Welcome to this year’s Things I Learned in post. These posts have become a bit of a tradition for me; a thing I keep in the back of my mind as I work through the year. This year featured quite a lot of change for me, as well as quite a lot of travel. I explored parts of Canada I’ve never seen, and revisited London and New Zealand. I got a dog; started preparing to move; and strengthened, started, and re-kindled relationships. I took up running again and ran my first 10km race, and I lived a lot of rather dull yet enjoyable days. I also learned a lot; here’s a selection of those lessons.
You don’t need to (and probably won’t have) goals for every area of your life. Hopes and notions, maybe, but not firmly defined goals; and that’s fine.
Happiness is a goal. It’s a pretty nebulous one, and you’ll probably need to set other goals to get there, but as a north star sort of goal, it’s a pretty darn good one.
Don’t tell strangers (or near strangers) you have crushes on them via Facebook messenger and definitely don’t attach photos of your genitals.
Sometimes cutting somebody completely out of your life is the best thing you can do for your relationship.
A decision that takes you from agony to relief is almost always the right one.
If one of the relationships in your life has been broken or terminated, and you want to rekindle that relationship, you need to figure out why it broke and fix that first. Time alone doesn’t heal everything; you can’t just wait and then try to restart a relationship when all the same issues that destroyed it are still there.
People strike out when they feel threatened.
The people you admire most can tear you down the fastest, so be careful who you admire. Conversely, be aware of your interactions with those who admire you.
Confront niggling little doubts sooner rather than later; they tend to compound and create a significantly worse situation if you ignore them.
Don’t discount the importance of emotional intimacy.
Just because something isn’t wrong, or is almost right, doesn’t mean it’s right or that it’s right for you.
You don’t have to bring up every doubt and thought you have in every relationship the instant you have them, but do right by those doubts and thoughts. Acknowledge them, and if they keep coming back, confront them and discuss them.
Sometimes a gut feeling is all you’ve got to make a decision on. I’m not great at that.
People can die astronishingly fast, and with no warning.
Sometimes you have to examine a perfectly good situation and decide if good is good enough.
Always fly with a snack.
I love New York City. In small doses.
I have less and less time for people who are rude, mean, or potentially trolls. If somebody cannot at least be polite they don’t deserve my time.
Sometimes ignoring really is the best option. It’s not really a solution, but it’s an option, and sometimes it works pretty well.
Sometimes the people you love will be disappointed by you and the things you do that make you happy. Assuming you’re not actively harming yourself or others, that’s on them, not on you.
If you are judgemental be prepared to have the people in your life selectively edit their lives when they share with you.
Japanese sunscreen is infinitely superior to North American sunscreen and I’m never going back.
(Edited to add my favourites: Shiseido SENKA | Sunscreen | Mineral Water UV Gel SPF50 PA+++ 40ml [USA / Canada], Biore Uv Aqua Rich Smooth Watery Gel SPF50 + PA ++++ [USA / Canada], Biore UV Aqua Rich Watery Essence 2014 SPF50+/PA++++ [USA / Canada], Biore SARASARA UV Perfect Bright Milk SPF50 + / PA ++++ [USA / Canada])
My skin needs copious amounts of hydration and does much better with tons of it.
I have too much stuff and feel better when I have less stuff.
I am actually capable of being a neat and tidy person when I have less stuff and ensure the stuff I do own has a home within my home.
A pressure cooker is necessary for cooking good chickpeas from dried.
Your time has value, and money spent to give yourself more time to do things you enjoy is well spent, be it hiring an accountant to do your taxes or taking the bus because you hate driving and would rather read on your commute.
If you think nobody ever truly needs antidepressants or anti-anxiety medication, you are an extremely fortunate individual. This is akin to thinking nobody ever needs morphine because you’ve never experienced a level of pain that an ibuprofen couldn’t handle. Just because you don’t need it doesn’t mean nobody does, and thinking people who need medicine aren’t trying hard enough to cope without it is exceptionally daft.
I’ve filled up a lot of journals, and to me, they are like therapy sessions. Nobody would tape their therapy sessions and save them for their family, so I’m not saving my journals for my family.
