A year that’s new (3) : Thoughts, Moments, Lessons, Hopes


A year is a collection of moments — both good and not-so-good — and, hopefully, a collection of lessons. I think it’s when you stop to reflect on them, or even jot them down, when you best realize all that you’ve gained in a short period of time. Here are some of the lessons 2011 taught me – perhaps not ground-breaking ones, but simple realizations I’ll carry with me to the new year.

  • I am stronger than I think (and, guaranteed, you are too)
  • My mom is a rock. A solid, unfaltering rock of support. Both of my parents are.
  • I have to be true to myself – that way, I’ll regret less.
  • It may feel that our PhD-pursuit is our life but, the truth is, there’s a whole other life surrounding that life, and this other life also needs time and attention.
  • Spending so much time with my camera has made me realize how much looking through the viewfinder has changed the way I view things.
  • At times, it’s been necessary to re-evaluate my expectations – of myself, of others, of events. It’s important to reflect on expectations and to keep them in check, to avoid burning out or being disappointed.
  • Distance helps. Taking a step away from a stressor often gave me a chance to recuperate and to get some perspective.
  • Time heals.
  • Everyone reacts differently and shows affection differently. I’ve learned that I can accept this, but within reasonable limits – e.g. until it starts to feel like being taken for granted.
  • When I speak my mind, I sleep better at night.
  • Sometimes it’s worth it to just take a leap – you never, ever know.
  • It’s a good idea to re-read emails before we send them and to do our best not to inadvertently assume, or accuse, or hurt with words.
  • I can give a talk at 9am without coffee in my system – who knew!
  • Although I’ve always been the youngest in my family and had never handled a baby until this year, it came naturally when my nephew was born – who knew!
  • Sometimes things can’t be saved and glued back together once they’ve been broken too many times, in the same places. Sometimes it’s just necessary to leave it alone and move on. This was a tough lesson for me to learn.
  • It’s important to give yourself enough time. Enough time to sleep, enough time to eat, enough time to do something you thought would take less time than it is taking. Enough time to play, enough time to heal, enough time for others.
  • It’s okay to doubt and to worry – but not to the point of ridiculousness! I’ve learned that there’s a pretty good chance that I know what I’m doing and that I could trust myself, and a pretty good chance that I am over-worrying.
  • I’ve learned that it’s always crucial to see the silver lining – or, if you can’t see it, ask friends or loved-ones to help you see it. I’ve learned to find comfort in that silver lining. I’ve also learned that there always is one.
  • I’ve realized I have to let go of what I cannot control, and accept the fact that I cannot control everything! This was also a tough lesson for me to learn.
  • I’ve learned (both in extremely painful moments and extremely beautiful ones) to expect the unexpected — anything can happen … within seconds.
  • I’ve seen first-hand that life is absolutely fragile. Here one minute, gone the next. For that reason, it’s so important to follow our dreams, to make amends, to love, to keep in touch with people we care for and to try not to take anyone’s presence in our lives for granted.
  • I can be myself. Those who care for me will appreciate this. As good old Dr. Seuss said, “Be who you are and say what you feel, because those who mind don’t matter and those who matter don’t mind”.
  • Everything ends – books, operas, the perfect meal, the best trip, our favorite season, the life of a pet or of a loved-one (and yes, eventually, our PhD!) – I am in the process of learning not to fear these endings and to enjoy things consciously, fully and completely, while they last.
  • We have much more than we lack.
  • We gain much more than we lose.
  • It could always be worse.
Those of you who helped me learn some of these lessons – you know who you are – thank you for our insightful conversations, your wisdom and your supportive hugs.

2 thoughts on “A year that’s new (3) : Thoughts, Moments, Lessons, Hopes

  1. By the way, I also reread my EM’s before they’re send out (better safe than sorry).
    And I like that saying by Dr.Seuss too.
    Furthermore,I enjoyed reading his funny, fast-paced rhyming bks. to my kids when they were much younger, ofcourse.

    Love, Aunt Genny


  2. E’ sempre un piacere leggere i tuoi pensieri e i tuoi sentimenti che trovo sempre molto profondi.
    Sei davvero speciale!
    Be who you are and say what you feel, because those who mind don’t matter and those who matter don’t mind”. I like this Dr. Seuss…!!!


Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s