As 2010 draws to a close, I can’t help up reflect on this past year. I’ve taken some time over the last couple of weeks to reflect back on experiences of the past year and began to set some goals for the coming year. I finally started constructing my bucket list and will be posting my 2011 personal and professional goals before the weekend is over. These goals are influenced by lessons I have learned about interpersonal or romantic relationships, how I am looking to advance my career, and plans of self-improvement, both external and internal.
I am glad that I have had time to evaluate some of the decisions I made throughout the last year, as well as the relationships I maintained (and didn’t maintain) with others.
The year began and ended on a high note, albeit in very different ways. I welcomed 2010 with a new relationship that ended up being detrimental to my long-term emotional well-being, peace and happiness. There is much to be said for “hindsight being 20/20″, but life just doesn’t work that way. It’s easy to look back and see clearly where we took the wrong path, said the wrong thing, made the wrong decision, let the wrong person or persons into our inner lives. It’s more complicated when we are living in that moment. I think it’s easy to fall into that trap. Worse yet, I ended up beating myself up for not “seeing it coming” or for thinking that relationships and situations were stronger than they really were. It’s easy to be a Monday morning quarterback when you already know how the story ends. (clearly I am cliche girl today)
What’s most important is recognizing the many lessons experiences bring us. I’ve spend a lot of time exploring the events of the last year – the good, the bad, the ugly – and reflecting most on my part in them, how my words and actions could have, and should have, been better. I’ve also learned that I have to let everything else go – other peoples words and actions. I can’t control them and I certainly can’t own them. I think one of the biggest hopes and opportunities of a new year is to learn from our mistakes and grow from them, an opportunity to recover from life errors, whether our own or those of others that have impact our lives.
The reality is that there is light at the end of the tunnel, that situations pass and that things do get better, a lot better. I do want to be sure to remember all that I learned this year, about myself, about others, and about human nature in general. While this is primarily a way for me to reflect back on 2010 to remind me about my newfound knowledge, I hope that some of my lessons resonate in your lives as well.
So, without further delay, my 2010 life lessons include:
- Family and friends are equally important, and in fact, some friends are actually family.
- Everyone is not your friend, even if they say they are.
- It’s important to apologize when you have wronged someone, but you can’t control whether they will accept the apology.
- It’s unhealthy to hold yourself hostage to unaccepted apologies.
- Breakups, no matter how painful, don’t remain painful forever.
- Lack of forgiveness is toxic. It’s important to forgive others, whether or not they feel compelled to apologize.
- Relationships can be salvaged, but only with effort from both parties involved.
- There are in fact do-overs in life. The difficult part is deciding which ones are worth pursuing.
- Life isn’t a dress rehearsal. Make every moment count.
- We often stand in our own way from achieving the success we are capable of and deserve.
- Lending and/or borrowing money between friends or family leads to disaster.
- I am capable of launching and running a successful business.
- Be thankful for your life because you never know when your time will come.
All of these lessons are directly related to decisions that I made this year and interactions that I had with others. I welcome a kick in the ass from life, reminding me that I don’t have any control over the actions of others, that I only control my actions, and that I need to be accountable for them. The wonderful thing is, even though many of these lessons were learned in painful ways, this year is ending on a high note. I am healthier and happier than I have been in a long time. I am excited about what 2011 has to offer – existing and new relationships, opportunities to explore new things, learn new skills, step outside of my comfort zone to see what happens.
I have big plans for 2010. I resolve to live intentionally. I resolve to live authentically. I resolve to not stand in my own way, professionally and personally. I resolve to foster deeper, more meaningful relationships with family and friends. I resolve to be good to myself, to give myself space to learn, be healthy, grow, and love.
What are some of the lessons that you learned in 2010?