Without a doubt, 2017 has been a crazy year. I could discuss the political landscape, the people who have passed away or instability in the world. Any one of those things could make for a rough year. Add them all together and you have a toxic brew of insanity. People fear to talk to people about serious topics for fear of being said to have some form of “phobia”. And people began to unfriend people at such a rate on Facebook that it’s become a “thing”. (I wouldn’t be surprised if it’s the “word” of the year. Something akin to ghosting.) I always think it’s good to take stock of your year as you are going through it. And I have an extra added incentive to do so as I just completed my sixth month of blogging last month. Seems like a good time to have my mid-year review.
What have I learned in the first six months of blogging? Where have I been, and where am I going? How can I be vulnerable without revealing every last detail of my life and oversharing? How do I admit to everything on a blog without the FBI and the CIA being interested in the information? (Wait . . . that’s a different post.) And what larger life lessons have I learned? I realize that life lessons aren’t necessarily blogging lessons. I love blogging and have learned a lot but I need to open this up to larger questions aside from blogging because I believe life lessons are more important than blogging ones. AND I believe that life lessons apply to blogging in some pretty significant ways.
On the other hand, I didn’t want to get into a political rant. It’s way too easy to argue one way or the other about how the world should be working. We all have our political opinions. I just don’t like mine. Or yours. Or the neighbors. I don’t even want the opinion of little green men from outer space telling me what to think. I can hate my own ideas enough on my own thank you!!! Unless you are an attractive Blonde with three dragons and wanting to battle Westeros over the seven kingdoms. I’ll gladly talk about those politics. Aside from that, I will be talking about things I have learned that hopefully doesn’t make people want to bury their heads in the pillows and screaming “la, la, la, la, la . . . ”
As such I am presenting my top ten things I have learned in 2017 . . . so far.
Top Ten 2017 Lessons
1) It’s Far Too Easy To Be Unfriended –
Obviously hanging around someone who brings you down is not a good thing. This does not mean that it should be easy to walk away from a friendship. The world has created ways to block people from our lives whether blocks on phones, messages, or any other various things. And I know people who have taken to blocking older friends. I think this is wrong. That doesn’t mean that the friendship shouldn’t end. It does mean that you should have to confront this person and actually be a human and engage with them when you end the friendship.
Maybe this is a duh moment for me. But it’s so easy to put things away and do things that I want. And that can be lazy. But that’s not a good thing. Because you will find your way back to being unhealthy. In order to be healthy, you have to be conscious about what you do daily. This is truer the older you get.
3) Spending Time With My Child Is Amazing –
I guess I always did know this. But getting to sit down and talk to her and learn about her reflections about life is something for which I could never replace. When it comes down to priceless things. This is my priceless thing. I know every child is different, but you will learn a ton when you actually decide to sit down and listen to them. Which leads me to my next lesson.
4) Listening Is A Skill More People Should Practice –
I think many people are so focused on whether or not they are getting their point across that they stop listening to the other person. And when that happens communication goes out the window. As do friendships, relationships, and partnerships. It’s one thing if we struggle to communicate with enemies. It’s even more strange when we stop being able to communicate with friends.
5) Being Heard Is Still Important –
Yes, listening is essential to communication. And it’s probably the essential part of communication. It helps you navigate the communication minefield. But when you aren’t being heard, even if you are listening, you are only having a one sided conversation. Communication is a balance about hearing and being heard. And when you stop being heard, everything ends whether you want it to or not.
6) Taking Time For You Is Essential –
Another one of those duh moments. I just think that I have been confronted with it more this year than in the past. Between my full-time job and my blog, I end up with little time for myself. But that time is essential. When I don’t get me time, I get stressed out and start being less interested in things as well as becoming overtired and stop being able to think as well. Time for me makes my time with everyone else better and more fulfilling.
7) Sleep Is Essential –
Whatever I need to do in my life requires sleep. Extensive amounts of sleep. When I begin to lose sleep everything goes off kilter. I knew I wasn’t twenty anymore, but I figured I could survive on six hours. That was a stupid assessment. I need to try to get eight, or you can just call me Mr. Frankenelliott. Grrr! Ugh!!!
8) Writing Is Fun. Marketing Is Work. Blogging Requires Both –
I know we all dream of having our stuff go viral on the internet. We put something out there and before we know it we have millions of viewers reading our stuff. But that’s about as likely as buying a lottery ticket and hoping to win the lottery. To be successful you need to work at it. This is true for musicians and artists. They hone their craft before they become successful at it. Bloggers have to put in the time marketing in order to be successful, or they were successful and had money to spend already. So like anything else in life, if you want to be good at it, you have to hone your craft. Success means work.
9) The Ability To Laugh Makes Everything Better –
Laughing, I believe, is one of the purest emotions we have. Some people can fake laugh. And some others laugh nervously. But pure, unadulterated laughter lightens one’s mood and makes everything so much better. And it’s not just our own laughter which feels so good. It’s hearing laughter from those around us. Just hearing my daughters laugh is one of the most joyous sounds in the whole world. Wanna make yourself feel better and those around you? Make people laugh.
10) Paying Attention To Everything Allows You To Hear Nothing –
It would be lovely for me to be able to sift through all of the bits of information in the world and know what was true and false. But with as much disinformation in the world as there is on both sides, and as we have exchanged truth for feelings, it makes trying to take it all in ludicrous. If I tried to pay attention to everything anyone said, soon I wouldn’t be hearing anything effectively. Try to find people you respect who will tell you hard truths and not simply want to tickle your ear and you will be more informed than if you try to listen to every bit of news feed that comes across your news feed on Facebook or any other news service.
Continue The Conversation –
So what important lessons have you learned over the first half of 2017? What things would you do differently as a result of the lessons that you learned? What are your biggest successes and failures of the past year?
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Until next time, this is me signing off.
David Elliott, Single Dad’s Guide to Life