Thursday, December 29, 2011

What I Learned In 2011 ...

I started a tradition that didn't last.

I had decided that on New Year's Eve, I would write goals for the new year.

And so, for a few years, I did. I would sit down with a pad of paper and a pencil (I like to write with pencils) and jot down my goals for the year ahead. And then, like the accountants for PricewaterhouseCoopers, I would seal them in an envelope and tuck them away, in the lower left-hand corner of my top dresser drawer.

I retrieved the ones that are still in there. The last goals I wrote were in 2008, looking ahead to 2009. It wasn't the best of times, 2009. Goals were shunned that year.

But life has come around again, as it is wont to do. There have been changes.

And one of the fine things to emerge from this year has been my online acquaintance with David Leite, a charming man from New York City (and sometimes Connecticut), a lover of food and words; a talent worthy of multiple James Beard and other awards; and the namesake of one of my favorite sites.

This week, David wrote a lovely post to bid farewell to the year, not the typical forward-looking list of shoulds and to-dos but a thoughtful look back at what he'd learned over the past year, with nods to each of his teachers.

I loved the idea of reflecting back on the bloggers in my life and what I had learned from each other them. Every morning, all year long, they are part of my early routine. I sip my coffee and feel a little jolt when I see that one of them has posted something new.

So, then, in lieu of goals and to follow David's excellent lead, I offer (in no particular order) my reflections and thanks for what they've taught me throughout the year, whether intended or known or not.

From David Leite, I learned that humility and success are potent partners, not necessary strangers. (His blog is the first one on my list, coincidentally.)

From Deb Perelman, I learned that doing for the love of doing is the key ingredient in the recipe for how to live a happy life.

From Mark Sisson, I learned that wellness comes to those who get out of their own way.

From Gretchen Holt Witt, I learned that a single cookie can change the world.

From Angelo Surmelis, I learned that one of the most extraordinary acts of kindness is encouraging another to follow their dream.

From Patti Digh, I learned that beauty and joy reside in all things.

From Joe Pastry, I learned that baking is magical as both alchemy and science.

From Mike Sowden, I learned that some words can be combined so exquisitely that they are deeply felt, not merely read.

From Jim Marquis, I learned that politics and music make fine bedfellows.

From Roger Ebert, I learned that some circumstances hold only as much power as we give them. Also, that I ascribe to him the finest kicker ever written.

From Natalie Mikolajczak, I learned that life is often best when laughed at, with girlfriends, in the presence of wine.

From Amy Hardin Turosak, I learned that abundance can be found in unexpected places.

From Tom Erdman, I learned that nothing is improbable.

From AndreAnna, I learned that it isn't always easy but that struggles are dwarfed by rewards.

From Mary Tyler Mom, I learned that one woman can possess more grace than I ever believed possible.

From Michele Woodward, I learned that reinvention is not only possible, but sometimes essential.

From Amanda Hesser and Merrill Stubbs, I learned that our stomachs are without a doubt the way to our hearts.

And from Elisa and Nathan Bond, I learned that love truly does conquer all.

I encourage you to spend some moments pondering what those in your life have imparted to you. And I offer my fondest hopes and fervent wishes that you know fulfillment and ease in the new year.


Anonymous David Leite said...

Beth, how lovely! I'm glad I could inspire, and may you inspire many, many others. Happy New Year.

1:00 PM  
Blogger Beth said...

Thank you, m'dear. A Happy New Year to you and The One.

I hope to clink glasses with you in the year ahead.

1:29 PM  

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