I can scarcely believe it’s already time for my annual “Things I Learned” blog entry. I started writing these back in 2012, and I’ve written them every year since (2013 & 2014). These posts are definitely a bit of a departure from what I usually write about, but I really enjoy the reflection involved in the writing of them, and the discussion the comes from them is fantastic. So, without further ado—what I learned in 2015:
The photos are mostly from my travels this year; a month in Costa Rica, 10 days in New York City, and some trips around the Rockies and the Canadian prairies, plus a few shots from my work with Tekoa this year.
You can encourage truthfulness and openness in your relationships. That is, the way you react to the things people share with you heavily influences whether or not they’ll continue to share things with you in the future. Nobody has a perfect past or present, and if you are judgmental or unkind when people share things with you, they’ll stop. If they sense that you are passing judgement on them when they share, they won’t. Maybe they’ll outright lie, maybe they’ll lie by omission, or maybe they’ll remove you from their life. I definitely know a few people who only ever get the abridged version of my life because they have a history of over reacting, judging, lecturing, or brushing off things that are important to me. They probably don’t even know that I wouldn’t tell them about the vast majority of important things that happen in my life, and they’d be hurt if they did, but I feel no obligation to subject myself to their poor reaction, whatever it may be.
Also, it’s ok to simply thank somebody for sharing something with you. You don’t need a brilliant, earth-shattering response.
Sometimes the qualities you admire in somebody turn out to be masking qualities. A great sense of humour can be covering up a seriously discriminatory mean streak. A confident, independent appearance can be masking a habit of making continuous poor decisions.
Being helpless is not an attractive quality. Being a damsel in distress is a choice; do not make it. Figure it out. At least try to figure it out. Make an effort, do some research, exhaust your options. Google it. Do not ask for help until you’re certain you need it (and then try to ask only once—don’t ask for help and then ignore the person offering it). You’ll learn more, and the people in your life will respect you far more.
Be wary of people who say everybody always leaves them or lets them down. All those people who left might have been right. It’s not that being let down by loved ones can’t happen to good people—it’s that it can’t happen exclusively to good people. I once knew somebody who was of the “woe is me, everybody lets me down” ilk. That was a sad story until they did something dumb and fraudulent and included me in the scheme without my knowledge or consent. Once I found out (by accident) and shut it down, they got mad at me, quickly outing themselves as the kind of person that’s always disappointed by their friends because they have ridiculous (and possibly illegal) expectations of them.
Decent people with good intentions who constantly make poor decisions can be just as harmful to you as bad people with bad intentions.
Smokey soaps need to age in isolation. Their smokiness will spread to all your other non-smokey soaps.
An unwillingness or defensive reaction to adopting new responsibilities can be masking a fear of failure.
There’s some things I learned. What did you learn this year?
I’d say, you also learned perseverance pays off! Congratulations on the book!
I’ve learned that when the chips are down, you find out who your true friends are.
Lesson relearned: getting out in nature is still the best stress relief, and often a great time to let ideas percolate.
Happy New Year!
Thank you, Christine—you are very right! I heartily agree with you about the nature thing; even in the winter it’s important to get out there 🙂
The best lesson I learned was a quote I heard in a movie. “Just because something doesn’t last forever doesn’t mean it’s value is diminished.” I’ve ended some long term relationships this past year and this quote helps to lessen the sting a bit.
Marie, may I ask how you arranged to vacation/live in Costa Rica for a month? How luxurious!
Annie I was thinking the same thing! It must be wonderful (yet well deserved) to vacation in Costa Rica for an entire month….please share with us Marie. I’m at a point in life where I too want to experience a more purposeful life instead of just functioning in a redundant existence…..traffic, work, more traffic, household chores, etc. Happy New Year everyone!!
I was working remotely, so it wasn’t entirely a vacation, but the weather was certainly fantastic and I really enjoyed using my weekends to explore 🙂 I hope I can do it again soon!
That’s a great quote, Annie—I definitely have some friends who should hear it, I’ll have to pass it along 🙂
I was able to work remotely in Costa Rica, so I had my weekends, evenings, and mornings to myself, but was working poolside via the internet during the day. It was pretty great! My company is pretty cool 🙂
I was not ready for that smokey soap epiphany. Still choking here.
Great post, Marie. Gotta admit I wondered if I had/have any of those negative qualities. Maybe once upon time I may have tried the damsel in distress thing. Probably, but that was eons ago.
1..I learned or had reaffirmed, never ever ever take life for granted. Life can be taken from your heart in the blink of an eye. If you love someone, never stop showing them. Don’t do it. Be kind, be generous with your words, be an ear, tell them. Drop the protective gear, make yourself vulnerable beyond your safe bubble and show your love for everyone on your list. Even your casual neighbor.
Once you “love” out of your safe zone, you’re free. It’s awesome.
Which leads me to God. Don’t forget to tell him you love him, too . Thank Him all day for for the constant blessings He sends. I could go on and on.
