I learned how to ride public transportation. I learned how to fill out census paperwork. I learned how to order a drink in a bar. I learned what it felt like to be in love. I learned what it felt like to fall out of love. I learned what it felt like to have my heart broken. I learned what it felt like to have my heart burst with joy. I learned not to drink and drive. I learned that my punishment for drinking and driving is much less severe than others'.
I learned how to put aside my own feelings and just be there for a friend. I learned how to stand up for myself. I learned how to live within my means and be (more or less) comfortable doing it. I learned to like onions and tomatoes. I learned to like meatloaf. I learned to be a little more patient. I learned that friendships come and go, and that's ok. I learned that its not about how many friends you have, but about the quality of those friendships. I learned how to get crayon off walls. I DID NOT learn how to get baby spit up out of clothes. I learned that my family is not lame and weird but cool and quirky.
I learned that you can meet the love of your life on vacation. In a bar. When you've had too much to drink.
I learned that I'm worthy of his love and I have a right to demand it. I learned how to clean out a refrigerator but not a microwave. I learned how to pack a Uhaul and move across state lines. 3 times. In two years.
I learned how to put chains on my car. I learned that I should not drive in snow even with four-wheel drive and chains.
I learned that life is hard and sometimes, that's just all there is to it. I learned that amongst the pain and darkness there is always a point of light. I learned that bad things happen for a reason. Even if I have to wait a loooooong time to figure out what that reason is. I learned that there are very few things in my life I would do differently because all those things are links in a chain that brought me to where I am today, and despite everything I complain about, I wouldn't change where I am now for a thousand better decisions in my past.
I learned how to plant a garden. I learned that I am a terrible gardener. I learned to have confidence in not only my appearance but who I am as a person. I learned to like myself.
I learned how to use Facebook, Myspace, Blogger and Google Reader. I learned countless different loan software tools and forgot them all. I learned how to file unemployment. I learned how to ask for help. I learned how to swallow my pride and ask for help. I learned how to use craigslist.
I learned how to give birth. I learned how to mourn the loss of an unborn child. I learned how to swaddle a baby. I learned how to breastfeed. I learned how to prepare a bottle of formula. I learned how to have compassion. I learned how to take a deep breath, or two, and enter a room with a smile. I learned that the world doesn't revolve around me. Not at all. I learned that's ok. I learned how to make Thanksgiving Dinner.
I learned how to parallel park.
I learned what I wanted to do with my life. I learned how to go back to college. I learned that I'm actually smart. I learned that (don't tell my parents) if I apply myself, I can actually be quite successful. I learned that doing a good job, sometimes, is as much for me as it is for my child(ren). I learned that I hated being a loan officer. I learned that I want to be a teacher.
I learned that life is full of ups and downs and that what is happening right now, and who you are right now, is rarely what will be happening and who you will be in the future. I learned that situations are often out of my control, but my reactions to those situations are not. I learned to be a best friend, a wife, a mother.
THis first decade of the 2000's was full of life! I entered as a 20 year old know-it-all and I'm leaving as a 30 year old know nothing. In looking back on the last decade it seems like there couldn't possibly be another decade of greater personal growth and change. While I would have thought of myself as an adult at 20, at 30, I know now that I had so far to go. I wonder if on New Year's Eve 2019, at 40 years old (gulp!) I'll look back at 30 year old me and realize that she knew nothing either.
Happy New Year, everyone! May 2010 bring you all you hope for.