Stepping back: lessons of 2014

In 2014, an astonishing number of people continued to google “Lisa Jakub feet” – and I still aim to please.

As I said last year, I’m not really a fan of New Year’s resolutions. They tend to be vague proclamations, glorifying some unrealistic ideal, and often resulting in a deep feeling of inadequacy and another lapsed gym membership.

I prefer to look back at what I learned over the past year. Once again, 2014 was a year of throwing myself into a free-fall of new and slightly terrifying situations. Some I managed okay, many I could have done better. But I can say this with total certainty: I showed up for my life.

Sometimes you need to believe in yourself even when some other people don’t

I heard “no” a lot this year. I received a stack of rejections for my book. Each one made me want to hide in shame. But there was a tiny part of me that clung to a fundamental truth — I came into this world to be a writer. That voice was almost drowned out by the much louder voice that said I should just quit this whole writing thing and take up cake decorating. But persistence tends to pay off. I could not be more proud that I found a supportive and enthusiastic publisher this year, and that my book will be published in June.

Sometimes people are more wonderful than you could have imagined

I remain in humbled awe of how kind you all are to me. You send me emails and tweets and Facebook messages and funny memes of dogs. You tell me about your families and your jobs and your dreams. You tell me how we are alike and how you feel connected. There are more of you now, and I can’t always respond to everyone. But please know that I read every message and each one is more meaningful than I could ever express. You are why I show up at this keyboard every day.

Sometimes you need to do things that you swore you’d never do

I have continued to do talks at conferences and colleges. Two years ago, I would have said this was as likely as me becoming the heavy-weight champion of the northeast. The biggest shocker of all is that I actually enjoy it. This completely introverted girl with social anxiety and a general loathing for anything that requires more than sweatpants, actually has a good time talking in front of people. Go figure.

Sometimes the world fucking sucks

Robin Williams died. And it still breaks my heart.

And sometimes there is poignant beauty that comes from the world and its fucking suckiness

As a country, and as a little community here on this site, we started talking about depression, anxiety and loneliness. We connected and comforted each other and we told the people we love that we love them. We said the most important thing, over and over again.
You are not alone.
And you all inspired me to start working on my next book, which will be grounded in this topic. It will be honest and it will offer hope and it will be funny – because we have to be able to laugh.

Find a place inside where there’s joy, and the joy will burn out the pain.
~Joseph Campbell

I wish all of you joy and peace in 2015.



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39 Replies to “Stepping back: lessons of 2014”

  1. Lisa,

    Your posts are so great! I hope you come to Dayton OH and I can see you speak or whatever. Please let me know if this area is included in your plans.


  2. Dear Lisa,

    I’m a better person for reading you. I look forward to many more years to come.

    ‘Here’s to the new year. May she be a damn sight better than the old one.’


  3. I agree with looking back over the year and learning. Laughter is the best remedy, and Robin gave us a lifetime of laughter. Thank you for the toes photo, they are very pretty. Best of luck for 15

  4. Inspiring. I’m gonna be running the gauntlet myself in 2015: this’ll be the first time since 2011 that I’ll be submitting a book to agents and publishers instead of chickening out and self-publishing.

    Not that I think little of self-publishing: just that I concede it’s an easy way out of rejection.

    Thanks for staring down the white page. Keep it up, and good luck.

  5. I feel like I’m starting to make it a point to look back and find the good in the year to help promote positivity in my life. I wrote a blog about it last year, and did another one this year. Neither was planned, but now it might need to become a thing. The world is so negative, and in my journey to become a positive person, I have to look for the good.
    Robin Williams’ death absolutely sucked. But you got to know him as a friend, and the world got to see the extraordinary talent that he was. He’ll always be missed and remembered fondly.

  6. Ditto, Lisa! You inspire all that have found this blog and absorb your words. Happy New Year! Angela Muller

  7. Happy New Year to you, Lisa!

    I feel so lucky to have stumbled across your blog earlier this year! I just wanted to thank you for such wonderfully thought provoking, honest and entertaining pieces of writing that I feel I completely relate to. Without sounding odd, you feel like you get to know someone when reading their blog over a period of time. With each of your posts, it’s like catching up and hearing the latest off a friend! I love the range of topics you write about, from the nostalgic and reminiscent, to the present and thoughts for the future.

