1. Every year goes quicker than the last
If I had a dollar for every time in the past few months that I have said ‘I can’t believe this year is almost over’, I would be a very rich girl (by rich, I mean I could afford a coffee and muffin every morning for a week without scrounging around the floor of my car)! 2011 has literally flown, courtesy of four trips overseas, work chaos, the continued disaster that is my love life and just life running at full speed. I started the year having an unexpectedly big night at a pub in Warrnambool, which seemed to set the pace for the year.
When discussing this with a friend recently, they said to me, ‘it’s not that this year has gone fast, it’s just that every single year goes quicker than the last’… I’m torn as to whether I agree with this statement and as a result, I intend to make 2012 go as slowly as possible… Yes, I may be in denial, but I WILL slow down time, damn it!
2. Take compliments graciously and without hesitation
Me and tact do not have a relationship… it’s just not a skill I ever learnt. As a result, I don’t dish out compliments unless I mean them and the people around me know this. Having said this, I still encounter people who I give a compliment to and they insist on rejecting it.
My lack of social prompts means I’m never sure if they’re fishing for me to elaborate, think I’m mocking them (not an unreasonable assumption) or if they honesty think their uber-expensive shoes are actually not pretty at all. Seriously people, I don’t go dishing them out, take the compliment or you won’t be getting another one.
I actually learnt this lesson several years ago, but it came up many times in 2011. Compliments are easy to take and the more graciously you take them, the more often they’ll come. Now let’s practice:
Me: ‘Oooo, I love your dress!’
You: ‘Oh, thanks!’
3. If you like someone, tell them
Although this primarily goes for matters of the heart, it’s become my approach to everyone in my life. I would consider myself a fairly up-front person, but this year I learnt the value in just putting yourself out there.
If you think someone is awesome, tell them! If someone is kinda cute, tell them! If someone makes you laugh, tell them! And if someone makes your heart jump like it’s trying to leap out of your chest, tell them… chances are they feel the same. If not, you’ve lost nothing, you’ve saved yourself potentially months of wondering if they like you and above all, you will have most likely brightened their day with the compliment!
4. Babies are awesome
Okay, so I did already know this before 2011, however having not been around a new one for years and years, I had been kind of convinced that babies were maybe a little bit boring. It wasn’t until a good friend of mine had her first baby in the second half of the year that I realised that I am OBSESSED!
Despite living in a completely separate State to aforementioned baby, I have managed to buy her more clothes than I have bought myself this year… okay, slight exaggeration there, but definitely more than I have bought myself in the second half of the year! And equally as exciting – next year I will be an aunty for the first time! Yay!
5. Weddings are a big deal to some people – do not judge them
I would like to start off here by saying I LOVE weddings. I especially love when people I care about get engaged, married or even just happy, it warms my heart! However, in recent months I have realised that there is a fine line between a bride who is ‘excited’ and one who is ‘obsessed’ and that I am not to judge when it is crossed. Doing so will only end in awkward conversations… Even more awkward than those which you will be having with them once their all-consuming wedding has wrapped up.
I have also learnt the following: Buying a charity goat for someone who has asked for gifts of cash is apparently socially unacceptable, having a gift registry for your kitchen tea is normal and asking your nearest and dearest to invest a month’s salary in honour of your celebration will not result in you losing friends.
So, in light of this new-found knowledge, when the time comes, I now plan to elope. Or at a maximum have 10 people on a beach with no shoes on, no presents and no stress. I hereby promise this to everyone in my life. Hold me to it.
6. Having good tone is not so vital in life
In addition to lacking any tact in my life, I also struggle with tone. I had never given it much thought until one of my staff got a look of complete fear in his face when I was complimenting him on his work. Apparently my facial expression, tone and words were all contradicting each other and as a result, instilling fear in the poor guy.
So I started asking the people close to me for their opinion on the issue and sure enough, my tone issues were widely acknowledged, unbeknownst to me. So I set out to correct it, emphasising various words and attempting to add an inflection to my sentences.
After several months of experimentation, I came to the conclusion that good tone is over-rated. Bad tone often results in hilarious miscommunication and is a great conversation starter. The simple solution is, if I’m conversing with someone and they start to look confused, I exclaim loudly ‘I have bad tone!’, everyone laughs and a friendship has begun!
7. The ability to be blunt is a virtue
My most recent realisation is that bluntness is not a bad trait, I even believe it to be a virtue. I have always thought that my tendency to cut straight to the point was something that had to be changed, and spent years chit-chatting and prancing around whatever topic needed to be discussed.
In my most recent employment, I speak to a wide range of people across numerous fields. In an industry where everyone is trying to win each other over and impress each other, I start to feel like I am suffocating in fake niceties. Earlier in the year, I accepted that this approach just wasn’t me, I’m blunt in my personal life and decided to try a similar approach in my professional life.
The result – if you’re up-front with people, they’ll be up-front with you, communication is open and issues are overcome. PLUS, once the topic is dealt with, there’s more time for getting to know the person you’re meeting and enjoying your time with them!
8. Never assume people care about the minute details of your private life, because most often, they don’t
Okay, so I know this one sounds a bit harsh, but it is an important lesson. We all spend so much time worrying about what other people think of us and missing out on opportunities for fear of being judged. I personally will go over a conversation a thousand times in my head if I think I have offended someone (unintentionally), or said something out of line or inappropriate (a common occurence).
But when I actually think about the people close to me and their behaviour, I realise it doesn’t matter what you do, as long as you’re fun and happy and are making the most of life. I can barely remember the conversation I’m currently having with someone, let alone one that took place a week ago.
Stop mulling things over! If you have an opinion, share it! If you like someone, go for it! Don’t assume that everyone is focusing all their attention on you, because you’ll miss out on the opportunities that are presenting themselves to you.
9. Getting stuck in a snow storm is not such a bad thing
I am 100% a summer person and I absolutely hate the cold. Despite this, two friends and I went to Queenstown this past winter for a week spent learning to snowboard. It was a very fun and crazy week and we headed to the airport with heavy hearts, all not wanting to head home. Apparently Q’Town also didn’t want us to leave and after an epic snowstorm and many failed attempts to get out, our 7 day trip turned into a 12 day adventure.
Despite cabin fever setting in on about day 8 and each of us consuming our body weight in alcohol, our time there became one of the most memorable periods of 2011. By the time we had accepted our fate and let ourselves just enjoy the extended break, we had been lucky enough to see a once in a lifetime snow storm, eaten awesome food, met some fantastic people and become even closer friends for it.
10. See the humour in every situation
Being able to see the humour in every situation makes life bearable. This year so far I have had a staff member question my morals on Facebook (and get abruptly asked to resign), been delayed on numerous flights, had an immeasurable number of IT issues, had the entire work database and network die, be threatened by angry customers and had the most disastrous dating experiences, including on one occasion when I actually thought I was going to get my kidneys stolen…
At the time, what can you do? You can laugh about it, and remember the finer details so you can recount the story with accuracy next time you’re out drinking with your friends.
11. I will never learn to high-five
Ever. So please stop trying.