Stepping back: lessons of 2013

One thing I learned is that many people come here searching for photos of my feet. Here you go, weirdos.

I’m not a fan of new year’s resolutions. There are just so many ways to screw up my vague proclamation to “be healthier” or whatever. I’d just be setting myself up to spend the entire month of March wallowing in my abandoned resolutions and a pint of New York Super Fudge Chunk.

But I do love to step back and take time to reflect on life. This past year has been a significant one for me. I threw myself completely out of my comfort zone and learned a lot as I flailed around in free-fall. So, here are my favorite lessons of 2013.

People are cool

I was terrified of you all. I was terrified to put my writing out there and be more public. I was afraid to fail and look stupid. I had been so happy hiding out and only writing for myself, but I realized that I could be even happier being truthful about my life – my whole life – and connecting with people. And I found that you are lovely, funny, encouraging folks and I’m happy to know you. My writing means the world to me, so thank you very much for reading my stuff.

Anonymous commenters can be less cool

When I found out that the Huffington Post did an article without my knowledge (an article about me and this blog that stung with a little snark) their comment section was quite active. Some comments were fine. But others were decidedly haters. This was not constructive criticism, not thoughtful opinions that differed from mine, just general nastiness from behind the cowardly anonymity of a keyboard. My feelings were hurt and my thin skin ripped into tattered shreds. I almost called the whole writing thing quits, I wanted to just go back to my little cave and be forgotten. But what would that say about me as an artist if a little name-calling defeated me? So, I got really good at repeating this:

“I will not let anyone walk through my mind with their dirty feet” – Mahatma Gandhi.

I’m pretty sure that Gandhi would approve of my decision to no longer read HuffPo comments.

Teenagers are people and therefore cool

I had the opportunity to talk to high school students about authenticity. I loved it. They were awesome. They inspired me and made me feel welcome and not like an awkward lady who was old enough to be their mother. They asked great questions. They laughed at my jokes. And if they fell asleep at any point, they hid it beautifully.

Being brave is cool

I traveled to New York to attend a couple of writery events this year. I was horribly nervous, but they were rewarding beyond my wildest dreams. I signed with my literary agent at one conference, and met incredible people like Sharon Saltzberg and Elizabeth Gilbert at another. Oh, and I got a shit-ton of free books…and what is better than that? I think being brave should always be rewarded with a suitcase full of not-yet-released hardcovers, even if you have to haul them on and off a train by yourself.

Meditation continues to be cool 

While it’s great writing about almost being drowned by a manatee, why residuals are pitiful and the fun stuff I get to write for HelloGiggles, I really love delving into deeper things, too. I published an article about meditation, one of my favorite topics, in Elephant Journal this year. Meditation has without a doubt saved my life. I love being able to share that with others who might suffer from anxiety or panic attacks.

Words are really damn cool

I’m always so thrilled to get your emails and Facebook messages – even if it takes me forever to get back to you. I love hearing your stories and I’m in awe of the way that words connect us. I’m so grateful that we can realize that even when our circumstances look different, we all tend to ask the same questions. We wonder what contribution we want to make in life. We all worry that we are different and might be rejected, we all want to be seen, accepted and understood. And when we talk about those things, we are able to create that bond. Yay, words!

Everyone loves Grace

My little pup really is special and you all have proved it. Thanks for tolerating all the ramblings of a proud dog-mom. Our shelter dog reminds me on a daily basis that it’s never to late to reinvent yourself and embrace all the joy that is around us.

It’s been an incredible year for me, and I can’t wait to see what 2014 has in store for all of us. I wish you all the very best for a happy and healthy new year!

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