I’m pretty sure I’m getting more introverted as I age.
Forced boredom and I are not a good combination. When I’m bored I tend to nap a lot, and then that throws off my sleep schedule, and that ends up in Marie grumpy and restless in bed at 2am.
Sometimes, 20 year old you was right.
This year I tried a few things that I was heavily encouraged to do, despite having a long list of rational reservations and reasons not to. I wish I’d listened to myself; I was right. All those rational reservations and reasons not to were correct—I disliked the tasks for exactly the reasons I thought I would and I wish I hadn’t wasted the time and money on them.
#MeToo. Existing as a woman on the internet seems to be license for strangers to comment on my body, send me photos of their genitalia, propose marriage, and otherwise harass me, and that’s to say nothing of the sort of things I deal with existing as a physical woman in the physical world. This sort of disgusting harassment of women needs to stop.
As life goes on new experiences will broaden your definitions of happy and sad, and everything in between. Remember those reference points—those moments of “I’ve never been happier” and “I’m more heartbroken than I thought possible”. They will help you contextualize further life experiences and react proportionately.
Missing people you love is exhausting.
Puppies are extremely cute because almost everything else about them is awful.
Puppy teeth will always be sharper and stronger than you remember.
When you meet someone with a brand new puppy, ask them how they are rather than just cooing all over the puppy.
The Life-Changing Magic of Tidying Up: The Japanese Art of Decluttering and Organizing by Marie Kondō
The Subtle Art of Not Giving a F*ck: A Counterintuitive Approach to Living a Good Life by Mark Manson
The Angry Chef: Bad Science and the Truth About Healthy Eating by Anthony Warner
That’s been my 2017—what did you learn this year?
Gosh I needed that kind of candour and honesty this morning. You have brightened many of my mornings through your posts and videos. Happy New Year Marie ..
Thanks so much, Mona! Happy New Year to you as well 🙂
Agree with all of these. I am a self confessed hermit as much as a mum can be..people tend to disappoint in their shallowness and it eats at the soul. Put safety precautions in place and live your life best
Thanks, Wendy; I’m starting to feel like it’s better to invest in proven relationships than try to rescue new ones that aren’t working. And it is SO important to protect yourself—nobody else is going to!
Loved this end-of-year post Marie!
In 2017 I’ve learned/am continuing to learn to avoid the drama and nonsense that zap your energy and time and affect your inner peace. It’s never, ever worth it. It’s taken me time to realize this but sometimes it IS better to cut someone out of your life because they are impacting your self-worth/showing a lack of respect towards you on a regular basis than to continue trying to mend the broken relationship. Figure out how much “trying” is healthy for you and if it goes past that point, discontinue that relationship. You are worth more than that.
I’ve also learned just how kind-hearted people people can be. It’s amazing when someone says to you that they will be there for you when you need them without blinking. Not everyone says that without hesitation– or at all. These are your true friends!
On this same theme, I’ve also learned that the people I admire most in life are the people that know how to accept people as they are. No judgement, no expectations of what they want you to be. They just like you for who you are and they work with it. They are rare to find because it’s not easy to do. Keep those people in your inner circle when you find them!
And finally, thanks to your blog, in what has been one of the most difficult years of my life, I have found tremendous joy in this new DIY skin care hobby 🙂 It’s all started with just wanting a new moisturizer and has morphed into quite the product stash in my basement. New Directions and Voyageur Soap and Candle are very happy I found this hobby 🙂 It’s pushed me out of my comfort zone and I have had so much fun creating new cleansers, lotions and serums. Thank you Marie!
Also… I like NYC in small doses as well!
Thanks, Kelly! Your lessons are wonderful. I feel like women are especially conditioned to continue to work on relationships that aren’t working, as if it isn’t polite or kind and that’s more important than removing somebody from your life even if they are dragging you down. That internal conflict frustrates me to no end! AMEN to keeping accepting people around, too. I’ve been lucky to find quite a few of them over the last few years and it certainly throws those who don’t into sharp relief.
