Life is about learning and, I also believe, in sharing one’s learnings. This list started as part of an e-mail to a friend and grew from there. When it was finished her and I thought it was a good alternative to the many new year, new you, new success e-mails and posts currently out there. So here are ten of the things I learned last year.

1. I learned this year that being responsible means putting yourself first if putting another first causes you harm. A hard lesson for any caring individual, much less a mother, wife, daughter, sister and friend.

2. I’ve learned that toxic people and toxic situations must always be contained if they cannot be eliminated. This means making sure that extra care is taken before and after these encounters. The same holds true for all stressful situations.

3. I’ve learned there is a time that stopping our children from making mistakes is more costly to your relationship with them than letting s**t happen. It doesn’t make it any easier to watch.

4. I’ve learned that atypical is legitimate and all the more reason to speak up or yell for what you need. Atypical can be quickly discounted by others as it isn’t readily understood. This in no way changes its impact on your life or the need for it to be addressed.

5. I’ve learned that the health care system though functioning really only works well for those who are healthy.

6. I’ve learned it’s never too late to make new best friends and that these friends can help you more than you could possibly imagine laugh and get through difficult times.

7. I’ve learned that giving 150% in any relationship is not enough if the other person fails to see the value of what you are contributing.

8. I’ve learned you can lose all the things you take for granted, and those you believe define you and still get up in the morning and start again. Something the older generation has known for years.

9. I’ve learned that if someone really loves you they’re more worried about you being able to re-build than in what you’ve lost.

10. I’ve learned that it easier to be afraid in our culture than it is to love and that the cost of choosing to be afraid will destroy your health, your peace of mind and your joie de vivre. It’s easier but it ain’t worth it.

Wishing everyone courage, good health and love for the coming year.