2012 will NOT make my top ten. It was a less than stellar year for me personally. I know for some people, like that dancing Korean fella on YouTube or the U.S. Olympic Women’s gymnastic team, it was a great year. However, in the world of Will, let’s just say I’m not so much a fan the 2012.
Here are some things that I learned from 2012:
5. Mayans are BIG FAT LIARS!!! – Why would you listen to a culture that no longer exists!! If they were so awesome with their predictive calendar then why didn’t the March 21st, 1521 calendar read -“Karl’s birthday, dentist appt., Montejo slaughters our village.”
Lesson learned: Don’t listen to a culture that died out over 400 years ago and didn’t have wifi.
4. Lance Armstrong is a BIG FAT LIAR – Maybe bigger than the Mayans. Lance has always been a personal hero of mine because of the hope he gave Lynn when she had cancer. Now that hope for many of us has been tarnished. I can’t believe how wrong I was about the guy. I was REALLY wrong.
Lesson learned: My father was my hero. My wife is my hero. My brother is my hero. My brother-in-law is my hero. Everyone else will have to stand the test of time like they have.
3. Suffering = Happiness – Everyone can be happy when things are going their way. I believe how happy you are in life depends on how happy you can be when you suffer. This past year I suffered a lot due to my own fault and in turn made those around me unhappy. Making those around you unhappy because you are unhappy is a very selfish act. Dennis Prager, the Jewish rabbi and author, writes – Acting happy is a moral obligation. We owe it to everyone in our lives — our spouses, our children, our friends, our co-workers — to act happy. Acting unhappy on a regular basis is an act of selfishness that can devastate one’s children, ruin a marriage and end friendships.
I know people who will make your life miserable if Starbucks didn’t have the soy latte they want that morning. I also know people who have terrible things going on in their lives like divorce, cancer and death and still have a smile on their face and joy in their heart.
Lesson Learned: This is what I tell my students so I really should take my own advice – How happy you are in life depends on not how glad you are in the good times but how glad you are in the bad times. Embracing the suffering as a path to happiness is something I’m going to need to work on in 2013.
2. Life in the Slow Lane – My dad, who I am a lot like in more ways than one, had one speed – all out. He worked fast, fished fast, chopped wood fast and ate his bowl of ice cream fast. That’s not working that great for me. I’ve found that if I slow down when I do things, I actually enjoy them more. The commute to work is more fun because I get to listen to more podcasts and music and talk with my carpool-mate, Kelsey. Dinners are more enjoyable (and I eat less) when I slow down and talk to people. Reading a book is pure ecstasy. My lesson plans are better and my teaching is better when I slow it down. I make less mistakes and the quality of my work goes up when I take my time. I honestly don’t know why I’ve always been in such a hurry.
Lesson Learned: Mindfulness in the most mundane of daily tasks can bring great enjoyment and satisfaction.
1. Life Should Be Lived Fully Everyday – Superstorm Sandy, the Connecticut school shootings, the Colorado movie theater shootings have one thinking that life stinks. Well sometimes it does. However I also know how amazing life is. I know this because I have a wife, kids, friends, students and co-workers who care. It’s easy to forget when all we hear about are how horrible our society is.
So here’s a neat little story- Sunday we were to meet friends at Starbucks in Westchester to go on a geoaching adventure together. I wasn’t really into it but I knew I needed to get out and move around. As I was getting up a very tall African-American gentleman about my age called out to me about my VCU Rams hoodie I was wearing. He said I had good taste and he too was a Ram. We talked a bit about how great the team was and how proud we were of the university. He then told me that he played on the Rams basketball team in the mid-80’s. I asked him his name and he said, “Calvin Duncan.” I remembered him and how great a player he was but just barely.
We shook hands and both said how great it was to meet each other. He had an amazing way about him; so gentle, kind with the warmest smile. It was like someone had flipped a switch in me and for some reason. I was energized and grateful to be having fun with friends. It was almost like God had sent someone to give me a nudge out of the gloomy rut I was in. I could have wasted a whole day with great friends and my wife by being a morose doo-doo head.
When I got home I googled Calvin to jog my memory about his basketball career. It turns out that Calvin gave up basketball after a while to serve the Lord. He is now the pastor at a large church here in Richmond.
Lesson Learned: Don’t be a doo-doo head
Happy New Year!!!