Eleven Lessons from '11

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The results of my unofficial, undocumented, and totally unscientific poll report that twenty-eleven was a tough year for a lot of folks and is one not worth repeating. Not to sound completely depressing, I certainly had moments of incredible fun and time with friends and family that I wouldn't trade for anything, my sides still ache from laughing so hard over scrabble games and funny dogs and ridiculous mishaps. Opportunities abounded to learn through those good parts and all that muck and yuck too. 

While looking forward to 2012 feels good and right, here is a little review of what I figured out throughout the last twelve months.

* Its not failure if you haven't stopped trying. The expiration date might have come and passed but everything lasts longer than the blue numbers stamped on the package (you can sometimes even rub that stamp until it disappears completely and then just write in a new date in the old one's place!). Trust me on this, I've only ever had really bad food poisoning once and it was from a brand new container of tofu, and really, thats not all that surprising from gelatinous soy and doesn't prove anything about anything. I had one big goal 2011 that I didn't reach. There were a few moments of frustration over being so far from where I wanted to be, but if I had pushed it, I may not have had opportunities for unexpectedly incredible times with great friends. Those were not to be missed and neither are the plans I still have for things like climbing. So I think I'll write in that new expiration date and just conveniently forget to leave off the year. Maybe 2012 is the year of the big-for-me-climbs and maybe its not, but here's looking at you, 5.9.

 If I dont fly, I wont get to see mountains from this viewpoint

If I dont fly, I wont get to see mountains from this viewpoint

* Spend time with the parents and ask them for a story. They are fascinating, wonderful people who have spent the last twenty or thirty years listening to the stories of their offspring. But in those last twenty or thirty years they've done quite a lot of story-worthy stuff themselves. And its pretty awesome having the chance to hear those tales.

* Graffiti is a fascinating universal language. Spain, Iceland, Tennessee, Seattle - all fairly different places, all home to awesome street art. Museums can be specatcular but sometimes taking the time to stroll random, unfamiliar roads provides the best art show imaginable. Dont forget to look up.

* No matter how toasty the day is and how refreshing that dirty river looks do NOT soak hot feet in a contaminated river. Never, ever.

 Icelandic Art

Icelandic Art

* It is ok to let the tears fall when others are around (what is this, rocket science? you ask. apparently so, since this one has taken 33 years to figure out). It is ok to lay on the floor in the fetal position alongside a very full glass of red wine and a bowl of peanut m&m's while friends move around to brew tea, bring pints of ice cream, make laughter through tears and hand over the roll of TP when those tears and the accompanying snot are just too proliferous. This is the recipe for Heal Your Heart soup.

* Fried pickles are as good as everyone says. Sweet tea? Not so much.

* Dogs dont care about the water temperature. So take a bubble bath BEFORE washing the stinky dog. Its hard to wash off soapy bubbles with freezing cold water.

 Desperation makes random food a great snack surprise

Desperation makes random food a great snack surprise

*  Sometimes wonderful things are lost, and we wont ever get over them. It's ok. In fact, don't recover, just don't do it! Because when you don't get over it, you wont have a chance to forget, and all those times you think of what you lost gives you an opportunity to think back on a great memory and then to smile, maybe even chuckle to yourself a little too loud until the guy across the train looks up and over at you because you just couldn't contain it. And those smiles and chuckles are good things. So think of what you lost, think of them a lot. Think and smile and keep that smile on your face because its beautiful and radiates goodness to everyone you meet, everyone you pass by and say hello to and it radiates back inside of you, too. It'll light you up, that memory and that smile. So keep it on. Even if sometimes its watered down with a few tears that fall into your vanilla ice cream.

That's it. That's all. Not much of a story, in fact this really isnt a story at all, just some ramblings from the last year before jumping with two feet into this year. Wishing a good 2012 all around with plenty of moments for creating great stories.