Monday, January 02, 2012

A year comes, a year goes.

Put simply, 2011 was a strange year. It was full of endings and beginnings, full of lessons, full of pain, full of happy memories. Of course, every year could fall under that description, but 2011 seemed full of much larger and more intense events.

Beginning the year, I was engaged. At the end of the year, I was in a new relationship and figuring out what to do with the house I had bought with my ex-fiancée. I spent the second half of the year dealing with PTSD and learning remarkable lessons about relationships and partnerships. My daughter turned into a tween, and I learned how to reconnect with her. Echoes of 20 years ago filled the year. I began the year employed at one company and ended it as a contractor at another. The year began with changes in brewing and business planning and ended with plenty of lessons learned and plenty more to learn.

On New Years Eve, a fellow single dad answered one of my comments about 2011 by saying "Instead of resolutions, I think I'm going to make a list of lessons learned in 2011." At risk of leaving some out, here is a short list of the lessons taken in this year:

  • Budget time and money. You will have more time and more money for what you want.
  • Don't try to cram extra things in to small amounts of time. You will accomplish more and feel less stressed out by what needs to be done.
  • Finish tasks. Finish it before you pick up anything else. You will save time and stress.
  • Be where you say you're going to be when you say you're going to be there. Friends, partners and lovers will trust you more.
  • Don't promise things you can't deliver. Again: trust.
  • Use the right tool for the task and pay attention to process — whether you're cooking, building, brewing or whatever. You will save time and effort and have a better product.
  • Cutting corners isn't worth it. Nothing finishes as well as it would if you did it the right way.
  • Bourbon barrels and imperial stout were made for each other.
  • Silicon cooking tools are worth having. As is the perfect cast iron pan. Take care of what you have, and it will always treat you well.
  • Beverages really do taste better out of the right glassware.
  • Think about where each dollar you spend is going. Who is it helping and what will you get in return for it?
  • Spend the extra few minutes with the people who are important to you. A little goes a long way.
  • If you get another chance, do it right. This rule applies to everything.
I'll add a piece or two to this as it seems appropriate. For the moment, though, it makes a pretty good foundation for 2012. Life really is simple if you let it be.