25 Things I Learned in 2014

Hey you. Yeah, I'm talking to you. I see you trying to slink away all sly-like, as if you didn't just happen, but you did, didn't you? 

You were wild, 2014. Yes, like that movie based on a book that's coming out. Have you seen it? You were a bit rugged, a lot untamed, sometimes steep and as ever, unexpected. You sent blessings in the form of strong women and stronger whiskey, good listeners and good laughs, small moments of grace interspersed with major moments of emotional flailing about. I learned a lot from you this year, mostly the hard way because we humans are such a fun little species, aren't we? We're not concrete, like years. We're messy, like bones and muscles and heart and spirit.

For one, you taught me that MPLS is full of crazy cool, smart, sexy, empowered women who pick themselves up and dust themselves off; women who represent the resilience and intelligence and true foxiness I'd always admired and hoped to illuminate on this blog. 

You also taught me a lot of other things--things I'd spent 25 years not fully understanding. Things that may take me another 25 years to fully understand. You said, quiet at first and then a little louder: 

1. Self-respect does not come at 30, or 40, or 85. It does not show up on your door one day when you've "arrived" or "made it" or lost five pounds or Achieved an Achievement. It comes when you learn your God-given worth and how to avoid situations and people that don't honor it. 

2. Be wary of anyone who places too much emphasis on age. They wish they were younger.

3. Worry is your worst enemy. Do whatever you can to squelch the voice inside that looks for bad news (and I know it's a loud fucker.) 

4. Life isn't as _____(fill in the blanks: funny, tender, right) without a dog. 

5. Being an introvert is fine, but sometimes you just need to go to the party. Just go. You'll have fun.

6. While you're at it, always show up with a bottle of wine or a block of cheese. Really nice people should get both (And crackers!)

7. People that make fun of you for putting yourself out there are terrified to put themselves out there.

8. Celebrate anything you can. A wedding, a birth, a fucking perfectly made waffle. Life is so precious and fast. Marvel at what you make, the good in the people around you, your own ability to laugh after crying (which is an amazing human feat, no doubt.)

9. The most interesting people in the room are usually under 5 or over 80.

10. Thou shalt pack emergency granola bars.

11. Never underestimate the power of a glass of wine with a good friend on a weeknight.

12. Give unconditional love to the people that see your crazy and love it anyway.

13. Pick your battles.

14. Face gossip with silence.

15. Go with what's right for you, what feels natural, what makes you the calmest, best version of yourself. Everything else is bullshit. This applies to relationships, friendships, career choices, and brunch selections.

16. Never read the comments section. On anything. Ever.

17. Ten hours of sleep will make you feel like a superhero.

18. Forgiving usually helps in the forgetting.

19. We are all supremely wise and supremely stupid about different things. 

20. Mindless social media scrolling will make you sad. Use sparingly.

21. How harsh you are on others has a direct correlation to how harsh you are on yourself. Let both parties off the hook more often, please.

22. You can and should have friends who see the world differently than you. The view from your mind's eye isn't the only one (or the prettiest). 

23. Once you do the things you were "supposed to do" i.e. go to school, move out, find a job, you will have a tidal wave of existential confusion as to what you actually want to be doing. 

24. As Amy Poehler says, "you don't have to laugh if it's not funny."

25. Turn off the news and go to sleep. Good things start at the end of your next peaceful thought.