I’m so happy I’ve been able to help brighten your year in some small way 🙂 Thank you so much for reading, DIYing with me, and sharing your 2017 lessons!
Hey Queen !
These are spot on! You’re young to have learned all these things, and in one year! I’m still learning them and sometimes second guessing myself (and I’m much older). Nevertheless I’m thankful to still be here and be able to learn. I think you’re very brave and honest and I applaud your generous spirit and balanced practical views. Thank you for sharing.
Thanks so much! Just because I’ve written them down doesn’t mean I’ll always remember them, but it does help 🙂 It’s funny to go back and re-read some of the older “Things I Learned In…” posts and realize the lessons I learned a few years ago now have a few new stories to back them up. The learning never ends!
That was supposed to say Queen Bee! But the bee emoji turned into a blank space. Sorry about that.
No worries! I’m not sure what’s up with emojis here—they worked for a while and now they’re just blank spaces :/
Great look back and comments…
And all of your pictures are amazing.
Thank you so much! I’ve sure had a lot of fun working on my photography this year 🙂
I loved this post. You are quite an incredible human being and make the world a better place. Thank you for your continued candor and insight. May 2018 be a beautiful year for you ❤️
Thank you so much, Rachel! I really appreciate your kind words 🙂
Thank you for sharing those lessons! I like particularly the one about not keeping the journals. I am so sad about the #metoo…
I love your pictures! Thank you so much for sharing! Lottie is absolutely adorable! And looking at those pictures, it feels like I am travelling a little. Thank you for those feelings.
And on the practical side, because I really like all your DIY and trust you on beauty tips and products, would you mind telling what is your japanese sunscreen and where you get it?
Best wishes for 2018! Lots of health!
Thank you! I’ve updated the post to include my four favourite sunscreens 🙂 Thanks for reading!
I love your blog. I continuously find new recipes I love. Your make up book is wonderful. You have blessed me this year with all of these. Hope you have a blessed 2018.
Thank you so much, Lori! Happy making and happy 2018 🙂
Great early morning read – this is something I want to do – that is “what I have learned” – I think it helps keep life in perspective.
Happy New Year and I look forward to trying some more salves and creams – my absolute favourite (which so happens to be the first salve I ever tried) is the basic excema Shea salve. It is so wonderful and of course I have experimented with different essential oils in it and it is always wonderful!
Thanks so much, Maureen 🙂 Enjoy your reflections; I find thinking them through and writing them out to be very enjoyable and cathartic. A big thank you for reading & DIYing with me!
Marie that’s a very thought provoking post.
I have had to cut a close relative out of my life as the relationship caused me untold stress and I have relief from the stressful situation.
It was difficult to do and those close to me feel that I have been harsh but reading your post has reassured me.
Thank you for sharing this and thanks for your blog it’s great. Unfortunately I don’t have enough time to make everything I want to but I will get there!
Thanks, Yolly 🙂 I feel like women are encouraged (guilted?) into many things (like keeping toxic people around) because removing them would be “harsh”, or “unkind”, or some other negative thing, with no consideration for how harsh or unkind NOT taking action is to YOU. We’re taught from a young age not to hurt people, but I wish we were also taught that it is prudent to always evaluate situations and relationships, and protect yourself if necessary. Don’t set yourself on fire to keep others warm.
A big thank you for reading and happy 2018!
>If you think nobody ever truly needs antidepressants or anti-anxiety medication, you are an extremely fortunate individual. This is akin to thinking nobody ever needs morphine because you’ve never experienced a level of pain that an ibuprofen couldn’t handle. Just because you don’t need it doesn’t mean nobody does, and thinking people who need medicine aren’t trying hard enough to cope without it is exceptionally daft.
This is extremely profound and something I’ve realized as well this year.
I’m still trying to find myself, but this year (at 16) is finally the one in which I came to terms with my appearance. I used to try to do everything I could to lose weight, and then I fell into a long period of inactivity, but I now realize the importance of mind over body, and appreciating myself.
I love reading these posts every year! Have a great 2018 🙂
Thanks, Anna! I wish I’d had your self-acceptance at 16; that was certainly not a great time for me liking me in the physical sense. Happy 2018!
