27 Things I Learned in 2014

Put your hands in the air and wave them like you just don't care to go to concerts.

Put your hands in the air and wave them like you just don't care to go to concerts.

Not to brag, but 2014 was probably the best year of my life. I married my awesome husband, followed my passion and learned a lot of great things along the way. Here's a few.

Oh and PS I realize the words on the picture should say "I don't like concerts & 26 other things I learned in 2014," but honestly, I just don't want to take the time to fix it, so the 27th thing I learned is to say screw it. Who cares.

1. Garth Brooks was worth the wait!

Ever since I was in seventh grade, which was 20 years ago, I've wanted to see this guy live. I didn't have the opportunity until this year and it was everything I wanted it to be and more. I sang along to Ain't Going Down 'Til the Sun Comes Up and wiped a few tears away when he did Unanswered Prayers. 'Cause I am a cheeseball like that.  

2. Weddings are expensive.

I spent months pulling my hair out over planning our big day. Thousands spent on attire, invites, food, drinks, music. We didn't even pull out all the stops and boom! Enough money to put a downpayment on a house gone in a flash. The party was so fun and I am so happy to be married and it was a total honor to treat all of my most important people to a fabulous meal with great drinks and dancing, but holy crap. Next time, Josh and I will elope.

3. Say Maybe to the Dress.

Little did I know, I'd be dreaming of a parka just 6 months later.

Little did I know, I'd be dreaming of a parka just 6 months later.

Along those lines, I absolutely loved my wedding dress. It fit perfectly and was definitely my style. It should've been perfect because it was expensive. Not like $3,000 or $10,000 expensive (people pay this much! All the time! I know!!!), but still, a lot of money.

Fast-forward to last week when I was shopping for a new parka to replace the one I've had for 10 years. I tried on one that fit perfectly. It was both warm, down AND flattering. And then I looked at the price tag: $100 less than my wedding dress. My initial thought was, "Are you effing serious? Who spends this much on a coat?!" But then I realized I wore my dress once, and would've worn this coat every day of every winter for at least the next ten years. It gave me pause.

It's easy for me to say buying a wedding dress with four digits in the price tag was maybe a mistake after I got to enjoy the crap out of it, but next time Josh and I get married, I might just Rent the Runway. 

4. Sometimes quitting is the best thing you could ever do.

I started working for myself and I am so happy. More about that here. 

5. I don't really like concerts and that's okay. 

2014 marked the first year I started really saying no to concerts. I LOVE, ADORE and LIVE FOR music. I just don't like it in a live environment unless I'm enraptured in the experience. See #1 on this list. My favorite place to listen to music is.... in my car. Or around a bonfire at my cabin. Other than that, I don't really enjoy standing in a hot, packed room of drunk people listening to 20 songs by a band I don't know that well.

I've always felt self-conscious about this because everyone seems to love seeing bands, but I just kinda don't. Unless I know every word of ever song. Then look out, I'm going to tear the roof off the sucker.  

6. Short hair means bad bed head.

Good morning!

Good morning!

Enough said. 

7. Being married is pretty great.

I was always afraid I'd feel unsettled or claustrophobic in marriage. I don't. It's awesome. I've loved combining forces with Josh. We're a great team and I look forward spending to every day with him. 

8. Never take anyone or anything for granted.

Speaking of marriage and family and love and relationships, this story put everything in perspective. Nothing is forever, so make it count today. 

9. People are big dumb idiots.

I got mugged. People said I should start carrying a gun. I got rid of most of my clothes. People said that was stupid. My husband and I did pre-marital counseling. People said our marriage must be doomed from the get-go. I stopped listening to people because people are big, dumb idiots. 

10. Driving a diesel = great gas mileage*!

Me and my whip. 

Me and my whip. 

I bought this car all by myself earlier this year, and was thrilled to own this diesel-running, grocery-getting machine. 500 miles to a tank! *It also means it can be really frustrating to find a gas station.

11. That new father John Misty song, while poignant, is kind of obnoxious.

Is it just me, or is he just so... pompous? I understand the message. I like the message. I think it's an important message. But come on, stop being so smug about it. 

12. I guess I do like Taylor Swift!

Who knew! And since we're on the topic of music...

13. I Love Caroline Smith. 

I just want her to follow me around, singing. That is, when I'm not listening to Garth Brooks or Taylor Swift in my car. Listen to her tunes here

14. I don’t like running and that is okay.

Running is great! Just not for me, and I am cool with that.

15. I like working by myself.

As long as I get some social interaction, I am really great at working all by myself every day. I'm more focused. I'm more productive. There are less noises to throw me into a complete downward spiral, which I've realized was indeed very debilitating in my former office setting. I'm rocking this one-woman company thing. 

16. Less is more.

As I look around my house, I am still horrified at how much crap we have. But I have recently reduced the amount of clothing I have in my closet, the amount of hair products I own, the amount of books and DVDs. I've discovered the less I have, the more organized and happy I feel. Look for more minimalism posts in 2015. 

17. I love writing.

I practically leap out of bed every morning to start. I think that probably means I love it. 

18. Eating well makes a huge difference.

I used to constantly complain about feeling bloated, sluggish, sick, sad and uncomfortable after eating. Then I started eating a mostly Paleo (and even did the Whole30 earlier this year). Guess what? I rarely feel any of those things anymore. I guess what they say is true: food is medicine. 

19. Putting yourself first doesn’t mean you’re selfish.

I used to go to things I didn't want to go to in an attempt to not hurt someone's feelings. I'd say yes to a coffee meeting that was extremely inconvenient. I'd schedule things during the time I'd planned on working out or writing because it made things easy for someone else.

It made me miserable. So I stopped doing that.

Why show up when you don't want to be somewhere? Why go to a party when you're not bringing the even half-best version of yourself? That's not good for anyone.

20. I've met some cool people in virtual life.

Honestly, I didn't even read a lot of blogs until I started writing Hey Eleanor. In the past year and a half, I've met so many great writers, entrepreneurs, people-- many of which I only know through the Internet. I'm talking about people like you, Melicious!

21. When you’re happier the people around you are happier.

I noticed this last week and it's kind of a game changer. See item #10 here

22. Small things can make a huge difference in your life.

For example, heated seats and remote car starter. I am so, so, so lucky to have those available to me in Minnesota and am thankful every time I venture out my front door and into a already warm car. 

23. I don’t like chicken liver.

I keep trying, but 9 out of 10 times, I'm like, "blech!"

24. Apparently, blogging is a profession.

People make actual dollars at this! I know! It's crazy, because it's so fun! For the record, I think I've made $200 this year. But some people make a serious living at it. Maybe this will be me next year. 

25. Ankle boots are in.

I love them! And I am still obsessed with these ones

26. Maybe babies aren’t so bad after all.

I'm no spring chicken, and Josh and I plan on having kids... eventually. Not just yet, mom and dad. I've never been one of those people who likes to hold babies or play with little kids or whatever. But I've met a few this year that are actually pretty great! So hopefully when we have them, biology will kick in and we'll rock it. Fingers crossed. 

27. Beer makes me feel like shit. 

Therefore, I am mostly giving it up. But I still really love it. I'll be drinking it here and there, but definitely not everywhere. Because it's not really worth it. 

* * *

Here's to a healthy, happy and productive 2015. I'm expecting big things and can't wait to see what's in store. If next year is even half as good as this one, I'll be thrilled... but I'm hoping things will get even better. 

And if you had a shitty 2014, I hope things are on the up and up for you! Onward.