    Having worked in publishing for nearly 8 years now (children’s magazines, so slightly different), I know what a tough old slog it is to get on that first step, but I’m so glad it’s happened for you! Truly can’t wait to read your book and hope you have others in the pipeline.

    Here’s to 2015! May you have a very happy next trip around the sun 🙂

    Louise xx

    1. I’m so glad you found me! I’m totally honored that you can relate and connect with the things I write about. Happy new year to you!

  8. Now comes the hard part…toenail polish!

    Kidding. (I think…the whole Google/feet thing is…go figure…) No, I’m guessing that the hard part is going to be following up your amazing 2014. Y’done good work this year which, in my experience, means that you get the “reward” for doing good work; more work. A second book. More people looking for more from you. Finding new words, and new ways, to say what you want to say that others want to read…without finding that you’re saying what you think they want to hear…

    Still. For someone whose “career ended” at 22 you’ve had a pretty impressive retirement so far. Wishing you all the best and happiest in 2015.

    1. Yeah, I think “retirement” suits me. 🙂 Thanks so much for the support and encouragement. But the nail polish…. I donno…..

      1. It’s a brand new year! Go wild with the polish and wow the gang at the yoga studio; I’m talkin’ serious nail-art here – alternating black-and-white chiclet-toes with a taijitu on each big toenail…

        if nothing else the documenting snapshot will set some sort of Internet record for webseach results…

  9. So, you’ve resolved not to make New Year’s resolutions. I like that.
    Here’s one you might consider; reject rejections. 🙂
    Your blogs are terrific and I’m looking forward to your book.
    Happy new year to you and yours.


  10. I love reading your blogs. Beautifully written and so inspiring. I’m looking forward to your book. Happy New Year x

  11. It’s such a pleasure and very uplifting to read your writing, Lisa. I think I have a similar attitude toward life and the world as you. I relate to your writing very easily. I can’t wait for your book to come out. I look forward to reading it. Thanks for your uplifting works. Happy New Year to you.


  12. I love how real your perspective has been in 2014!!! No fluff but still beautiful. Just like LIVING life.

  13. Hey Lisa,
    I have sort of grown out of the whole make a list of resolutions for the new year thing. I tend to be left disappointed too. I have 4 resolutions this year (contradiction? shh) 1. Try and be more positive in all areas of my life 2. Keep up my wellbeing 3. Take care of myself 4. Involves my guy. 2014 was good for me when I put it into prospective.

    I hope you have a beautiful 2015, too. Your next book sounds like something I will be very keen to read. By the way, I am sorry for your loss.

  14. I am so mad I just discovered your blog! I’ve been reading many of your posts, you are really inspiring. I really like how you send out the message of not letting our past define us but our actions.
    Thank you!
    Live Love Laugh and Let it go ❤

    1. That’s so nice of you – thanks so much! I’m thrilled that you are enjoying it. And don’t worry – you can get caught up. 🙂

  15. Happy New Year lovely lady.
    I wrote a long reply to you, but have deleted it. I was rambling and not saying much at all.
    Thanks for your toes though, although why people would google them – I don’t know!
    m x

  16. Just stumbled on your blog surfing mindlessly and am enjoying it very much. I had not heard the story of the Robin letter but was very moved by what he did and your take on it. We come from very different worlds (we are about the same age and I’m an engineer in FREEZING South Dakota) but it’s neat we can connect. Keep up the blog and your writing, I’m sure we will continue reading. 🙂

  17. I was watching something on TV recently and the character said “Sorry guys”…reminded me of Robin saying “I’m here guys” in Mrs Doubtfire as you and your two “siblings” went up the stairs to “fill your craniums” by doing your schoolwork. 🙂 Mrs Doubtfire was a spitting image of my grandmother. TRULY Those blue eyes and the Parkinsons and the fact my Great Grandmothers’ last name was Williams. I always felt a loving connection to him. Yes, there were life lessons through Robins’ work which will always touch my life in some way because the precious part of Robin showed through, his gentleness, caring and humor will always be the best. I loved it when you said your lines so poignantly and his response was one of understanding. Yes, he was the teacher of The Dead Poets Society and I felt I got a “mini college education” through it. I may be old enough to be your Grandmother but what I learned through your work as a child will always be with me. Thank You Lisa. God Bless You in all of your endeavors. See you through your work on the library shelf. 🙂 RIP Robin, see you in the starry starry nights. Peace.

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