Not Your Average Year-End List


I was certain I wanted different things in my life. I thought immediately a good place to start was trying to figure out what I wanted to do in a couple of years when these darling boys of mine were both in school full time. This was a little over a year ago. I for sure wanted to continue staying home with them and know I’m really bad at 9-5. I started patch-working together my favorite things to do and things at which I know I excel. I hosted a couple of art shows, started volunteering for orgs I admired, did a little values check, and when it was clear there was a market for what I was doing, and that I wanted this, I went for it. Little did I know that it would explode into something this big: a feature film, a column, lots of travel, national and international projects, hell—a paycheck.

Many say my business seems older than a year, something I undoubtedly love to hear. Essentially every part of my life has been overturned because of this major change and I was forced to adapt in an accelerated period of time. Instead of resist these changes, which would have been easier, I dove in head first to every opportunity I was handed; examined everything. In short order, I was able to see clearly through walls that were put up in front of me. Here’s some of what I learned in the process:

To tell the truth, and well. First to myself, and then to others. I just started telling the truth. And did so kindly. The people who should still be in my life, are.

To be happy while idle. Good god this took me a while. In Italian it is “dolce far niente” which translated is sweetness of nothing. Best ever.

How to say “No” or “I’ll get back to you” without an ounce of explanation. And that doing this causes a immediate respect that saying yes without hesitation does not.

That I live for the simplest of satisfactions. Please see: Amelie.

How to handle hard & rude questions with grace and class.

How to be truly vulernable. And that it’s the only way to love and be loved fully. My flaws are completely on display. Please see: telling the truth.

Not everyone likes me—and—how completely cool I am with that. Some people are meant for me and some are not. Cynics, specifically, have a very distinct disdain for me. But what DO they like? That stuff is theirs, not mine.

That I posses a freakish amount of influence, totally unbeknownst to me. (I’m not intending to toot my own horn here. I see my stats, read my comments, get all the emails, pitches, and requests.) Seriously didn’t have a clue. It startled me! Now that I am aware, I use my powers for good.

That, uncoincidentally, the happiest people I know are also the people I know to take the most risk. When I needed a boost, I modeled them. Didn’t feel as scary.

That procrastination and indecisiveness are, quite simply, fear. And although I am empathic, I have a low tolerance all three in other people. (Ouch. I know.)

Sleep. I need plenty of it. My brain is a sloth and my skin hurts without enough and that is simply not for me.

To pack (well) for a week-long trip in 20 minutes. I am a professional traveler and it rocks.

That I am a not an super extrovert like I’ve always believed, I’m more of a centrovert. I need downtime and I need to be alone. And that this misdirected self-definition explains A LOT of the unhappiness of my twenties.

And last but certainly not least:

That doing the right thing once isn’t amazing. But doing the right thing consistently over time adds up to something amazing: a good life.

Whew! That’s enough for today. Feel free to use all or part of my experience as you see fit to inspire the change you want in your life. Now, tell me what you learned this year.