To say it’s been a long, difficult year is the understatement of the year. Few have been spared from the thrashing waves of change and misfortune that coursed through this year, whether it’s continued joblessness, lack of health insurance to cover necessary medical treatment, or the shock of sudden natural disasters. In my own life, I’ve been dealt a number of blows in fairly rapid succession. Since I’m not one to divulge every detail of my life to the world, I will only say that no other year has been as mentally draining or as psychologically challenging as 2010. I am grateful to have made it this far without resorting to substance abuse or public fits of berserk rage (it always helps to vent to someone who’s willing to listen).
What I will carry forward with me in 2011 is what I want to focus on in this last post of 2010. Every challenge has yielded some truth about human nature, the world, and the complex machinery of life. Some lessons hit me over the head, while others sunk in gradually as I made sense of a situation. I’m not done fully processing all that has happened this year, nor do I expect to glean all the answers anytime soon.
For now, here are the headlines for my twenty takeaways of 2010:
- See the world as it sees itself
- Get over yourself (practice humility)
- Live a principled life
- Remember what’s important, and make time for it
- Take responsibility, whether it’s chosen or not
- Accept a little imperfection
- Know the limits of reason
- Appreciate the role of faith (acknowledge the 1% you can’t explain)
- Be patient when the speed of life doesn’t match the gear you’re in
- Leave room for the unexpected
- Look up at the stars sometimes, for perspective
- Encourage humanity in the face of incivility
- Abolish self-doubt and thoughts of defeat
- Always seek answers and solutions (don’t dwell on problems)
- Embrace those closest to you
- Never be satisfied
- Strive for excellence
- Seek truth and avoid cheap substitutes
- Listen carefully
- Don’t be so hard on yourself — enjoy life once in a while
I could elaborate on every one of these points, but I think the message is pretty clear. Looking forward to better things in 2011!