Hi Marie, I am new here the last few months, I love watching your videos! Your spirit is so uplifting, and you inspire me so much! Thank you for sharing your 2017 learning experiences.
You are very wise. Lessons can only be learned through experience. Once you reach a certain age You come into yourself or get much more comfortable in your own skin. And many of those things you mentioned will not even phase you. Comfort zone of life. The serenity Prayer is a good one.
You are a beautiful soul and I pray you will have a wonderful 2018. May you be surrounded by people who uplift you and encourage you! And Love you for who you are.
I am sorry you have had to deal with rude people, you are a Lovely person and do not deserve this. I made a basic lotion yesterday and love the feel of it on my skin. I am enjoying your Make it up book. Thank You Marie
Amen to everything you said, Theresa!
Thanks so much, Theresa! One of my favourite thing about this annual reflection post is going back and looking at some of the older ones and realizing how much those lessons seem obvious now, while also remembering how hard won they were at the time.
A huge thanks for your support, and happy 2018!
I loved reading this! Very inspiring in just the right kind of way, I think i will go ahead and write down the things i have learned this year – and become a lot more regular with my own journalling. Thank you!! I have been following you on you tube for a bit now – but i might just have to subscribe to your blog. I like the way you write 🙂 keep up the great work.
-Aimee, from NZ-
Thanks so much, Aimee! Though I do journal daily, I think this annual exercise is one of my favourites for how it forces me to distill the year and reflect over larger/longer periods of time, which I rarely do in a daily journal entry unless I’m feeling particularly profound or reflective (which certainly isn’t a daily occurrence :P).
You might want to check out my Instagram, too—I was just in your amazing country and have been sharing lots of pretty pictures of it 🙂
Another beautiful end of year post, Marie. And great comments from lovely ladies.
Seems a common interest is getting rid of bad people. I was trying last year to throw my destructive friend from my mind and life aaaaaaaaand I’m still trying.
I have made progress since last December’s comment on your 2016 post, regarding this. I think I commented, anyway. My progress is; I rarely see this person and when I do, all I see now is a stranger. That makes me sad but it’s good progress for me. Believe me, I’ve never gone through something so heart wrenching in my life, like this. Her betrayel to my family.
You mentioned something about a broken heart. I once thought only a husband or child could break your heart but a friend can, too.
Wish me luck. Next year on your 2018 entry, I pray I have a successful end to this misery.
What is the end, you ask? A heartfelt apology from her. I absolutely need it. I need to know that she knows what she did to my family. She tore our hearts out.
Your post is much more upbeat this year! You’re happier. I’m happy that you’re happier.
Thanks, Cristie 🙂 I think I am happier, though 2016 was by no means a real whomper of a year. This year has just had some lovely things in it, and I also feel more confident in protecting, feeding, and safegaurding myself and my happiness.
I’m sorry you are still struggling with your person 🙁 I can certainly understand the need for an apology, but in needing an apology you are still giving that person power in your life that they do not deserve. Obviously letting that go is easier said than done, but perhaps it’s something to think about? Also, you might enjoy giving the Mark Manson book I linked a read; it’s quite irreverent but contained some very useful ideas for me to reflect on 🙂
Here’s to luck and happiness in 2018 🙂
Christie, I am so sorry for your pain. My husband and I are going through this as well, 2 family members ripping our hearts out. I apologized for anything I may have done wrong. Though I would like an apology, I may never get it. Bottom line is I have to move on with my life and the offenders lack of repentance is on them. I am trying not to give them any power. I hope this helps a little. You can only change you, not anyone else as hard as it is to accept at times. Peace and blessings for your 2018
Thank you ladies, it’s a comfort to hear kind words. Lin, I hope your family problems get resolved this year.
And you’re both right. Im listening. This isn’t like me to stew and pine over something lost. I feel silly.
I’m going to (wo)man up, dangit. And if I ever find myself in Calgary, I’m going to steal Marie’s dog! She’s such a precious beauty.
