Ten Things I Learned This Year

It’s the last day of the year, and a perfect time to look back and give the year a good review.  What happened?  Was it all bad?  All good?  How could it have gone better?  What can I learn from the mistakes I made this year?


David is wearing his new sweatshirt and jeans he got for Christmas.

Ugh.  Where to start?  How do I even categorize such a vast undertaking?

Well…there were a lot of highs and lows this year.  Especially lows.


  • I started my 2000 mile walk around Portland goal.
  • I walked 20.36 miles in one day back in August, the most I have walked.  Ever.
  • I walked 191.93 miles in one month, also in August.  That averages over 6.19 miles per day of walking.
  • I’ve lost 60-ish pounds.  I say -ish, because I keep fluctuated up and down by about 5 lbs for the last few months.  Dang holidays.
  • I’ve worked hard to build my blog and write regularly, and have for the most part done so, with a blip for technological complications toward the end of the year.
  • I photographed much of my progress this year, and have enjoyed learning more about photography and sharing what I see.
  • I participated in a real, live actual half-marathon event, the Forest Park Half Marathon.  I finished in the time allotted.
  • I’ve walked almost 1100 miles this year, since I started keeping a log in May.  That averages out to about 4.5 miles a day.
  • We got Willow enrolled in a school that she really, really likes and that she seems to be thriving in.
  • Willow and I seem to be getting closer than ever.
  • Willow taught me some crochet stitches.
  • David joined Job Corps in February and has been learning a lot about what it means to be an adult.  My little boy is turning into a fine young man.
  • Micah and I managed to work through some major problems in our marriage that were related in part to his health problems.  See the post Confessions of a Lousy Wife here.
  • Micah survived potentially life-threatening open heart surgery.
  • I’ve made a new friend, one who I am very grateful to for helping me during a tough time.
  • Another friend helped me with my computer technological problems.
  • Christmas was spectacular this year, despite our cramped quarters.  The kids were happy.
  • My birthday was the best I’ve had in a long time.
  • I’ve mostly weaned myself from the time suck known as facebook.
  • I started a number of Thirty Day Challenges and had fun with them.


  • I never got to Walk Across America.
  • I didn’t complete my 2000 mile goal.
  • I had major technological problems which prevented me from posting regularly for two or three months!  In addition those techno problems extended to my cameras.  My cameras broke or went wonky, preventing me from taking photos like I wanted.
  • Micah and I didn’t get to work on or complete our documentary due to same technological problems.
  • Micah had a double bypass and is still recovering from that surgery.
  • We moved in with my dad, and it isn’t always easy because of the space issues and the other usual types of issues you have with roomies.
  • Micah and I have had a really hard time in our relationship.  Our marriage was really close to ending, if it weren’t for an epiphany I had (see the Confessions post I linked above).
  • We have been really, really broke and it’s been tough.
  • I haven’t finished the card and board games that I wanted to finish.
  • I haven’t started any kind of micro-business, like I was hoping to.
  • We had to kick the kitties out of our room for two months because we were worried about infection during Micah’s recovery.  I love having the kitties around.  They are wonderful little purring balls of fur stress relievers.  It was awful to have to kick them out.  They were just as traumatized, yowling about not getting to sleep with us.  Poor things.
  • An existential type crisis in December.

Hm.  It seems there was a lot more good than I thought.  Either that, or I’m very good at taking bad stuff and putting positive spins on it.  Like the high I have listed, “Micah survived potentially life-threatening open heart surgery.”  That is a major bad thing that he had to go through, but he survived, and as a result he should (hopefully) be stronger once he recovers fully.

A lot of my bad and good are revolving around my walking.  Well, I did start this blog because of my walking goals, after all.  It makes sense that they have a place of prominence in my lists.  No, I did not complete either one of my giant walking goals this year.  And that is depressing.  It’s partly why I’ve been in a funk this month.  It’s not the only reason, of course; I’ve got a whole host of reasons for that, and I’ve talked about that in one of my previous posts this month.

But, looking back on this year, I’m actually pretty impressed that I’ve managed to do as much as I’ve done.  I mean, who walks close to 1100 miles in less than 8 months?  Who walks approximately 4.5 miles every day, day in and day out?  Well, I didn’t do that either, but that’s what it averages out to.  So…yeah.  I’m pretty happy with that.

I have a lot of highs on my list.  Almost double the number of lows that I wrote.  But those lows feels like waaaaay more, because those lows are really dang low.  Relationship problems, health problems, poverty problems, space problems, not completing any of my goals for 2012–well, it just feels awful.  That awful feeling tends to blanket all the good stuff with a bad taste.  It’s like eating in a fine dining establishment–someplace you are really happy to be–only to have someone pass really nasty gas right next to you.  It takes the enjoyment right out of it.

There is a lot that can be said about this year and things that I can learn from it.

Lesson #1 I have to forgive myself for being human and not being able to complete the things I wanted to do.

Lesson #2  Lofty goals are good.  They give me hope.

Lesson #3  Lofty goals are very difficult to stick to when Bad Shit Happens (hereafter referred to as BSH).  Open heart surgery counts as bad shit.  So does an existential crisis (the existence of which is can probably be expected after a surgery like that, lol).

Lesson #4  When BSH, seek help.  My friends really came through for me.  They helped me with my technological computer problems, they helped me with my camera problems, they helped me at the hospital and sat with me, they counseled me and played secret Santa for the kiddos.  Sometimes friends will reach out and offer to help, as was the case for me a few times, but sometimes I need to reach out, or else how will they know I need help?

Lesson #5  There is no shame in asking for help.  (However, if I find that asking for helpbecomes a habit, I may have become a mooch.  I need to be aware and try not to take advantage.)

Lesson #6  There is always room for learning and self-improvement.

Lesson #7  Money is important for stability and the future.  It is becoming more and more important for us to figure out how to make some and get some stability in our lives.  Money is also nothing  if I don’t have good friends and family.

Lesson #8  It is important to be flexible in order to roll with the punches.

Lesson #9  When kids see you are actively trying to pursue goals, they learn passion and dreams are okay.  In addition, not only do they learn from whether you accomplish them or not, but they learn from how you respond to that failure or success.

Lesson #10  Forgiveness is key to a happy, anger-free life.

Wow.  I may have not succeeded at what I wanted to do this year, for the most part, but I learned a lot.  I can use these experiences to help me be better equipped to handle next year.  And I’ve got a LOT planned for next year.  But I’ll write about that tomorrow and share with you next year’s goals on New Year’s Day.


4 thoughts on “Ten Things I Learned This Year

  1. Love this post, Holly, it says a lot about you as a person. It’s interesting seeing the things you went through over the year, all collected into one post, and turned into lessons. We go through a lot each year, don’t we? I think I might be borrowing BSH for my own daily use. Love it!

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