Regardless of all the crap that happened in 2016, I must admit that I learned a few things. I’m not going to pretend I’m a bastion of wisdom. But damnit, I’m smart, I’m funny, and (some) people like me. Here are some of those nuggets of wisdom that I learned this year.
Always look forward to lunch:
This is the number one thing I preached this year. People always talk about how breakfast is the most important meal of the day, and dinner gets a special elevated status with its fancy sauces and cooking techniques and mail-delivery groceries. Lunch also gets relegated to the desk to go along with “working lunches.” I hate that so much. Lunch gets no respect. I have a theory that everyone needs something to look forward to. No matter how much you enjoy your job (and I do enjoy my job), you need a break in the middle of the day. It’s healthy to be looking forward to something good. It helps especially if that thing includes a delicious meal. Lunch should fit that bill. At worst, a bad lunch can exacerbate a bad day. On the other hand, a good lunch can amplify an already good day.
Help yourself, first:
You know when you fly there’s that warning that you need to take care of your own oxygen mask first? Yeah, that was this year. I learned that if you’re not at your best self, you can’t help others. I tried to put on my own oxygen mask through writing and running and taking part in the things that I enjoy. I helped less often, but I’d like to think that my contributions to people mattered so much more.
Find the Joy:
Our culture is so obsessed with people being happy. I hate that term. Happy is so watered down and nebulous, what does happy look like? My mind immediately went to the stereotypical family of four with a house and picket fence. That may happy for me in the future, but it’s definitely not happy for me right now. It’s hard to picture happy, but it’s nowhere near as hard to picture joy. You can see joy. Right now my joy comes from watching soccer, running, eating a good sandwich, and spending quality time with friends.
Get a mission statement:
I created my mission statement this year. It’s “I will use empathy and kindness to heal wounds, build bridges, and fight injustice.” I came up with it the day after the election. It’s helped guide my decisions post-election. I don’t know if life became any easier, but I feel better about myself and my life choices after this. It will help guide my decisions in 2017.
I learned that I don’t need to be on social media all the time. Life will go on if you miss one celebrity’s twitter tribute to another. You don’t need to pay attention to every ebb and flow in the world. Some days it’s totally ok to be behind the curve on things. You have to listen to yourself first.