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15 Things I Learned In 2015

15 Things I Learned In 2015

It’s safe to say that 2015 was a tumultuous year. It was a global, political, social and, for many, personal whirligig. There was a lot of flux and fear. We traded Stephen Harper for Justin Trudeau. ISIS got gravely serious. We witnessed on e of the largest human migrations since World War II. Big stuff. There were also good times, great memories and wonderful people who helped make what could have been a rather lousy year bearable.

One thing that can be said for challenging times is that they can bring out the best in people—and the worst—in others and in ourselves. It’s through trying times you discover who your friends are, who your community is and how they can be a source of guidance and inspiration…or a good shoulder to cry on when needed.

Personally, I had a good year and a bad one; lots of fluxing going on. There was a lot of second-guessing and reassessing long-held beliefs and hopes. There were also a few serious face plants. As one gets older, it’s not a bad idea to continually reassess because, quite frankly, if you don’t pay attention, you can look up one day and notice someone has changed the game for you (see lesson #2), as that can help you avoid face plants or at least cushion the fall.

So, as I wave adieu (and a big, fat “kiss my ass!”) to 2015, it occurred to me that I got schooled…and that’s not a bad thing. Here is some of what I learned in 2015:

  1. The job you want is not necessarily the one you should have.
  1. Change happens whether you want it or are ready for it. Adapt! Adapt! Adapt!
  1. Embrace vulnerability. You have no choice. When you fall hard it’s dizzying and horrifying and can bring you to some of your worst, most painful moments.
  1. You are going to fall many times in life. It’s ok. When you fall, reach out for help and take the help that’s offered.
  1. You are stronger than you think…as you will discover after you’ve fallen.
  1. Nothing and no one is perfect—including yourself. Stop striving to be perfect, it’s like trying to nail a custard pie to a wall.
  1. Most people are full of shit and will say whatever they need to say to suit their agenda. Keep several grains of salt handy at all times for such occasions.
  1. Embrace those true, honest people who don’t always tell you what you want to hear, but what you need to hear, they’re the ones who truly care about you.
  1. No matter how old you are, never believe those voices in your head that tell you that you are inferior, less than, or unworthy. Someone else wrote that narrative. Rewrite it.
  1. You’ll discover untapped talents you never knew you had—even over the age of 50. As well, you may tap into those talents you always had—even over the age of 50.
  1. People who are handy with emotional bandages and useless platitudes are probably not the ones you should rely on. They are really protecting themselves from their own fears.
  1. You’ve learned a lot of skills in your years on this planet, dig through that tool kit, especially when you are down and feeling counted out.
  1. You do not have to speak for others. They have their own voice and their own truth. Don’t take up their oxygen or their opportunity to represent themselves. Your support is wonderful…your voice is not necessarily required.
  1. People who deign to speak for others are serving their own agenda.
  1. If someone will let you go down on them—but won’t let you kiss them—best to just zip up and leave.

I’m sure there were more, but I thought I’d narrow it down to the 15 biggies. Here’s to 2016.

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Andy2 copy 3Andrew Vails writing career began in Halifax when he was a child. In Grade 4, he wrote and produced his own series of comic books entitled “Freaky The Frog”, the on-going tale of a little misfit frog and his pals of the pond. Marvel Comics never came knocking but Andrew knew he loved to create and tell stories. Since then, Andrew has worked in advertising, PR and publicity; has interviewed politicians, rock stars and very interesting yet not-so-famous movers and shakers. He has published articles in a variety of local and national magazines and websites. Andrew is currently working on the project queer50.com.


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