11 Things I Learned in 2011

So you know the deal. It’s the end of the year and I’m feeling nostalgic, so I am writing lists of things. Things I learned, things I did, and things I wished I had done. Here’s part one:

1. Leggings are pants now. I’ve been fighting this one since about 2007, but I think it’s time to concede that leggings finally triumphed. Thank goodness huge, baggy shirts are also back in style.

2. Weddings are like an epidemic—one person breaks out, and everyone around them seems to catch the fever. Four of my best friends are getting married in the next 13 months. They all got engaged within a span of 7 months. I couldn’t be happier for my friends or more relieved that it’s not my turn yet…

3…which brings me to #3. This year, I learned to wait. And I learned that sometimes, waiting is exactly what I want and need to do. I didn’t get it right every time. But at some key moments, I hesitated before saying something hurtful. I paused before sending an email or a text that could have opened floodgates. I thought about how I wanted to live my life instead of rushing headlong into the fray, the way I’ve always done. I’ve been impatient my whole life. I was young for my grade, always wanting to be older and know more, always wanting to experience everything NOW instead of later. As I see those around me grow up, get married, and start families, I am trying to cherish the here and now before it’s gone.

4. The quickest way to wind up with your foot in your mouth is to describe your life in terms of “never” and “always.” If I had a nickel for every time I said I would never do something, only to turn around and do it, I would have a lot of fucking nickels. There’s nothing wrong in knowing who you are, but there is strength in admitting you don’t know everything and you might be open to changing your mind. Zealots are terrifying—and frequently incorrect. Don’t be that zealot.

5. The only one who can give you closure is you. But if you get in one last jab at your ex’s expense, don’t beat yourself up too much. You probably deserve that much anyway if you’ve dated some of the crazies I have.

6. Sunscreen is more important than I gave it credit for. So are hats. Vanity is losing the battle to health for the first time in my life.

7. You will never regret reaching out to someone in need, even if you feel embarrassed or awkward or insufficient.

8. A hot cup of coffee and a good meal can cure 90% of what ails you.

9. Champagne is not just for celebrations. Bloody Marys are not just for hangovers or brunch.

10. Cynicism may age slightly better than sentimentality (compare: Heathers v. Terms of Endearment), but being sincere beats being cynical every day of the week.

11. Life is unpredictable. It’s never “the right time” to accomplish a lot of the things we seek to do: switch jobs, have a kid, adopt a dog, make a big change. Screw it. Do those things anyway. You won’t regret them, and you’ll find time for the things you are passionate about.

Stay tuned for: 11 Things I Did in 2011. The suspense!!

Tags: life lists