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. Such a lovely list David . . . For those of us watching from a distance, you’ve also mastered kindness, graciousness and wonderful mentoring skills . . . Happy New Year David . . . Looking forward to your 2012 list

    1. Thanks, Smith Bites. I’ll never regret being assigned that airplane seat from San Francisco earlier this year. It meant I met you and your husband and was introduced to your wonderful blog. (I’m jealous of the photographs!)

  2. Well, this is a very good idea. (As if you would have any other kind of idea?)

    And I am beyond touched to be mentioned in such auspicious company. Thank you.

    From you, right this moment, I am learning that I don’t have the facility with words to adequately express my fondness for you and my gratitude for our connection.

    1. Beth, well, you really were quite nice when I was on Martha Stewart Radio, and you certainly have been a great LC booster.

      I hope others pick up the idea and run with it, making it their own.

  3. David, how ironic that so many of the things you say you’ve learned from others this past year (including from me), are things I’ve learned in equal measure from you! Thank you for taking time to reflect–and for making this reflection a lovely public acknowledgment as well.

    From you, on an ongoing basis, I learn the virtues of focus and decisiveness on the job, learn that the cream does indeed rise to the top in all sorts of ways (of course, you’re the creamiest), and also that the courage you mention serves nothing if you’re not willing to use it in the service of goals and dreams.

    Thanks for a lovely place to work this past year, and for all the tricks I know you have up your sleeve for LC in 2012.

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