Lessons Learned to 2014

Another year, and another reflection on the bits of wisdom hard-earned and learned.

Be your own personal Santa Claus

It was after reading the 'Hedonism Handbook' I started to realise I didn't expend much effort in keeping myself happy. I get by with fairly simple needs, all told, but I was making my life unnecessarily hard by making unrealistic demands of myself. Namely, the demands that I fit 27 hours into a 24 hour day, with no downtime to recuperate. Burnout is one of those things that you can be in denial of until you finally get the chance to relax and look back. While I learned to take a few minutes each day in 2013 to relax, I was walking along the lines of burnout for at least 6 months, absolutely oblivious until the end. Whether at an island resort or at home, you should take several-day blocks where you do nothing but lie on a couch and decompress. In the future, I'll take special care to ensure I get the downtime I need to keep up with my busy life.

Look for friends that reciprocate

My life got significantly better after I stopped allowing myself to get pulled into the matters of 'psychic vampires.' You probably know the type - the people who, every time you see them, you feel absolutely drained of excitement and energy. However, this year I've decided to expend less effort on relationships with folks who can't reciprocate on effort to meet. I'm slowly dropping contact with people who are consistently late, or worse, no-show. Real friends try to be punctual.

Don't give up on your bucket list

This year, I actually managed to squeak in the time and go on a ten-day meditation retreat, scratching off another item on my bucket list. It was an experience that was everything I hoped for, and while it has definitely removed my desire to become a Buddhist monk, I can't deny that the experience made me a better person, and was well worth the effort.

Make the time for reading

I only managed to read 65 books this year, which may sound like a lot, except I usually average about 100-150 a year (a habit fed largely by CBC book sales and the Calgary Public Library). I can pretty much directly attribute the major change in reading patterns to one thing - we subscribed to Netflix this year, and I've watched a crapload more television this year. While it has been nice to mainline a bunch of funny shows, TV doesn't do much for the mind in comparison to a good book. If I'm lucky and live a fairly long and healthy life, I can squeeze in another 5,000 books before I kick the bucket. Again, that may sound like a lot of books, but for a book-lover, doesn't seem like nearly enough time. I'm grateful for audiobooks, I can at least get in another 10-12 a year on my walk to work.

Bike more

Bikes are a cheap, fun way of getting around, even in the winter.

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