way better to feel wanted and needed.

4 Do not do what you hate

I spend a lot of time in my life doing things that I hate: clearing my inbox of spam emails, paying bills, fighting the crowds at the grocery store, going to work. In fact, we’re trained to think that is just a part of life, that it’s the way that it is and we just have to accept it. But nowadays there are so many ways to get around these things, if only we would implement them. I’ve taken some small steps that are big steps for me to rid my life of these necessary evils.

5 Life is too short and it only gets shorter

Every year that you live your life gets shorter and it feels increasing so. That’s because every year is a smaller percentage of your life. At 37, the last year felt like it went by in a flash. The days are long, but the years are so, so short.

6 You’re a person who needs help too

Treat yourself like someone you’re responsible for helping. This has been a huge wake up call for me. I’m really good at helping other people, but not so good at recognizing and admitting when I need help too. I don’t want to be the person who can’t figure things out. I don’t want to be seen as weak or stupid. I know that asking for help doesn’t make you those things and that’s the first thing I would tell you, but somehow the rules feel different for me. This year, I’ve embraced the fact that I need help sometimes too and that’s ok.

7 Tell the truth, or at least don’t lie

I read this book this year called 12 Rules for Life. One of the rules is tell the truth, or at least don’t lie. I hadn’t really thought about how much I’m affected by lying. And if you would have asked me before I read that book, I would have said that I generally don’t lie at all. But in the book, the author grouped lying to yourself in with lying to others. Now, I’m certainly guilty of lying to myself. That was a massive wake up call to think about it that way.

8 Get your shit together before you criticize the world

It’s really easy to criticize other people. It’s even easier to talk about politics and world peace and how we can fix everything that’s wrong. But it’s terribly hard to get my own life together. How can I tell other people what to do when I don’t know what I’m doing myself? And if you seriously think your life is together and you have everything figured out, get a dog or adopt a teenager. You’ll quickly realize how stupid you really are.

9 Meaning is more important than speed

I have a friend who I’m always talking to about business. He’s been wanting to start a business since I met him 4 years ago. He has some really good ideas about building websites and making money from ads (read ‘get rick quick schemes’), but he can’t decide which idea to pursue first. We talk a lot about my blog/website because it’s up and running. It’s not perfect, but it’s a work of love for me. It brings meaning and hope to my life (and hopefully to others), so it really don’t matter to me if it makes money or if it takes years to be profitable. Meaning is more important to me than money or making money quickly.

10 Make friends with people who want the best for you

It’s really easy to tell who your friends are when something good happens to you. Do you want to tell them? Or do you hide it from them? Do they encourage you and celebrate with you or are they mad at your success? I’m always surprised how some people react when something good happens to me. It happens over and over again, but I’ve learned that I deserve better. I deserve friends who celebrate with me when I win.

11 Take time for yourself

This is especially true for introverts. It’s easy to get lost taking care of everyone else, but remember that you’re a person who needs help too. Sometimes that help is a Starbucks coffee and a solo drive to the beach. Sometimes it’s a long hot shower and sometimes it’s going to bed at 7pm so you can have some peace and quiet before you sleep. And that’s ok.

12 Assume the person you’re listening to might know something you don’t

I’m really bad at letting people talk when I think I know what they are going to say. I interrupt them and try to correct the thought they haven’t finished. I’ve noticed it a lot more this year and it bothers me. I’m actively working to listen to people rather than predict what they are going to say.

13 Organize your space to organize your life

I’m really bad about letting things pile up on my desk and in my room. I’ve noticed that when mt space gets cluttered I can’t think very well. I get overwhelmed and start to feel like everything is falling apart. The simple act of cleaning my desk off will change my whole attitude and perspective.

14 Send holiday cards to your friends

This year I made a point to send Christmas cards to my friends. I always think about it and rarely do it. But I wanted them to know that I was thinking of them and that they mean a lot to me.

15 Take a road trip every once in a while

I love road trips. I love the adventure of going somewhere new and exploring new things. It’s something that makes me feel excited about life and I need more of that these days. This year, my niece and I went to western Massachusetts to go apple picking in the fall. It was so much fun and so worth the drive! It reminded me of all the times I’d been on road trips with my family growing up and how much fun we had. Plus, apple cider donuts.

16 The beach cures all ills

I think there’s something magic about the ocean. It has a healing effect on my soul every time I go there. I love to just stand there and listen to the waves. All of my problems seem to melt away.

17 Consistency is important, but not everything

I tend to get caught up in things to the point of making myself sick just to keep up with a goal I set for myself. It’s all or nothing. So this year, I’ve tried to back off of that and realize that sometimes, consistency isn’t everything. Sometimes you need a break and that’s ok.

18 Give yourself the same grace you give others

It’s challenging for those of us that have impossibly high standards for ourselves, but of so important. Grace when you least feel like giving grace means everything.

19 Do not hide unwanted things in the fog

I’m going to focus on the fog a lot more this year. I realized this year that I spend a lot of time generating fog to hide what I don’t want to see in my life. I don’t want to do it anymore. I want something better.

20 Make the messy version

I spend a lot of time thinking about things that I could do or would do if I knew how to do them better. Once example is YouTube. I love to watch videos and I really want to make videos, to make them better and more entertaining and more inspiring. There are a few channels that I really like, but I’m scared that if I start trying to make those kinds of videos that mine will be all messy. I’ve been here before, with not knowing how to get started and making the messy version. It’s time to embrace messy again and start moving forward.

21 If old memories still upset you, write them down carefully and completely

Writing is so useful for working through things that bother you. I’ve spent this year writing a lot and I can’t explain to you how much it’s helped me already. More to come, for sure.

22 Imagine who you could be and aim single-mindedly aim at that

Work as hard as you can at one thing and see what happens. What if you spent this whole year focused solely on that one thing in your life that you want to change? What if you quit putting it off and started making progress? What if this time next year you were sitting here writing about how much has changed and how you are so thankful that you did that one thing?

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