I think even more important than resolutions, is to take some time at the end of year to do a retrospect. What were my successes? What were my failures? What can I do better next year? Most important, what did I learn?
Here are ten random things that I learned in 2015 that I hope will make me better in 2016.
I don’t understand her
My wife is 14 weeks pregnant. When people have asked how she feels or if she had morning sickness, I’ve said that she has been a little nauseous and tired but not too bad.
The reality is that she felt like she had a hangover for 8 straight weeks but never threw up, which is worse. And the thing is, she never complained. Not once.
I learned that I don’t understand. Not even a little. I can’t understand how it feels to give my body’s resources to another living thing that happens to be living inside my own body. I can’t understand what it’s like to no longer fit in the clothes I bought because they make me look good. I can’t imagine feeling so shitty for three straight months that I don’t have the energy to workout or even stay awake beyond 8pm, for that matter.
My wife is our rock and I’m so proud of her.
If you hate your job, quit.
I stayed in my first job out of college for five years and I hated it for at least two of those years. I stayed because the money was good and it helped me buy my then fiancé a ring, helped buy us a house, and provided us a little stability. Was it worth it? Maybe. Maybe not.
After a while, I had enough, so I started searching for a job and stumbled upon a great gig with tons of freedom and a job description that fits my skill-set. When you have the freedom to work around your strengths, it makes you want to work hard for your employer.
BJ Novak said that if you find yourself saying “…but the money is good”, then you shouldn’t be doing it. Life is too short.
Harry Potter is the best thing I have ever read.
It is so freaking good that I want to get a tattoo of a lightning bolt or a Phoenix or a ginger kid to remind myself to be creative and bold. And to remind myself to create something amazing that will make people smile.
I just finished book 5 (The Order Of The Phoenix) and it feels like a Sunday night because I don’t want the series to end, even though I have two books left. I think I may be depressed when I finish them. Book hangovers are real.
I’m not sure what took me so long to join the party but fuck am I glad that I jumped on board. I now know magic is real because J.K. Rowling is a witch (the good kind) with words.
2016 will be my best year yet
I feel like I say that every year. I got engaged in 2012, moved in with my fiancé and got our dog – Marshall – in 2013, got married and bought a home in 2014, and knocked my wife up in 2015.
How do you top that? With a baby, is how. I’m terrified and excited and hundreds of other emotions that I can’t articulate. But I know it will be the most amazing, rewarding, challenging adventure that I have embarked on to date. And I can’t wait. Also, I have a designated driver for the next six months.
I suck at mornings
I’ve always known this, actually. I hit snooze at least four times every morning. And I hate it. Waking up just one hour earlier would give me time to spend some time with my wife; make a smoothie; read; write; train; walk the dog; etc.
I need to wake up earlier. Let’s file this in the resolution folder and move on. But wait; once the baby comes I won’t sleep for months, so maybe I should do as much of that now as I can.
In 2015 I joined the jury at Mash Stories – a flash fiction writing competition. Mash is a non-profit that helps writers improve their craft through competition and a welcoming community.
Then, after being vocal about becoming more involved and how much I love the family of readers and writers, I was made Mash Club Coordinator. It’s only a few hours per week but it’s time spent helping others, learning, and being a part of a great team.
Let others help you
You can’t take this in any way you please. Here are just a few of the many examples:
Let people in (to your soul); get a mentor; see a therapist. I started seeing a psychologist after experiencing some anxiety and having some Tension Headaches. My counselor calls me a high-anxiety individual. She also calls me strong, brave, and proactive for seeking help. I agree.
I don’t say that to be pompous or something or even to pat myself on the back. The truth is that seeking help and opening up to a stranger is NOT easy. It’s harder than letting your emotions boil until you explode.
Talking to a professional has helped a ton and I can’t be more thankful for her help. I am also so thankful to my wife for being patient with me and empowering me do what I needed to do to get better.
More than anything, seeing Diana helped me to become more self-aware. I am now more in-touch with my feelings and emotions and can diagnose what is making me anxious so that I can avoid those triggers.
I implore anyone who thinks it could help them in some way to talk to a professional, to do so. Message me or comment if you have any questions about that. I’m not sure how much I can help but I can at least tell you about my experience.
Enthusiasm is everything
I got the job at Mash with my enthusiasm. I landed my current job because of my skills and resume but a big part of it was my enthusiasm.
People like people with passion – people that fucking care. Be yourself and be genuine.
“The first draft of anything is shit” – Ernest Hemingway
Take your time and do good work. Be thorough. Omit what is not necessary. Be clear and concise. Don’t aim for funny, aim for truth (Jon Favreau). Never use a verb other than ‘said’ to carry dialogue and keep exclamation points to a minimum (Elmore Leonard)!
All good lessons, yes. But the lesson in bold takes the cake. My first draft is always shit. Every time.
“Make good art” – Neil Gaiman
Please, please, please, take 20 minutes to watch this video. It’s worth it.