12 Things I Learned (Re-Learned) in 2012

As we live, we learn…and sometimes RE-learn things.  Here are my 2012 highlights….in the order I thought of them:

1. Family first – At my Dad’s suggestion, we instituted what is now called Family Fun Day, or FFD, in 2012.  It is a monthly meet up of our family (and friends) that rotates households each month so that everyone gets a chance to host.  It is now a fantastic family tradition that ensures that we MAKE time in this busy life we all have to connect with those closest to you, enjoy each other’s company, make sure that everyone is ok and make memories that will last a lifetime!  We had pool days, beach days, jazz festivals, game nights, and more!  I am looking forward to our 2013 FFD’s…with a more healthy spin!  …because I want to enjoy them all for as long as I possibly can!  I challenge you to put family first in 2013!

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The Fam after a Beach Day 2012

2. Write it down! Would you believe that everything that I wrote down this year I have done or have at least begun?!  Including this here blog?  Yes, we hear it all the time – if you write down your goals, they are more likely to come true.  But have you ever really taken the time to do it?  I did!  I wrote down 5 simple things I wanted to focus on in 2012 and bygolly, they jumped off of that paper and made themselves real!  You bet this will be repeated for 2013!  Do it with me.

3. Smiling is a universal language – I had the awesome opportunity to travel to a few countries in Asia this year and did not need to learn any Mandarin or Thai in order to enjoy my adventure.  I found that a smile was understood and communicated back to me no matter where I went!  Imagine that… miles and cultures apart, but flash those pearly whites and everyone understands each other.  It also feels good.  Try to do more wherever you go next year – watch what happens!

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Smiling in Thai!

4.  Hoodies aren’t necessarily ‘hood  – 2012 began with the  unfortunate and unnecessary shooting of Trayvon Martin as he walked to his father’s home not far from where I grew up.  He was wearing a hoodie – because it was cold.  And carrying Skittles and ice tea – because he was a kid.  It’s a shame how alive racism still is.  In 2012.  We have come so far, yet we haven’t really.  When will we no longer have to re-learn this?  I hope before he turns Trayvon’s age…

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5. Tomorrow is not promised – So cliché, yet so true.  There were so many unfortunate tragedies that happened in 2012.  From the most recent horrific school shooting in Newtown, Connecticut, to the random and senseless movie theater shooting in Aurora, Colorado, there has been way too many random acts of violence that would make you fear doing normal things.  I am not sure where this world is headed, but what I do know is that we cannot live in fear.  Live and enjoy your life freely and be thankful for the time we do get to share with those you love.  It may end before we feel it’s time.  But enjoy the moments nonetheless.

6. Expect the unexpected – As a native Floridian accustomed to hurricanes and tropical storms, I never would have thought a hurricane would ever affect the city that never sleeps!  Hurricane Sandy devastated one of my favorite cities and it just reminded me that the unexpected can and will occur.  You might not be prepared.  You might not know what to do.  You might be uncomfortable.  You might lose some things.  BUT…you will survive.

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7. What’s done in the dark will come to the light – This goes for both good (see #9 below) AND not so good things that you are doing! …but what usually makes for breaking news is the CIA director, David Patreaeus carrying on an affair.  Or Lance Armstrong really ain’t so strong – without drugs.  Perfection isn’t possible.  But when will folks learn that doing things on the up & up will save you shame and embarrassment?  No doubt we’ll find out who wasn’t paying attention in 2013!

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8. When it’s your time. It’s your time – and you have a major part to play in making that time happen – 4 years ago history was made when President Obama was elected.  He worked HARD to get to that spot and it was his time.  Many wanted his time to be up during this reelection year, but alas… it’s still his time and nothing was going to get in the way of that.  …and he’s still working hard.  The lesson in this:  (Mine) and your time is coming.  Keep working.

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9.  Focus, discipline & sacrifice – If I said the name Gabby Douglas on 1/1/2012, you’d be like “who”?!  And by the time the Summer Olympics rolled around, we were all Tweetin’ and Facebookin’ her name and her amazing pics.  In the years before we knew her, she was preparing and practicing for her moment…and what an amazing one it was!  Remember #7 above?  Even in obscurity, you’re being prepared for your moment.  Make sure it’s amazing!

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10.  Do what you love because eventually you die… it seems like a lot of the notable icons from my life’s scrapbook are left us in 2012:  Whitney Houston, Dick Clark, Donna Summer, Don Cornelius, Sherman Helmsley, Andy Griffith, Phyllis Diller, Etta James, Sally Ride, Neil Armstrong, Michael Clark Duncan to name a few.  I’m grateful that they lived and that we had the opportunity to enjoy their gifts.  They all inspire me to ensure that I share my gifts before my time is up.

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11.  Eliminate the unnecessary – We are all guilty of it.  Keeping things and even people around simply because they have always been there or we are used to them/it.  But dammit, it’s just clutter!  I learned the peace that comes with eliminating the junk (people included) that sits around taking up space.  I now feel that I have made room to receive more meaningful things/people in their place!  Feels good.

12.  Take it one day at a time. Another cliché, but a great reminder.  Take each day as 24 hour bite sized pieces of time and seize all you are able to in that time.  Don’t worry about what tomorrow’s bite sized piece holds – it hasn’t hit your plate yet!  Enjoy what’s been put in front of you.  Take your time to digest it and let it nourish you.  You’ll need the strength today gives you to endure the bite sized piece that will be put in front of you next!

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Here’s to all the amazing that 2013 has in store!!  …and the strength to endure the not-so-amazing as well!  Happy New Year!

What have you learned or re-learned this year?

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