Wednesday, January 1, 2014

13 Life Lessons from 2013

With over 1,000 friends on Facebook, I always have an enjoyable time browsing through my news feed.  One trend stood out yesterday: I was not the only one who had a rough 2013.  Some went as far as to say that it was the worst year ever.  While I will not deny that last year (and thank the Lord I can now refer to it as "last year") presented many challenges, looking at the big picture, it was actually a great year.

January 1st, 2013, I woke up with a strain of the flu that my vaccine wasn't prepared for and spent two weeks in a fetal position.  I was oblivious to the fact that this was setting the tone for the year.  Every month of the entire year, I had to deal with some sort of medical issue.  But, when I wasn't dealing with my health, I had some fun.  Actually, even when I was dealing with my health, I had some fun.  

If I presented myself as a glass half-empty kind of gal, I would have slapped myself with a "Hello, my name is Eeyore" name tag and have concluded that the year went to shit with the flu.  That's not how I roll, though.  With 31 years under my belt, I have learned a few things along the way that helped me tackle this year like a champ, or a She-Hulk, or whatever.  Point is, I made it through the year and can look back on it knowing I'm a pretty tough cookie.  And, I like cookies, so I'd much rather be a Cookie Monster than an Eeyore.  Unfortunately, I've been an eyesore Cookie Monster this year, but that brings me right into . . .

13 Life Lessons from 2013

#1)  You will never regret the shower you force yourself to take before you go into the ER!

In the unthinkable event that the doctor utters those most dreaded words I'm going to admit you, odds are -- you're pretty sick.  When I was first admitted, for the first 24 hours I wasn't allowed to get up without assistance.  One of my CNAs was a very lovely young man, but not someone I would have wanted giving me a shower.  If you can, give yourself a hose-down before you go seek medical treatment.

#2)  Humility should be embraced.  If you don't embrace it, laugh at yourself, and profess to the entire world that you wear granny panties, there's no way you'll make it through life.      

That one doesn't need any explanation.  And, yes, I wear granny panties, but I prefer to call them either granny undies or granny grundies because "panties" is my third least favorite word in the world.

#3)  Put it all out there on Facebook.  Just don't put it ALL out there on Facebook.  

There are certainly things I like to keep private, so I put those things on my blog because I know no one reads it.  The rest goes on Facebook.  Completely unfiltered.  Last year, I remember posting a Facebook status about not receiving comments on things.  You see, some folks become very perturbed when their photos and status updates do not receive comments.  I am not this way.  Over the course of my Facebook addiction, I have realized that the statuses and photos I EXPECT to be a huge Facebook sensation are often completely ignored, while stupid things like, ugh, I need a nap! tend to flood my notifications.  That said, whenever something is neglected on Facebook, I have decided that, yep, I have left them speechless.  Also, when you put everything on Facebook, it provides talking points for your friends and family and opens up discussions.  When you put it all out there, it creates fewer questions when you see people in person.  Sometimes.  Well, like once it did.

I should clarify that when I say to Put it all out there on Facebook, I don't mean your lame ass drama or what you had for dinner.  Unless for dinner you won a corn dog eating contest, that is.  Or, your stove was broke, so you ate your Ramen noodles right out of the package.  You can "put it all out there" without being tacky, making yourself look like an ass - unless that's what you're going for, or just being stupid.

#4)  NEVER pass up an opportunity to spend time with a child.  Unless you don't like kids and won't have a positive interaction with them, or you are a pedophile.  Then, by all means, stay away from children.    

"A child laughs and average of 300 times each day.  An average adult: 17 times."

If anyone has kept count of how many times I've said, "Uhh, I feel so elderly" within the last year, I would like to know.  I bet it's about equivalent to the number of needles I've had in me (189, but who's counting?).  Spending time with children keeps me young at heart, and lately, I'll take whatever I can get to feel young.  Some of the best laughs I had last year have come from the funny things they say.  I can honestly say that I am probably not an "average" adult because I laugh a lot.  Even when I was in the hospital, I found things to laugh at.  But I still need to laugh more, so that's why I hang out with children.

#5)  Hug People!  Just ask for permission if you don't know them.

