31 Things Learned, Remembered

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Yesterday, I turned 31– an age I only disagree with because I thrive on pattern and hate prime numbers. It was a complicated year. It was beautiful and tragic, often at the same time. I spent a significant amount of time re-learning myself and some of my relationships, practicing patience (hard!) and grace (harder!), and being super intentional about showing myself the same love and forgiveness I would show a friend (hardest!).

The most rewarding part of the year was the abundant opportunities for learning and growth. Here’s just a small collection of 31 things I learned in my 31st year.

  1. I can turn the volume down on other people by not allowing their hate or ignorance into my own life. I can say, “Not welcome here.” It can feel really good.
  2. The bartender at the Turf Club in Saint Paul would just really prefer if you kept your tab open rather than “run every single fucking beer like every other fucking Millennial.” Noted.
  3. Feeling lonely in grief is a second loss no one talks about. It feels like the rest of the world has left you behind. But they haven’t. This is temporary. You’re never alone.
  4. We’re all just here to walk each other home.
  5. If you are passionate about, talented in, and committed to something, you can get others to suspend their judgment, disbelief, and insecurities. This is how I have found myself in the audience, yelling my head off, at amateur pro-wrestling this winter. Twice. Having the time of my life.
  6. Jim Henson was raised as a Christian Scientist and he turned out pretty okay.
  7. Relationships soften when we enter someone’s home or let them enter our own. Our homes are incredibly special, sacred places and we ought to revere them in such a way that honors that.
  8. In brain chemistry, fear and excitement are really the same emotion (chemically speaking). It’s our thoughts that dictate which we experience.
  9. We gotta give more funding to public radio so the member drives will be shorter.
  10. If a therapist and a ski instructor give you the exact same advice- VERBATIM- it is your new gospel. (That gospel is “lean in to the fear.”)
  11. If you host an event and serve coffee and beer, no one will drink the coffee.
  12. Somewhere, someone is quietly being warmed by the fire of your life or your work or your love, without you knowing it. Keep your fire stoked.
  13. Three days of dehydrated meals might turn your poop green. Like, neon.
  14. you never know how deep you can dig until The Universe puts you in a hole and hands you the shovel.
  15. I am really, outrageously strong and unfuckwithable.
  16. There’s never a bad time to learn something new.
  17. I can use a map and compass to navigate the shit out of an REI parking lot. I am still learning to navigate the rest of the world.
  18. Some things can fix everything– like an apology, a campfire, or a length of rope.
  19. The entire citizenry of Utah is being held hostage by arcane liquor laws that make it impossible to get a draft beer with an ABV above 4%. #freeutah
  20. The wrong socks will really screw up the day.
  21. “Don’t be so hard on yourself, kiddo.”
  22. There aren’t enough words, in any language, for the people that walk beside you in deep canyons. Literally or figuratively.
  23. ‘The only way out is through’ isn’t always true. You can say “no thank you” to a lot of things and then simply walk around.
  24. Show me a person who can create a baked good with whole blueberries in which the blueberries do not fall to the bottom of the cake/muffin/scone and I will show you someone who is using some sort of black magic to defy the laws of physics.
  25. Marriage, dudes. It is really quite a spectacular trip.
  26. If a person was as indiscriminately friendly as a dog, they would actually be diagnosed with a developmental disorder.
  27. Being an auntie is 100% the bee’s knees. And it’s not even that hard– smile like a fool, play a bunch of games that have no real rules, run around the dining room table. Rinse, repeat.
  28. I recently heard this in a training: “Does my audience have the knowledge, skills, and desire to provide me with the goal outcome?” While this was about group discussion facilitation, I have found myself asking the same question in other areas of my life. Is this person truly able to give me what I am asking? If the answer is no, and I know that, the fault is on me for asking and leading us all to failure and disappointment.
  29. Asking for help is not an indication of my weaknesses, but rather of my wisdom to know when I simply cannot (and do not have to) do it alone. This has been my most freeing and life-giving lesson of the year.
  30. When you paddle at the front of the canoe, you are not in a position to see the whole boat. You have to trust the person who can see the things you cannot to keep you safe. They will.
  31. Life is still so, so good. It always has been.
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