What I Learned in 2011

Hourglass

I don’t bother making New Year’s resolutions anymore. What’s the sense of setting myself up for failure when January is but a few hours old? Guaranteed, two weeks into the new year I’ll feel like a loser. Instead I try to quiet my mind (a hard thing to do, what with all this ADD rattling around inside) and contemplate what I learned in the dearly departed year. From that furrowed-brow cogitation I cobble together a list of personal goals. Which, as I write this, probably sounds a lot like resolutions. But to me, resolutions feel rigid. Like my second-grade  teacher, Mrs. Firs, slapping her ruler–thwack, thwack, thwack–in time to some internal clock, just waiting to whap one of us in the back of the head for misbehaving. A goal is all shiny and bright–a bauble of hope. It doesn’t have the word not in it, as in, “I will not overeat” and “I will not curse like a sailor on shore leave” and “I will not look at some twentysomething with his whole life ahead of him and who already knows as much as I do at more than twice his age and find fault with his fashion choices.” Uh, not that any of these have ever applied to me.

This year, more than ever, a great many of the lessons I learned came from fellow bloggers. As a nod of gratitude to them, and as a way of getting my dolls and dishes packed up for next year, I thought I’d share some of the more inspiring lessons. 

From Michael Procopio, I learned it takes talent to toss off Dorothy Parker-worthy bon mots. I am Grasshopper to his Master.

From Ree Drummond, I learned quiet strength. And a wicked mashed potato recipe.

From Dorie Greenspan,  l learned everyone feels inadequate no matter how accomplished he may be.

From Heidi Swanson, I learned the importance of self.

From Faith Durand, I learned joy, and the pleasures of creamy limoncello.

From Monica Bhide, I learned how to be grateful when there’s not always a lot to be grateful for.

From Sean Timberlake, I learned what it means to be committed. In the interpersonal sense, that is.

From Hank Shaw, I learned what persistence looks like.

From Dianne Jacob, I learned about reinvention. (Madonna, you have nothing on her.)

From Beth Kujawski, I learned what support feels like.

From Gail Dosik, I learned perfectionism can be a good thing–especially if you don’t obsess about it.

From Jaden Hair, I learned ambition isn’t a four-letter word.

From Katherine O’Hara, I learned how to take responsibility for your actions with class.

From Jeff Miller, I learned about generosity of spirit…and ridiculously mind-bending algorithms.

From Kate Jackson, I learned it’s good to trust your gut. Its intuition as well as its hunger pangs.

From Ethan Adeland, I learned humility is alive and well and living in Canada.

From Elise Bauer, I learned what it feels like to be on the receiving end of a river of generosity.

From Garrett McCord, I learned you’re never too old to flirt.

From Jennifer McLagan, I learned how to stand firm in your beliefs while chewing the fat (literally).

 

And closer to home, and office:

From Renee Schettler Rossi, I learned gentleness can lead better than fear.

From Allison Parker, I learned courage. A lot of courage.

From Julie Dreyfoos, I learned the delight of loyalty.

From Beth Price, I learned what “chop wood, carry water” means.

From Jenna Rose Levy, I learned competence.

From Dan Kraan, I learned you can rethink the unthinkable, all while grilling venison.

From Leanne Hammond, I learned that a learning curve doesn’t have to be a mountain.

From Lindsay Myers, I learned how to jump on a very fast-moving bandwagon and not fall off.

From Rachel Kaufman, I learned it’s always the quiet ones you have to watch.

From Erin Carlman Weber, I learned you can never forget your first Twitter love.

From Jared Atchison, I learned there really is a Santa Claus.

 

From the The One, I learned the steadfastness and resiliency of love.

And from Chloe, Rory, and Raja, I learned once again that you can’t get a cat to do your bidding. (And I have the scars from Rory to prove it.)

 

I hope you can take a minute from all the tippling, dipping, and dunking of the season to think about what you learned this year. In the meantime, I wish you all a Happy New Year and a prosperous, incandescent, and delicious 2012.

David Leite's signature

Comments

  1. You taught me to laugh at everything and to be rigorous at whatever I put myself at. Thank you, David! For being such a wonderful friend, influence, and inspiration!

    Also, if flirting is what I have taught you then I am concerned for myself. ;)

  2. What a touching post. I love how you have shared with us what you have learned and focused on the positive instead of the negative of not reaching a goal. I feel so fortunate to have found your site over the last few months. I know I have mentioned it before, but I really do love your recipes. I find very few people that have the taste palate that I enjoy but your post always hit home with me. Thank you for sharing your talent to those of us in the foodie universe. Sherron

    1. Sherron, thank you for all the kind words. And I’m glad you find something pleasing in our recipes. I wish you and yours a very Happy New Year. May it bring you much joy, love, happiness, and great food. Keep up the good work!

  3. David–

    A truly wonderful piece, full of love, learnings, and the kind of wisdom that makes us who we are. I will remember this in the weeks and months to come, and will look back at 2012 with the same sense of gratitude because of the ability to learn and grow from another.

  4. Nice to see the call out for Faith Durand here, one of my favorite bloggers…I know her casseroles, but not her creamy limincello, sounds like a must try!

  5. Thanks, David! What did I learn this year? Wow. Quite a bit, actually. And some of it was from you. Happy New Year, and remember, when you are ready, we have a date in a marsh, wearing camo and carrying shotguns that awaits…

    1. Oh, my dear Hank, it’s taken me the better part of a year to get over being present for the slaughter of our holiday turkey. Not sure i’m up to guns and camo, but I’m not ruling it out.

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