Sunday, December 30, 2012

2012

How did we already get to the 2012 wrap-up post? What a year. For several years now I have measured my life by the mantra that if I'm doing things right, the best year of my life at any given time should always be the last one I've lived.  So many people talk about certain times as their best. Times past. Times when they were young enough to do this or that. Times when they weren't bogged down by the mortgage, and the kids, and the job, and life. Times when they weren't going through the crap they're currently going through.

But strangers, I think 2012 has taught me more than anything else that the make-up of a greatest year is not actually exotic locales and impressive promotions. It's less about what you do and more about what you learn. It's not so much about where you've been but more about whom you've met. And whom you've helped. By that standard, each of our lives have room for greatness. Because each of our lives have people and challenges in them. Whether we live in the Palaun Pacific or the Salt Lake City suburbs, we have the puzzle pieces available to make ourselves into something we can be proud of. And whether we're going to be able to say by the end of 2013 that we just lived our best year depends entirely on what we decide to do be during it.

Partly because I'm finally starting to learn this lesson, 2012 was my best year. It was also my hardest year. One of my most disappointing and stressful, yet fulfilling and comforting. In 2012 I swam with sharks. I bought a wetsuit and a bike. I trained for an Ironman. I failed an Ironman. Sort of. I helped build a patio. I was manipulated by a drug-addict. I moved to a tropical island. I took some really stupid chances. I finished a clerkship with the greatest judge I could have ever hoped to work for. I took a 2,000 mile road trip across southern Mexico. I ran my slowest marathon. I ran a 5k and as a result was introduced to Prince Edward Island by a great new friend. A cockroach crawled across me on a Ukrainian train. I peeled hundreds of mangoes at 1:00 AM. I threw-up a hot dog. I chopped down banana trees after a typhoon. I ate my weight in baklava. I crammed everything I own into a storage unit. I got lonely. I found out how incredible my friends are and how much they are willing to do to support me. I bought a car from someone I had never met on the other side of the world. I told stories to small crowds. I wrote a lot. I opened up packages from family and friends that were desperately needed. I planned activities for teenagers. I had a broken conversation in Bulgarian at a train station. I walked into a surprise birthday party. I planned a surprise birthday party for someone else. I got freaked out at a Turkish hamam. I played with my nieces and nephew and cried when I had to say goodbye. I worried about my friends. A lot. I made some difficult choices. I made a lot of big mistakes. But did a few good things, too.

I hope I remember what happened in 2012. The good parts and the bad ones. But above all else, I hope I learned from it. The past is an asset, if we use it in that way. And a liability if we let it hold us back. Every year I get less and less sure about what the next year is going to bring. I expect it will be full of surprises. And if history repeats itself, full of strange, too. And I'll cherish the strange, like I always do. Because the usual lets us rest, but the strange makes us laugh, and cry, and think. And all of that laughing and crying and thinking changes us, hopefully for the stranger.

Thank you, dear strangers, for helping me make 2012 my best year. I'm excited to head into a new one with you. May the lessons of 2012 now help the experiences of 2013 Just Get Stranger for us all~

21 comments:

  1. Here's looking at you 2012!

    ReplyDelete
  2. Love this... Here's to the New Year and people who can speak Bulgarian! Here's to slow marathons too :)

    ReplyDelete
  3. What a wonderful way to look at life! I love the line "The past is an asset, if we use it in that way. And a liability if we let it hold us back." Perfect!

    One of my resolutions is to be a more positive and kinder person. Actually not really a resolution...I decided a few weeks ago that I was getting to be quite negative and didn't like that....so I started right then.

    Good luck to you and your journey through life. I love reading about your crazy adventures and regular everyday stuff. You are more of an inspiration than you realize.....

    ReplyDelete
  4. Here's to you, 2013, and to a great blog that can make me laugh til I pee a little and also go beyond the superficial to the deeper meaning to a life well lived. Cheers!

    ReplyDelete
  5. You mentioned Prince Edward Island,unless there is another I'm not aware of, that would be the one in Canada. I only live a couple hours from there, so happy to hear you had a great experience there, it is a beautiful place to get lost in, and if you tried to explore all over like we did, there's a good chance you did get lost, I know we did several times, and that is with a map. Their roads are so screwy. If you ever go back they have an awesome cottage there called Redcliff cottage, it has a hot tub on the patio overlooking the water. Great for the days it's to rainy and chilly to see the sights. The hubby and I just loved it. FYI, Avalon village is a lot nicer to explore then the Ann of Green Gables house. I love reading your blogs, I especially love the Snuggie Texts. So fun to mess with people that are to polite to know what to do with you. If you liked Prince Edward Island, another fantastic place to try would be Newfoundland, it's all about the people there, they rock! Go party on George Street in Saint John's they'll Screech you in. I'll let you Google that one.

    ReplyDelete
  6. Thank you Eli, I really needed to hear that today.

    ReplyDelete
  7. Great post. It is so true that life is full of learning experiences and it is what we do with those experiences, how we react to them, that makes life meaningful and gives purpose.

    ReplyDelete
  8. "The usual lets us rest, but the strange makes us laugh, and cry, and think." I think that will be my motto for 2013. Thanks, Eli.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Here here. Never thought I would want my life to get stranger until I found this site.

      Delete
  9. Thank you, Eli. It has been a wonderful and strange year. I love reading all about your adventures, your triumphs, your failures (kind of), and all of the strange times in between. Your posts have brought me much laughter, hope, and joy throughout the year. I am proud to have met you, even if it was for just five minutes. I look forward to all of the strange times to come, both in my own life, and with Stranger.

    ReplyDelete
  10. One of my favorite posts every year! I'm so glad I was there with you for many of these strange and wonderful experiences! (And many many more!!) Here's to another great year of learning and growing and crazy experiences (including a trip to Palau for me!!). Love you!!!

    ReplyDelete
  11. I'm pretty much madly in love with you.

    ReplyDelete
  12. In 2012 I learned about the Queen of Colors. As a result I have now taught my 3 yr. old nephew about the Q of C and we invented a game in which I am the Q of C and attack him (tickle him). After playing for a few minutes he stated, "Everybody doesn't like the Queen of Colors." Thank you for teaching me that this year.

    ReplyDelete
  13. So amazing!!! I also threw up a hot dog this year. It's like we're soul mates.

    May each new year make the most of you :)

    ReplyDelete
  14. Great post. Just great.

    Also, I failed at an ironman too. I mean, I didn't run more than 3 miles this year so I'd say that's a pretty big failure, yes?

    ReplyDelete
  15. ... just thought you should know about this http://www.amazon.com/Lekue-Classic-Cube-Tray-White/dp/B001UWVU9M/?qid=1333228655&s=home-garden&ref=sr_1_36&ie=UTF8&sr=1-36

    ReplyDelete
  16. Just to finish your year in style - your style - I wanted to share this with you. It might be something you'd like to have in your book collection.

    Crafting with Cat Hair. - http://www.amazon.com/Crafting-Cat-Hair-Cute-Handicrafts/dp/1594745250

    ReplyDelete
  17. Eli, you are an inspiration to my family. One that we really need. I can't tell you how many times you have made us laugh together. But you also have a way of reminding us of things that are the most important. I'm with the other comment that mentioned the line about the past being an asset. Thank you. Jackson

    ReplyDelete
  18. 2012 included me finding your blog. Cliche or not, it has been a life saver in many ways.

    ReplyDelete
  19. Is Daniel single?

    ReplyDelete