It's the end of 2011. That's weird to think about, but not because 2011 was a significant year for any particular reason. It's just another year that's over, but at the same time, it's another year that's over. Perhaps that last sentence would be more clear if you could hear the intonation I'm adding to it in my head. Alas, onward and upward.
I always make sure I spend some time seeing if I can learn some things from the past year as it draws to a close. It's a practice I started after looking back one year and realizing I hadn't looked back at all that year.
Too self-referential? Still, we press on.
That last bit brings me to one thing I've learned about myself, and I think this one's only been in the last few months – my humor is not everyone's humor. I laugh at things other people wouldn't ever think is funny (my own jokes, for example).
I also learned that this is okay. My friends and I don't have to share the same tastes. I don't know about you, but when I'm alone and about to watch a movie, I spend more time picking it out than I would if I were with someone. I want to save the movies other people would watch with me to watch with them.
Which leads me to my next point - I learned that I need people (and their approval) a whole lot more than I thought I did. It was probably obvious to anyone that I needed it – everyone does – but it was never obvious to me. If they didn't like me, I didn't like them. That was okay.
Well, no it wasn't. It was a defense mechanism. I want to be loved and needed and appreciated for the things I do and those sorts of things are hard to experience when you're too busy trying to remember to keep up my guard.
Thankfully, all of this leads from point to point. Then I learned that quantity is not quality. This one happened in a few different ways. First, it was through my job. Apparently I want to please people more than I thought I did. What a drag.
The thing is, even when you're making hundreds of people a day happy, that's all fleeting. You may never see those people again. Maybe making one person a day happy is a lot better. Do your job, but don't live or die by it.
It also came from writing every day. I managed to write every day in one form another, but I didn't get twelve pages every day. I needed this year to discover how the writer I am can work. I still don't quite have a grasp on it, but I'm closer than I was 365 days ago. It's enough to know that I need breaks just as much as I need discipline.
This next year, I'm going to write better, need the right people, and learn to be myself as much as I can.
What about you?