How it can possibly be New Years’ Eve Eve is beyond me, but here we are, whether or not I believe it.
2014 has been unexpected. I don’t live where I thought I would or do what I thought I would this time last year. But 2014 has been a good year, and I’ve learned some important (and some silly) things, so I thought I’d take a minute or two to reflect with you. Later this week, I’ll post about what I hope to learn and do and be in 2015.
I’d love to hear from you, too: what are the most important things you learned in 2014? What are your goals for 2015?
What I’ve Learned in 2014:
1. The importance of community.
I think I’ll probably be learning this one for the rest of my life, but my people are more important than my achievements or my stuff. I’ve changed communities a couple of times in the past year, mostly because of geographical changes, and regardless of who I’m physically around, my investment in the people around me is what makes all the difference. I’ve learned this year that one of my very favorite things is loving my friends and family well, and I can do that anywhere, with any friends and family. It means I have to remember that it’s not all about me and to look around every once in a while, but I think I’m getting better at that.
2. How to travel internationally (like a boss).
Because of an epic number of unexpected events back in the States last year, I got to have the unique opportunity of booking international travel less than 48 hours in advance more than once. I flew nearly every airline that flies in and out of Guadalajara (where I was living) and went through customs at just about every airport in the Southern half of the US. I learned where the best food courts were and which airports have free WiFi (DFW on both of those counts, for the record). I can navigate three wallets, two cell phones, a one hour layover in two languages in an airport with confidence. I’m considering a second career as a travel agent, but I hear they’re not doing too well these days.
3. How to cook without a microwave.
I also have had the unique opportunity to move quite a few times in the past year, and have finally settled into my own place with my own things (and no one else’s). Unfortunately, in having only my own things and no one else’s, it means I don’t have several things that many people would consider essentials, namely: a microwave, a TV, and internet (thought that last one will be remedied soon). As one of my coworkers put it, it’s like Little House on the Prairie.
For the most part, I’ve adjusted to life without a microwave, but there are a few things I’ve discovered that you really cannot do without a microwave. You can’t reheat rice or pasta, and even reheating leftovers from restaurants becomes a little tricky. Other than that, I don’t miss the little box of radiation. And with no TV or internet to take up my time, spending more time on cooking is actually a pleasure. Who knew?
4. That I am a writer.
I still feel a little presumptuous saying those words out loud, but this has been a big year for me as a writer. I started this blog less than a year ago, and I’ve had the opportunity to be featured on a few other, bigger websites and even be paid for writing in print this year. One of my goals for 2014 was to focus on my writing more and I’m at once proud and dumbstruck at what this little space has become this year. And I have you all to thank for that, largely, for following, sharing, commenting, supporting, and coming back again and again. I got a little email from my website hosts reflecting on the year and evidently enough of you have stopped by to fill the Sydney Opera House 5 times. I am humbled and terrified and excited to see what 2015 will hold.
5. How to use Instagram.
I joined Instagram this year. Here’s what I’ve learned about how to be successful on Instagram: 1. Buy a cat. 2. Take pictures of your cat. 3. Hashtag until it fills the screen. 4. Don’t forget a filter! 5. Watch the likes and comments roll in. 6. Do not forget: Pictures of your cat will always be more popular than pictures of your face. Selfie with caution.
6. Approximately 1000 educational songs.
I get to teach kindergartners this year for the first time, and suddenly I sing in class every single day. We sing about the letters of the alphabet, the colors of the rainbow, shapes, counting to 100, arctic animals, seasons, months, days of the week, and just about everything else you learn in kindergarten. Dr. Jean is taking over my iTunes (and I love it).
7. How to leave.
In the past year, I agonized over the decision to leave Mexico earlier than I had planned and come back to the US. I said goodbye to friends who had become family there and students and a school that I loved, knowing that I likely wouldn’t see them again. My parents are leaving my childhood home in 2015 to move across the country. Leaving well is, I believe, a spiritual practice, one that you can get better at with time and practice. But this year, I’d like to learn how to stay. More on that later this week, though.
Now it’s your turn! What did 2014 teach you? What are you hoping to learn in 2015?
Thanks for being a part of my 2014. Here’s to many more!
I’m linking up with other bloggers sharing what they learned in 2014: check it out here!