Hugs all around, ladies ❤️ And you can definitely borrow Lottie—I’m fairly attached but you can have her for a week or two lol!
It’s so true about the sunscreens,!!! I’m allergic to some chemical filters and have spent hundreds this year trying different brands. My favourite for face is Korean – Goodal Mild Protect Natural Filter Sun Cream SPF50+ PA+++, and for body I like (Australian) sunsense sensitive invisible. Which ones are your HG?
They are AMAZING! I’ve updated the post to include my faves—sadly yours isn’t on Canadian Amazon 🙁 In general I’ve found Aussie and NZ sunscreens to be WAY better than Canadian ones—not surprisingly, considering the strength of the sun down there! I was really diligent about applying and re-applying the SPF 50+ I bought in NZ when I was down there and I didn’t get a tan at all, which just doesn’t happen in Canada with Canadian sunscreen. Our sun is weaker, but so is our sunscreen!
What a great and inspiring post <3
I can relate to a lot of your lessons.
And I have to tell you Marie that you and your website and your GREAT BOOK are one of the highlights of my 2017.
I stumbled on your website when I began to explore the beauty DIY world and never looked back.
I've been following you for about 6 months now and so far I make my own skin care and I just made myself a brand new and complete makeup ensemble yesterday 🙂
I'm amazed at the state of my skin and I feel SO SO proud to be able to make myself some top quality beauty products!
Thanks so much for sharing your whisdom and knowledge <3
Have a great 2018 xox
PS: don't let the trolls slow your progression; you are doing GREAT xox
Thanks so much, Julie! Hearing I’ve been able to help you get into this super fun hobby and help you create things you’re proud of gives me such a thrill and makes me so happy 😀 Thank you so much for sharing your success and for DIYing with me! May your 2018 be filled with many wonderful new creations 🙂
Beautiful photography! Why was I surprised? You are so talented. Keep learning and letting us know what you learn! Love your blog!
Thank you so much, Amy! 🙂
I agree Amy! She did a amazing job on taking the pictures! My favorite type of pictures! Mother Nature at it’s finest.
So well said, Marie, all of it. I feel much like I must be an older, similar version of you. I’ve had a rough year of most of my family moving far away or ruining the relationship. I’ve found solace and liberation in the act of decluttering as you have, feel more inclined to shut the rude, noisy world out even though I am outgoing. I’ve weaned myself off anti anxiety meds years ago, it is hard and no one should judge if they haven’t been in your shoes. Most importantly, please take good care of that wonderful person that is YOU and I feel so privileged that you share your life and DIY recipes with all of us bees. You are an inspiration to me and a joy in my life, thank you
Thank you so much, Lin 🙂 I’m sorry to hear you’ve had a tough year. I find I learn the most those years, though I can’t say I particularly enjoy the experience at the time. Thank you so much for taking the time to read, comment, share, and make with me this year—I really appreciate your support! 🙂
What an interesting group of amazing ladies you all are! This is a long story but I promise there is a point to it!
Since January 2015 I have been on a huge rollercoaster ride! Jan 2015 my dog died suddenly during surgery.
Feb 2015 my husband took a new job in another state. We thought we would try the long distance thing as all our family and my friends were where I lived. I am not sure what I was smoking when we decided that!.
June 2015 my dear friend committed suicide. I had NO clue that she was in trouble emotionally.
That same month my best friend of 50 years told me her breast cancer had returned. November 25 2015 she died. We spent many hours at chemo together that summer that I wouldn’t trade for anything.
A week later my other dog died after spending $2000 at the vet to have them tell me nothing was wrong with her.
I am going through all this without my husband…my son got a divorce and my four grandbabies were devastated so I stepped in to help him with the transition.
Man do I love this little guys!
During all this I am also the caretaker for my eldery mom who, to be kind, is VERY grumpy and unhappy that she needs my help.
I was really looking forward to 2016!!! And then it arrived….
I got a respiratory flu that was brutal in January 2015 and I STILL had it a year later!!!
