Saturday, December 31, 2016

Even More Lessons

I promised a very good friend I would continue my three-year-old tradition of posting about what I've learned at the turn of a year. In all honesty, this year was so packed with mind-boggling wonders, I've hardly had time to process. So this is more a post of what I've understood from 2016. It seems to be both a gift and curse that keeps on giving.

1. On resilience. This is the first year that I've truly felt strong. Like on a cell and bone and flesh level. Throughout the year I've had highs and lows -- some of them from watching people in my life struggle in a way I've never experienced myself. Some from starting and ending an incredible relationship. But I kept having this recurring thought: no matter what happens, I'll be fine. No matter what happens, I can find happiness again. It's a liberating feeling.

2. On listening. Whether it was Brexit or Trump or a difficult misunderstanding with a friend, I learned that listening closely and actively is the only thing that can lead to full acceptance and clarity. I don't think I've very good at this yet, except maybe when I've got a notebook in my hand and a story to write. But I am fully convinced that being a good listener is far more helpful than any advice, gift or word I could offer. And it would prevent lots of pain.

3. On work. I'm extremely lucky that what I love is also what I do for a living, but that thought has not always been comforting. I think society sometimes makes me feel guilty for finding fulfillment in my work -- like I'm some sort of slave to an illusion.  But I've had two jobs this year -- one that was not a good fit, and one that I look forward to each day, and I have now come to accept that my work will always be a large part of my happiness.

4. On New York. I didn't love New York before I moved there in January. Actually, I didn't love it until May, when the flowers came back out and my seasonal hangover had passed. But the combination of moving to this crazy city from an even crazier one (Bombay, I will always love you) made this city feel more like a playground and less like a menacing jungle. New York and I are still negotiating our terms, but I've got great respect and love for this city.

Happy New Year to you and yours.

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