Thank you Marie. I count you as a blessing this year. You are a beautiful blog friend.
Great comments, Christie
The smokey soap caught me, too, and is also a wonderful analogy for other things 🙂
I also love your other reflections.
Happy New Year
Thank you, Cheryl 🙂
Ha! That one is definitely quite a bit lighter than the others, but now I have a batch of was-supposed-to-be-lemon soap that smells like smoked lemonade LOL 😛
The value of life lesson is a great one, though always one learned under the worst of circumstances in my experience. I’m sorry it’s one you (re)learned this year.
Thank you so much for your support 🙂
Sometimes people use Respect to mean “treating someone as a human would” and sometimes they use Respect to mean “treating someone as an authority”.
When people who are accustomed to being treated as authority say “If you don’t respect me I won’t respect you” when they actually mean something more to the effect of “If you don’t treat me as an authority, I won’t treat you as a human”.
And yet, they think they are being “fair”. But the truth is… they aren’t.
This is fantastic—thank you for sharing 🙂
Things I Learned in 2015…. I love, love, love humblebee & me.
I learn new things with every read… I am enticed to try new things and see things from a new perspective. I share with ALL of my good friends and sometimes with people who aren’t.
Thanks for all you do and I will be watching, with anticipation to see all of the things the new year brings forth.
Happy New Year.
Thank you so much, Sherri! You support means the world to me 🙂 I can’t wait to see what happens in 2016!
With gratitude and appreciation, Karey
Thanks, Karey 🙂
This is the best DIY post I ever read 🙂
Your learnings are awesome. I hate to think what you had to experience to gain that kind of wisdom but I am so glad that you were reflective and open to learning – and willing to share. Thanks so much and best wishes for 2016!
Thank you very much, CS 🙂
Wonderful blog I can relate to a lot of what you learned in 2015. I’m obessed with dyi skincare hence the reason I signed up for your newsletter. Can’t wait for your book. Happy New Year
Thanks so much, Grace!
Things I’ve learned – some the hard way.
1. Take time to heal. BE good to yourself and try not to focus only on others. Your body will thank you. ( I of course did not take the time needed to heal after major surgery and am now paying for the consequences)
2. Just had this conversation with a co-worker a few minutes ago. Our past does shape us, but does not need to define us. If it weren’t for a very bad relationship I would not be where I am today – a strong, self-reliant person, because of my past. At the end of the day only I am responsible for my actions.
3. This year has been about following my passions and seeing where it leads ….so far so good. Now to work on making my passions pay for themselves. I am extremely lucky to have an SO who totally supports my passions. Not all are that lucky.
4. Never be afraid to continue learning….see#3. After being away from school for far to many years, I will be beginning studying again this January – a step towards making one of my passions a paying job. This has been a huge hurdle as I was never a good student as I have a learning disability. I actually love my day job, but it’s not my passion.
5. Laugh …a lot. and I mean a lot. At least a belly busting laugh a day. Unless you have stiches, then not so much.
Thanks, Bronwyn, these are great lessons 🙂 I’m with you on making your passions self-sustaining, I’d love to do more of that this year as well!
I learned that I am… a Smokey Soap.
Hmm… an interesting reflection indeed 🙂
Brilliant post, thanks! And the smokey soap insert
I have learned / am learning not to be impatient. I think things fall into place in their own good time. That you have to do the groundwork, choose your course, but you often can’t choose the timeframe. Hurdles will arise, and spanners will be inserted into your works, but learning to cope / deal with these is part of the journey. You will get there in the end if you perservere.
And every year, I learn again the value of love (generally, not specifically romantic) and good, reliable friendships!
I love this, Sarah. Fantastic points, truly. Work hard, be ready for opportunities—create them where you can, but be ready and work to better yourself in the meantime 🙂
1. How hard it is to put yourself “out there”
2. That everyone has their own expectations from, and uses for, social media.
3. To develop my own voice and to try not to obsess over others’ doubts and opinions.
Thanks for the great post! Loved the photos and your words about “smoky soaps”…
Thanks for sharing, Janie 🙂 These are great lessons; especially the ones about social media in relation to different family members and new relationships. It’s an entirely new frontier to navigate.
“It is in changing that we find purpose”
I try to remember this as I am going through difficult times.
Thanks, Clea 🙂 That’s a great thing to remember.
Wonderful Post Marie, thank you for sharing this with us! It looks as you have gained some valuable perspective this year!
I continuously learn through the years, more about love. Loving others, loving myself, and especially loving those who are difficult to love by by our meer, conditional standards, particular to difficult family members.
I have also been learning how to have friendships with those who are different than I, or who might not agree on some things; respecting differences and rather appreciating them and valuing the humbling experience of a new perspective they offer.
Thank you for all your hard work here and for sharing your incredible DIY knowledge here with us. Happy New Year of 2016 to you!
Thanks, Ashlynn! I’m already gathering lessons for this year’s post as well 🙂 It sounds like you had a great year of learning as well!