Around this time of year I usually write a list of all the things I’ve learnt this year. It’s gonna be a loooong list this year so I’ll split it between personal and creative lessons.
Here are my top personal things I’ve learnt (or re-learnt) this year.
- You can learn something new everyday if you listen to the right podcasts even after 2 and a half years. I am sure that more content is uploaded each day than anyone could consume in a lifetime. Fave discoveries for this year – The Guilty Feminist, The Big Day Out Podcast and A Podcast of One’s Own with Julia Gillard.
- It’s okay to abandon a book mid-read. There is only so much reading time and life’s too short to read a bad book. Best reads for this year have been Less by Andrew Sean Greer and Eleanor Oliphant is completely Fine by Gail Honeyman.
- People can change. I learnt years ago that you can’t change people, but I learnt this year that people can surprise you in a good way. Like when your 80 year old mum does a vegetarian lunch for your birthday. However, I don’t need to tell you that people can change for the worst and can suprise you in a bad way. Like how a loving man can refuse to attend his granddaughter’s wedding because he thinks she shouldn’t love who she loves. (People who were disappointed in Jamie Lannister’s ending in GoT have never seen someone completely mess everything up because of old beliefs.)
- Putting it out there isn’t the best way to achieve a goal. The best way to achieve a goal is to work at it every day. Announcing it on Facebook is often detrimental.
- You might not be your thoughts but you tend towards what you talk about.
- My body is no longer 18, and I need to forgive myself for the transgression. My 48 year old brain bemoans how stupid I was at 18 though so I also need to forgive myself for that.
- Permission to ‘not be helpful’ is a kind of rest. It’s also the kind of rest I need most and is the reason I’ll be going on a personal retreat to Bali in February, on my own for at least 5 days.
- I can survive without coffee. What’s more, I can thrive and not have heartburn!
- This is a tough one – Even the strongest families can be damaged by suicide when there is a lot of money involved.
- A narcissist, a really good one, can completely fuck people over but somehow come out looking like a hero.
- I relearnt this numerous times this year; without Morning Pages, meditation and yoga I cannot function in ordinary society.
- A movie starring Jason Statham and The Rock is as good as it sounds.
- I’m obsessed with tasteless, out of control characters because that’s who I truly long to be (and, let’s face it, who I am when drunk.)
- Poetry really can help when nothing else can.
- Some people don’t want to go to Paris.
- There is a good way to die.
- All the houses I have ever lived in looked better when I lived there. I checked.
- Self-control and discipline are highly underrated.
- CPR has changed. Learn first aid. It may be the life of the person you love the most that you save.
- Tap dancing is easier when you’re 20.
- Mansplaining is most offensive when it’s about the patriarchy.
- Sometimes a bad haircut is not a matter of waiting a few weeks. A hair stylist did such a hatchet job on my hair I’ll be growing it out for a couple of years. I am not being dramatic.
- Earthquakes are really scary.
- More people cared this year for the fate of an 800 year old building than for 8000 year old rainforest.
- It’s fun to think about the Soundtrack to your Life.
- Everyone should have a Wife.
- Social Media is a bin fire and should be avoided like one.
- Monkeys are worthy of my respect.
- Nothing puts on the pressure like “I’m happy if you’re happy.”
- Someone noticing how much you’ve changed is the very best compliment you can receive.
- Listening to grown-ass men criticising school children for protesting is cringe-worthy.
- The Melbourne Cup is going the way of the Dodo and the world is quickly waking up to animal-rights abuses hiding in plain sight.
- Love really can move mountains.
- Positive thinking, living Complaint-Free and gossip free can change everything!
- Looking back is only useful to see how far you’ve come.
Hi Christine: Thank you for this reflective, insightful post, a testament that one of the great blessings of getting older is wisdom, and seeing life and people more clearly. As a parent of three children, I certainly appreciate lesson 27: the dangers of social media. I have a lecture that my kids affectionately refer to Lecture 201: always evaluate the source, context, and true meaning. I have raised my children to be critical, independent thinkers. Since they were young, they were surrounded by books; and curiosity has always been encouraged. As wise adults, we have all seen the profound influence (good and bad) that the internet and social media have on impressionable youth. Young people have unwittingly given up all their privacy rights so that powerful corporations, like Google and Facebook, can turn them into commodities and sell their identities to companies and organizations, who in turn can manipulate their behavior and thinking. Truly Orwellian and frightening. The only antidote is education, curiosity, and a healthy skepticism, built on a foundation of enduring values. Have a great New Years. Cheers. Alex (feel free to continue the conversation via email. I can be reached at alex[at]alexatkinsdesign.com.
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