5 Lessons I Learned from 2016

So, 2016 was… hard. Really hard. For A LOT of people.

Some people had great years. That’s awesome!

Many, many, many people did not have great years. They had awful years. Some had the worst year of their lives so far.

But, as many of you know, tragedy and struggles are often the best teachers. That sounds so trite I know, especially for those still trying to survive the aftermath of certain events that took place in 2016.

Seeing lessons is often the only way I have of getting through bad times. If something, ANYTHING, good can be gleaned from an horrid event or time period it makes a it bit easier to bear.

Plus, have I mentioned that I love to make lists? It is so oddly soothing.

Anyway, here is my list of lessons learned on the other side of 2016. I could list many more than 5, but “ain’t nobody got time for that!”

  1. We as a country are not as evolved as we like to think we are. This is not a very cheery lesson, I know. But I think it needs to be said that, though we wear the trappings of modern civilization, a large swathe of our population lives somewhere in the 1930s. And not even the enlightened 1930s Another large swathe of the population is so ensnared by apathy that I’m surprised they care enough to keep breathing! Thus the pickle our country is now in.
  2. When you least expect it, wonderful things come into your life. Our family moved to Oklahoma in the spring of 2013. I left behind my job, friends, and family not to mention my house. Up until this last summer, I’ve lived in a pretty deep state of isolation since I haven’t been able to find a job, make lasting friendships, or attach to anything that would ground me. Then, I met the most remarkable group of people and started to make real friends and connections in the community. So, even though I still don’t have a job, I feel more connected to what’s around me. And I wasn’t really LOOKING for it. I just followed a curious impulse and so many wonderful things and people have come into my life as a result.
  3. Nothing is permanent. We like to say this all the time as a cliched way of comforting someone or urging them to value what is in their life. But, nothing brings that old and well-worn truth screaming to life than when you lose someone important to you. this can be through death, abandonment, mere drifting apart, whatever. The fact remains, that very few people in our lives are here on a long-term basis. And even the ones who are, are not here permanently. Reminds me of that Flaming Lips song.
  4. It’s never too late to open your eyes. This will be a bit cryptic as I don’t wish to hurt anyone with what I REALLY want to express on this topic. Let me only say this: Never stop questioning. Never stop reading and digesting information from a huge variety of sources. Just because you’ve believed something all your life does not make it true or right. And it’s never too late to discover other truths, other paths.
  5. This world is so very beautiful. I’ll be the first to admit it: this lesson is very hard to swallow sometimes. But that does not make it any less true. And I’m not necessarily talking about human nature (though, I’m not necessarily NOT talking about human nature) but about how varied and vast is this world that surrounds us. Every time I go out my back door and look at even my small patch of Earth I’ve been given to steward, I’m moved to tears by how lovely it all is. I hope someday, before it’s too late, we all come to appreciate how loved we are to have been set down in this gorgeous, ferocious, awe-inspiring place.

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