It’s often said that we learn more from our mistakes than our successes. This year I’ve experienced how so, so true this is.
I wanted to share the lessons I’ve learned for a couple reasons. Numero uno, it was really effing hard and I wanted to establish a reminder for myself. And two, the hope they might encourage someone else going through a difficult time. While I know sadly these lessons are often only learned through experience, it is the greatest desire of my heart that we may know and give real love, and live in it. The good, the bad, the ugly, and the extraordinary.
These are the lessons I’ve learned in 2013:
1. Love is a verb, and there is nothing better. It's inside you and all around you. So when you need it, pay attention.
2. The Universe is good, always. It never stops pursuing you to make sure you know how much you are loved.
3. Life is like the wind – it can change direction at any time, and is subject to forces beyond the eye can see. While we can plan, it’s God who determines our path. Our own plans are pretty meaningless unless they are in line with the wind, and they are the absolute best when they are. The best way to live is to trust in this (and quit trying to be a perfectionist control-freak already. Remember your hippie nature.)
4. Timing is everything. And the right song always comes at that time. And its everything.
5. There is always hope. Make sure you know where your hope lies.
6. There is no greater gift than unconditional love, especially when you feel like poop (and look like it). You do realize who your true friends are in difficult times. Be eternally grateful for friends, family and colleagues who love endlessly in different ways. And commit to being this for others.
7. Some people will betray you. The hardest part of betrayal is that by very nature it comes from someone close. Just walk away and remember that it has nothing to do with you. Most importantly, REMEMBER don’t let this hold you back from opening up to, and trusting, others who are trustworthy.
8. Grieve when something precious is lost. Don’t hold back, but don’t let it take over your ability to move forward when it’s time. Cry in the shower. At Duane Reade. And to your friends for the billionth time if you have to.
9. Hard times will come. And they can come again and again. And maybe again. They will change you. They will always reveal a healthy dose of reality. They will force honesty and promote growth. It can be in the form of heartbreak, illness, and even literally falling on your face. (You may have a scar to prove this bullet).
10. Hard work pays off. So does therapy. So does prayer.
11. Everyone is on their own journey. Be nice and open.
12. Sometimes you will make mistakes; consciously or unconsciously. Either way, admit to them and their consequences. Learn from them. Commit to never doing them again.
13. NYC is beautiful in the fall. So is Portugal.
14. Red wine will not love you back.
15. Don’t date until you’re ready and comfortable in yourself to share all of yourself. This is particularly difficult if you’ve been hurt before. However, only when you’re ready to be vulnerable can depth of relationship have the chance to be forged. Taking the risk to give them the opportunity to see and like the real you, is worth more than the fear of loosing them because you’re only able to share the non-broken parts of you. If you can’t do this, you’re just not ready yet.
16. In order to do #15, you have to love yourself. This can be a hard one. Even if by Divine nature, you're already pretty perfect. Try to believe this one... you don't need anything else.
17. Listening to music as you walk down the street adds a soundtrack to your life; choose that music wisely. And don't be afraid to strut it.
18. Travel. There’s a wide, beautiful, amazing world out there. There's always something to learn from it. And it reminds you... YOU ARE ALIVE.
19. Gratitude increases abundance. Write it, Think it, Say it. To your co-workers, your doctor, your friends, your apartment and even your fruit stand man.
20. If at the end of a hard year you more honestly love than at the beginning, it hasn’t just been a hard year – it’s been a very good year.