I packed up my mom and moved her from Oregon to Nevada where my husband was living. I sold her house and then packed mine up and sold it too. Great side note….a person I knew came to my house to buy some deodorant and they ended up buying my house! That is the most expensive deodorant they will ever buy!
July 1 2016 I left everyone I knew and loved and moved to Nevada to be with my husband.
We bought a house next to a crazy lady who called the cops, the Epa, the county, the city and the HOA on my soap business. I was all legal and such but the harrassment was more than I could stand.
Jan 2017!!! Yay!! New Year! It has to get better right? The crazy lady is making my life hell. I STILL have the respiratory flu with a relentless cough. $1000’s in out-of-pocket medical co-pays without any help. The nurse practitioner wouldn’t refill my rx for cough meds as she said I had drug seeking behavior. This would have been my first refill. I forgot what a potty mouth I could have. I chalk it up to not having been able to lie down to sleep in over a year. ☺️
My mom gets ill suddenly in March and passes away four days later. Although the ten years I cared for her was a very rough time I am still devastated by her death.
I finally give up on my house and move to another city because I just love packing up my business and moving again. Not.
A month after mom died the the last of my sweet Jack Russells died. He was my baby and he was 17. Just about killed me.
After dealing with mom’s estate and her taxes and my brothers and her memorial and cleaning out her assisted living apartment I am pretty well empty emotionally.
BUT what I have learned is that life is going to try to run you over…. on a regular basis apparently. But in all of this there is such goodness and so many lessons.
1. No matter how bad things appear they can actually get worse! Haha
2. Having a creative outlet like my soap business is so good for my soul.
3. My grandbabies facetime me several times a week just to chat. They are 11,10, 7, 4, 3. I have such a sweet relationship with them that they really appreciate our time together.
4. My husband drives with me 6 hrs one way every 4 weeks so that I can be with my family and friends. (We live in the Reno area and I have noticed now that I don’t have children making friends is much more difficult.)
5. That crazy ladies can lead you to good places. We bought a house in an amazing area that without my inheritance from mom would have been out of our reach. The neighbors are amazing and my final dog, a 90# labradoodle now has a yard to play in without getting in trouble.
6. Keeping friendships has to be intentional. The friendships worth keeping will work out and those that aren’t will fall by the wayside.
7. Moving to a new place after living in the same place for 60 years can breathe new life into you. To say I love the weather here is an understatement! I love the cold, crisp, clear days in the winter. I love the wind that sweeps down off the Sierra Nevadas and keeps everything fresh. It makes me feel alive.
8. What looks like death might just be a pruning that brings new life. My business has gone crazy both here in Nevada and back in Oregon.
9. I have never cried so much in my whole life. But tears are cleansing to the soul and they unlock places in my heart I have long buried.
10. My kids think I am pretty amazing and adventurous now. Appreciation for me and all that I have done for them in their lives has grown.
As I read you year-end story I could only think that you are doing a great job! That you are clear about who you are and what is important to you. Good for you for standing up for yourself. Never be afraid to leave that which is bad (not uncomfortable, but bad). It is tough but worth it. Joy comes in the the morning.
You are talented and gifted and you have a special place in this world that only you hold. Your ability to think outside the box, to be brave, to dare to be different will take you on a joirney akin to Mr Toad’s Wild Ride at Disneyland! But it will be amazing. Laughter and tears, joy and sadness are all part of the journey. When you come out of the black tunnel thenlight looks especially inviting. The sky seems unimaginably blue. The air is extra clear and refreshing.
Enjoy your journey. Do what you love. Never doubt yourself. Take it from this 62 year old, your gut is your best friend. Trust it like it is your compass to true north.
And with that I am done! Finally! Ha! I look forward to supporting you on your journey to greatness
Go get ‘em Marie!
Wow, Jan—thank you so much for taking the time to share all of this. I feel truly honoured. I love all of your lessons, but I think #6 and #8 are my favourites. I think one of my biggest over-arching lessons of the last year has been realizing the importance of contrast—how it really does make the sky seem unimaginably blue. I’ll also work on the gut thing; it doesn’t speak up often, but perhaps it would if I listened more 🙂 Thank you again! 😀