5 Things I Learned This Year
...and lots I'm still working on
The other day I truly couldn’t remember how old I was. Where had the time gone? And how much had passed? I eventually resorted to math.
Time is weird. No matter how we try to measure it, condense it, schedule the living daylights out of it, it never fully makes sense. Try as I might to grasp it, the closest I come is a jumble of faces, stories, and memories, many of which feel like they could have happened yesterday.
My robots tell me that it is December and that 2023 is just around the corner, which seems as good a time as any to reflect. To that end, here are five things I learned this year, recorded in the hope that I may remember them in the days to come.
1. Everything has a season.
Some moments — particularly the really good ones — have the tendency to fly by, while others feel as though they may last forever. They won’t, of course. Nothing will. Whether it’s joy or pain or a politician’s years in office, all things eventually make way for something new.
When I was younger, I sometimes found myself feeling envious of someone’s relationship (that has since ended) or company (that has since shuttered) or some other circumstance that is no more. I’ve also watched as friends who were down on their luck came into wonderful new opportunities.
The longer I live, the more I understand that nothing is fixed. We know this, in theory, but in practice it can be easy to forget. Especially when you’re admiring someone else’s summer while entrenched in what feels like perpetual winter. But the world is turning, even as we come to the end of this sentence.
And while we’re on the topic of seasons…
2. Embrace the off-season.
Athletes are familiar with the concept of an off-season, that time between events when one is neither training nor competing. From one angle, an off-season can be a wonderful thing. Time off. Time to rest, regroup, recuperate.
But in life, there will sometimes be wildly off off-seasons. Dry spells. Burnout. Lulls. Overwhelm. That’s to be expected. Moreover, it’s okay. After all, one cannot operate at peak performance all the time. A peak, by definition, is higher than what comes before and after it. If you were peaking all the time… it’d be a plateau.