What I Learned This Year

We all know that new years resolutions are basically meaningless. Yeah, sure you’re going to start hitting the gym 3x per week. SURE. And you’re DEFINITELY going to finish all those books you’ve started and pay off your credit card debt. I would say good luck but you probably don’t even need it!

I find it much more insightful to ponder the year that has been and take note of the lessons I have learned. That way you can (maybe) feel like you’ve made some progress as a human rather than lamenting the state of your six pack/bank account. Here are some things I learned in the year 2012:

1. Cruises are terrible/kind of fun/definitely terrible

In May I went on a cheapo 3 day cruise to “Mexico” (I say “Mexico” because the town we went to, “Ensenada” was approximately one hour south of San Diego, and as far as I can tell its only notable trait was its location south of the US border.) and it was, uh, something.

I mean, it was kind of fun to do all the cruise ship stuff you heard about growing up from your slightly wealthier cousins (Karaoke! Late night pizza! Comedians!) but on the realz, it was just OK. I’m guessing more expensive cruises are nicer and have more interesting ports of call, but it’s still going to be a giant boat filled with graduating high school seniors, nearly dead medicare recipients, and super gross hill people all waiting in line for the same mediocre-to-disgusting Mexican buffet.

On a positive note, I was able to purchase some allergy medicine for a VERY reasonable rate while in “Mexico.”

2. If you hate doing something that’s good for you, just do it long enough and you eventually won’t hate it

This year I realized that while I’m cool with riding my bicycle, I HATED running for any distance more than from my mailbox to my front door (and even then, only if it was raining). So, as part of a broader health initiative, I started running almost every night this summer.

And guess what? I HATED it. It was terrible. And then, at some point it became less terrible. To my great surprise I found myself LOOKING FORWARD to my runs. I had slowly become one of “those” people who try to figure out the exact angle of their over-pronating ankles and get super jazzed about running negative splits.

I have tried to apply this principle to things less obnoxious than distance running (weightlifting(?), getting more sleep, reading fiction novels) and I can definitely say that persistence is 90% of the battle when you’re trying to develop new (good) habits.

My next self improvement journey is to finally stop drinking Coke Zero all damn day every day, but I’m totally not addicted or anything JUST GET OFF MY BACK OK I CAN STOP AT ANY TIME.

3. Give up on wearing hats already

I’ve always really liked hats, and for my entire life I was convinced that if I just found the right hat, I could wear it and not look like one of those tragic progeria kids. Well, the cold and uncaring hand of logic has finally gripped my heart and I now accept that I just need to give up on the hat thing.

My head is small. Hats look stupid on dudes with small heads. Genetics have doomed me to a hat-free existence. NEXT LIFE LESSON PLEASE.

4. Learn to cook, dummy

At some point you’ve just got to stop eating PBJs and cereal all the time and learn to cook. It’s not that hard! Actually it’s really easy. All you have to do is follow a few very specific and simple preparation steps that are available for FREE on the internet. You can cook any type of food you want! Seriously! If you are over 25 and still making cold-cut sandwiches and  Doritos for lunch like a 7-year-old you deserve a smack in the head. Learn how to chop vegetables. Buy and use a garlic press. Buy and use various hot sauces. You’re an adult for heaven’s sake.

Also, when you make spaghetti, cook the spaghetti until it’s almost done and then add it to your sauce and let it cook the rest of the way. The first time you do this you’ll feel like an idiot for dumping sauce on watery, overcooked noodles for so many years like a total amateur.

5. The More You Learn, the More You Realize You Don’t Know Anything

This is kind of obvious, but the older I get the more comfortable I am with the amount of crap I don’t know. I accept that I will never be an expert on the cultivation and exportation of cranberries. I will never have a deep and working knowledge of entire fields of science, mathematics and engineering. Oh well.

As it stands, I probably already spend way too much time reading wikipedia for curiosity’s sake, learning just a little bit about a lot of different things—accumulating shallow knowledge just to check a box. Maybe I’ll try to dig a bit deeper into the crap that most interests me, and all the rest of the crap can just chill out for a while, you know?