What I learned in 2014

What I learned in 2014

Like everyone, I use New Years as a point to start my goals for the upcoming calendar year.  Notice I said goals and not resolutions, I make a clear distinction between the two as goals have dates and smaller steps attached to them whereas resolutions have often struck me as dreams or wishes.  I find more value in goals because they not only provide direction but they also dictate action, like a road map.  I’d rather have a road map to my goals then just a wish of what I’d like to do, wouldn’t you agree?

While I wish I was out celebrating the New Year with my friends tonight, I’ll be in bed as I’ve been grounded with a monster head cold for the past week.  I’m going to use this time to relax and reflect on all the lessons 2014 has taught me before thinking about where I want to go in 2015. Here’s what I learned this past year and in some cases, a little background about how I reached these conclusions:

January – Don’t let the action, or inaction, of others dictate your momentum

You are the only person who is ultimately responsible for who you become or what you do.  Don’t ever wait and see what the next guy wants to do before you take action.

February – Where there’s a will, there is most certainly a way

The first weekend in February I was supposed to go to Miami for a business conference.  The day of my flight, a snow storm hit NJ and my trip was in doubt.  I acted the night before and changed flights to one a little later in the morning.  My early flight got cancelled but because I acted quickly and changed flights, I was ok.  The following weekend was Valentines Day.  I really didn’t want to go out as I’ve felt many restaurants use it as an excuse to gouge customers, my girlfriend at the time was quite insistent we go out.  I made a reservation at a reasonably priced restaurant but once again, snow hit the area and made commuting tough during the day. I called the establishment later in the day and was please to hear they were still open.  Needless to say I picked up my girlfriend and we braved the icy roads to enjoy a great evening together.  Because many people cancelled their reservations, are meal was discounted.  A double win in my book 🙂

March – Never trust the word of any person or organization that does not value you

April – You will flourish when toxic people are removed from your life

I was leaving a ceremony at my Elks Lodge- I was running late for dinner so I was in a bit of a rush.  When I went out to my car I heard a familiar voice and saw a former girlfriend.  I went over and said hello and she hid behind her sister, I’m going to repeat that- a 35 year old woman hid behind her 40-ish year old sister. In addition, one of her low life, trashy friends who is equally toxic attempted to start a fist fight with me.  I ignored him, said, “nice to see you” and left.  I had considered this woman the love of my life until it was apparent she was unfaithful.  At the time it hurt like hell but when her negative, abusive, energy was gone I flourished and became a better me.  She hid behind her sister for two reasons- 1) she had gained wait and was embarrassed 2)  guilt- I am the one that got away and I couldn’t be happier about it.   I’m not a religious person but I thank God everyday for inspiring me and leading me in the right direction.  This was his way of saying, ” see you don’t need that.”

MayThose who really care about you will stick by your side and help you achieve your goals

June – Always go with your gut instinct

July – If it looks like a duck…

August – When ever you think you’re right about something, ask your friends

September – There really is never a perfect time to deliver bad news

This one goes for the past 5 months, that’s right the entire summer.  In short, I said goodbye to a friend because she lied to me.  I knew she was lying but gave her multiple weeks and ways to come clean until it was abundantly clear she had no or little regard for me, my friends, or my family.   I asked others about their opinion and tried to find the best way to break it to her but it didn’t come until the ultimate snub.  Unfortunately I had to do it by text- something I regretted until she proved me right, a few short weeks later.

October –  Your friends and family will always be there for you

I was afraid this breakup would hit me as hard as my last but it didn’t.  I credit this to a number of factors, first being I felt I had waited a long time before making this decision and gave the other person every opportunity to come clean and end the relationship amicably. I also did not allow the situation to get as out of hand as my last relationship.  Lastly my friends and family were ready to listen to me and help me with open arms, ears, and hearts.  If anything they questioned why I didn’t do it sooner.

I also was able to practice this lesson by running a fundraiser for a friend who lost her home to a fire.  I able to raise a good amount of money for her by simply sharing information and asking for help from my friends, family, and associates.

November – Never feel bad about making a good but tough decision

In the end it worked out for my ex-girlfriend and made me feel generous about how I ended things.  She proved me right all along.  This made me feel vindicated and free. I wish her the best of luck but wished she was just honest about it.  In the end you can’t control how another person behaves but you can learn how to avoid treating others.

December – Make the days count

As 2014 comes to a close I’m reminded how quickly time goes on.  You have a limited time on Earth to make the kind of life you want and deserve.  It doesn’t happen unless you make it happen.  You can have the best and brightest ideas in the world but if you do nothing with them than nothing will happen.  I’m ending this post with a video from one of my favorite bands, The Bouncing Souls.  This song perfectly encompasses my thoughts on this lesson.  Look back to this blog soon to see my 2015 goals, until then – Happy New Year! If you’re drinking tonight, please for the love of God don’t drive.

Philip A. Maenza aka “Philtastic Phil” is an internet entrepreneur and consumer behavior professional whose interests include art, film, music, stand up comedy, fitness, and comic books. Phil is also a dedicated community volunteer and always open to connecting with like minded optimists.   Instead of champagne this New Year’s Eve he’ll be toasting with a hot toddy and plenty of vitamin C.

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