The Year Of Good Lessons Learned

Katie Young
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Wednesday - December 27, 2006

Has another year gone by already? I have to say that 2006 was a rather strange year for me. For sure it was a bad health year. I started January with a pinched nerve and bulging disc in my back.

I suffered in pain for three months before I was able to return happily to my MidWeek cubicle, only to decide two months later that I still couldn’t handle the daily computer work. I left my MidWeek family to get better. It was a good decision, in retrospect, because I did get better.

Even Mr. Pono, the wiener dog, has had his share of health problems this year - mainly the onset of alopecia, which renders him somewhat bald in his “floppy ears” area. And, in a desperate attempt at freedom while I was on a trip, he also tried to escape the confines of his kennel using only the tip of his nose. Mr. P ended up looking like Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer for the better part of November.

There were good things that happened too, such as getting to keep my MidWeek column even though I’m not on the full-time staff, and going back to school to finally finish my master’s degree after a six-year absence.

I lost love in 2005 but found it again this year. I figured out how to pay off my credit card debt and developed a new appreciation for the hard-earned dollar.

I’d say, therefore, that all bad moments aside, 2006 was all right.

Each time the new year rolls around, I like to take a moment to reflect on what has happened in the past 12 months. This helps me to set goals and find a solid direction for where I’d like my life to go the following year.

I call it “self-cleaning.” Reflecting also provides an opportunity to heal, to grow and to acknowledge the accomplishments I’d like to repeat and the mistakes I never want to make again.

So here’s my top five lessons of 2006:

1) Taking care of your body and your health is No. 1. I don’t care how young or old you are, or how invincible you think your body is. Being human means that pain can happen at any moment. Some of these pains are sharp but short, and go away within a few moments. Other pain is a lifetime commitment.

It is paramount that if something hurts you, you go to the doctor to get it checked out. And then you explore every option in making yourself better. It’s time-consuming and extremely frustrating when remedies don’t seem to work, but life must go on.

And sometimes you’ll get lucky, and all you need to get better is time, patience, the right information for your mind and the right pillow under your head at night.

2) There is such a thing as “overqualified.” Now that I have completed my master’s degree I have been warned by several of my card-carrying M.A. and M.B.A. friends that there is a very good chance I could be “overqualified” for any number of viable positions out there. Who knew such a thing existed? I thought higher education could only be a positive thing in your life.

Many friends of mine said they ended up having to leave their master’s degree off their resumes!

And another thing I’m concerned with: I’d guess most employers want you to have some sort of experience in the field you are applying for. So if you’ve been in one career your entire life, but circumstances require that you find a new career, then really, how is anyone ever going to be qualified to try something new?

3) No matter how many times you swear off the opposite sex, nothing beats the soft touch of someone who truly loves you.

“I’m done with men!” has been the anthem of more than one girlfriend of mine in the past. I also admit to uttering those words more than once.

But women only say it - we don’t really mean it. Because when you find the right one (and just so we’re clear: The wrong one is the guy who is insensitive to your feelings and who takes you for granted), he will work through the tough times with you and will make you feel like you’re safe, appreciated and genuinely loved.

4) Avoiding the money traps - do it now! I’m happy to say that too much debt and too much spending are no longer a part of my vocabulary. I’m on my way to financial success now that I’ve kicked my ugly shopping addiction. I know I’ll be better for it (and happier) in the long run, when I can afford to buy the bigger items I’d really like, such as a house and a car. And in truth, it wasn’t that hard a habit to break.

5) There’s nothing wrong with making a list. Whether it’s a list of the kind of relationship you want, the things you learned during the year or your New Year’s resolutions, writing things down will help you organize and visualize the future you want. And if it helps you to follow through on something you’ve put off until now, then I’d say it’s well worth the time and energy.

Happy New Year! See you in 2007!

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