I used to hate hugging.  I thought it was stupid.  I am pretty sure that after I got out of the hospital the first time, I wanted to hug everyone I saw.  It was actually kind of weird.  As I learned more about what I was hospitalized with, I realized how serious it was.  And scary.  So, I gave a lot of hugs after that.  And, usually, as I was hugging people I would say, "I ALMOST DIED!!!"  (Even though, no, I didn't almost die.  But I could have.  That was the point there.)  So, go hug someone.

#6)  When you start writing a book and that's all you do for months, but then wake up on your deathbed and decide to stop working on your book, you should start back up again at some point, but be flexible with the completion date and avoid run-on sentences in the book.  Or not.  It's my book and I'll do what I want.  

The book is going to come back out of hibernation.  And, boy, have I lived some stories that will add quite a few chapters.


I'm still working on this, especially when it comes to my healthcare that I have been receiving.  I'll get there.  Eventually.

#8)  I have the patience of a saint and an impressive bladder size.    
These are not really life lessons.  These are things I've been told this year.  The lesson in this is -- patience is something people respect in a person.  It has been one great trait to have at work.  And, the lesson in having an impressive bladder size... well, enjoy it because it is not going to be that way forever.  And, it's a great conversation starter.  "My bladder is ginormous" never lets me down in a bar.  And I've been in three bars this year.    

#9)  Test drive a car before you buy it.  

Apparently, this is common sense to some people.  But not everyone.  I do like my car.  I love the gas mileage it gets.  I like the fact that I can see over the dashboard without a problem.  The CD player is a piece of junk, though.  BUT, it does have the AUX input for my phone, so I can FF through all 635 songs all the way to work and back.  It doesn't handle the greatest in this winter weather, though.  It has already needed a new battery.  I'm going to have to replace the brakes pretty soon.  I'm willing to bet it needs new tires.  I thought the guys at the dealership treated me pretty poorly.  That was until I met three ER doctors, two internal medicine doctors, and an endocrinologist.  The dealership dudes treated me like a princess.  

#10)  You are NEVER too sick to play spider solitaire.  Or, Ninja Kid Run, but I didn't just admit that I play that.  Okay, yes I do.  And I'm NEVER too sick to play it. 

True story.

#11)  Death and dying really isn't all that scary.  It's all that unfinished business that is the scary part.     

So, I finished Breaking Bad as fast as I could.  It was kind of a race to see who would live longer: Me or Mr. White.  The more loved ones I see go before me, the more I realize how scary death isn't.  There have been plenty of opportunities for me this year to think about passing on.  As much as I'd hate to die before the age of 137, I have accepted that it could happen.  There were days last year when I probably would not have minded that big white light shining down, Grandma Jean, Grandma Judy, and Grandpa Tom coming down to introduce me to John Denver and Patsy Cline, but that obviously didn't happen.  (Well, it did, but I woke up with IV bag number 6 rocking steady.)  And that's good it was just a dream because I feel like I still have some things I'd like to accomplish.  BUT, if it happens, it happens.  Shannon and Mark know I don't want a big fancy funeral and I'm okay with a cardboard casket.  Let the kids color it with Sharpies and decorate it with stickers, then take them to Disneyland with my life insurance money.  Since I seem to be on the upswing and have some time and engery, perhaps I should design the t-shirts I would like them to wear to Disney?

#12)  Limit the diet Coke and Kit Kats.   

Yes, I am down 30 or 40 pounds from a year ago at this time, but I am working on that.  Some muscle building needs to happen this year and it is going to suck.  I get sore from walking around at work and I've learned to accept body aches as a new standard of living.  Hopefully getting my vitamin D levels back to normal will help that, but I do realize I need to cut back on the diet Coke.  I've switched to the small cans and have cut down considerably since my first hospitalization, but it really does help with my chronic fatigue I have going on.  Still, I know an addiction when I see one, so I'm going to be replacing some of my diet Coke with cigarettes and beer.

Just kidding.  About the cigarettes.

#13)  Melissa does not need to visit Moka every morning on the way to work.  

That's all I want to say about that.  It's still a bit of a sensitive subject.

Happy New Year!!!  
May 2014 be filled with many more lessons, fewer hospital bills, acceptable Vitamin D levels, increased muscle mass, some more music gigs, and ... if those children I hang out with have their way... a lot of dating!  (I'm not quite sold on that last one, but you gotta make the children happy!)  

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