Welcome to my annual Things I Learned in post. I usually start working on this post the day the one for the previous year is published—the discussion in the comments is always fantastic and inspires new revelations to share the following year. 2018 was a busy one for me, packed with a ton of travel (eight individual trips, five countries, and 32 flights!), lots of fantastic Humblebee & Me meet ups, and so much learning and experimentation. I attended my first conferences, spoke in four different US states, and met so many wonderful people all over the world. This was my second full year of full-time blogging and I simply cannot express how incredibly grateful I am to all of you for making this possible. Your support helps cover the costs of not only hosting, ingredients, and equipment, but also rent, dog food, groceries, and car insurance. My wonderful patrons get an extra measure of love and appreciation for their ongoing and direct support of Humblebee & Me, but every single one of you who visits, comments, emails, and DIYs with me helps to keep Humblebee & Me online. I appreciate your support, questions, and encouragement so much!

Now, without further blithering, let’s get into those things I learned!

Things I Learned in 2018

Re-read these annual entries; it’s amazing how many lessons are learned more than once, or revised.

Reduce, reuse, recycle, and REFUSE. Don’t adopt things you don’t need. If you can politely decline a gift (say, a grab bag at a party or a company branded PR item), do. It’s so much easier to never have something in your life than to bring it into your home and find it weeks, months, or years later and have to make decisions about it.

I have a reserve of emotional resiliency, and when it is drained by ongoing stress or sadness I am left much more emotionally vulnerable. I’ll cry at anything vaguely sad. Frustration, anger, stress, and other negative emotions hit so much closer to home—much faster and more easily than they otherwise would. Happier emotions don’t seem as potent.

Moving is never awesome. Do it all in one weekend or do it over a month; it’s never great.

Being kind is a simple thing that pays wonderful dividends, be it opportunities or just the warm glow of a positive human interaction.

Trust, but verify.

I went on 32 flights this year. I think that was probably too many.

Bullying comes in many forms, and it can sometimes be hard to identify.

Your emotional energy is precious. Recognize what drains it and decide if that is worth the price.

I’m not as smart as I sometimes think I am… and sometimes I’m smarter than I think. Either way, I’m often wrong about myself!

British Tetley tea is superior to Canadian Tetley tea.

Few skills are mutually exclusive.

Life is much better when I just focus on being me.

Build the community you want to be part of.

I am nowhere close to my best in the middle of the night. Everything seems 1000x worse and I am unable to talk myself down and recognize that I’m being thoroughly unreasonable.

Embrace the joy of letting go.

I need to make more effort to spend time with my friends in person.

Passion in public can be exhausting. Passion for the sake of publicity will kill your passion.

Feel certain you probably never have the full story.

Be supportive and encouraging.

Meet people where they are.

Use technology to help yourself get things done, but don’t become a slave to it.

My parents sold my childhood home this year, and I can’t believe how much I miss it. I still dream about being there frequently and always wake up with a sad sense of loss.

YouTube trolls be crazy.

Hydration is so important.

I should never travel anywhere without earplugs, a blackout sleeping mask, and my down blanket.

Comfortable shoes > cute shoes.

As I age I find anxiety is a more and more common response to all kinds of different situations. I’m not sure if it’s because I’m more aware of it and have better language to identify and describe it, or if it’s genuinely becoming more common for me. Perhaps it is both.

Carbs are incredible.

I am so very lucky to be able to live my life the way I do.

I need to buy smaller amounts of things. Mostly ingredients.

Patterns are telling. Pay attention.

The world is a much nicer place when you see it as full of potential friends instead of potential threats.

What have you learned this year?