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10 Things I Learned in 2010

December 31, 2010
Wall-e celebrating New Year's

Happy New Year! Photo courtesy of Morgan

As the last day of 2010 is upon us, I’ve been reflecting on this past year. Admittedly, this year was not at all what I expected it would be. This was the year I was supposed to get married and begin my happily ever after. I look around my new apartment, at my friends (new and old), at this blog and at the plethora of experiences I’ve had this year, and I can’t help but feel amazed at where I am right now. I have been through a lot this year, and things are vastly different from what I could have imagined, but I’m no longer depressed or even pissed off about it. I’m really starting to believe (and not just tell myself) that everything happens for a reason.

And you know what? I’ve learned a lot this year. Here’s my (in no way comprehensive) list of 10 things I learned in 2010:

  1. People sometimes let you down. BUT, what I really learned is: More often than not, people exceed your expectations. There are some bad apples out there, but most people are good with good intentions. If you give them the chance, they will amaze you. You just have to believe in them.
  2. There are people who have never experienced the hot water running out in the shower. This was a shocker to me. About ¾ of the time I shower, I run out of hot water. But there are some people who have never in their life taken a shower long enough to run out of hot water. This concept is foreign to them. Craziness. Perhaps I should consider a shower shorter than 20 minutes, eh?
  3. Love doesn’t conquer all. And the definition of love is not “when you love someone, you can’t live without them.” Perhaps I’ve watched one too many romantic comedies, but I sincerely thought that if you loved someone enough, you’d get your happy ending with them, no matter what. Sometimes that isn’t true; sometimes love just isn’t enough. But that’s OK. And, you can love someone with everything you have, but still be able to live without them. There are times when you have to move on, no matter how much love there is.
  4. There is absolutely something to the law of attraction. I have seen it work this year, stating my intentions and watching them be realized. One example is my Freshly Pressed post. Just a few days before one of my September blog posts was Freshly Pressed, I shared with a room full of people how important my writing was to me, and how I wanted to build upon this passion that I had just rediscovered. I casually mentioned to friends that someday, I wanted to be Freshly Pressed. And then, after a few short months blogging, it happened. Not only was it fun and exciting, it was like a confirmation that I was on the right track. Oh, and I definitely believe in signs and need to remember the swans.
  5. Even if a gas station is closed, you usually can still use the gas pump and buy gas with a credit/debit card. Um, I actually just learned this one the other night. Who knew? Oh, and this is an equally random fact so I’m going to give you a two for one here, but did you know that restaurants have to have companies pick up their leftover grease? Obviously, restaurants go through a lot of grease, but then they have to find a way to get rid of it. They sell the grease and it’s used for tons of different things, including fuel and makeup. For the record, I learned probably more than I need to know about the restaurant industry from Chef this year.
  6. How to plan a wedding. And subsequently, how to cancel a wedding. Planning my wedding helped me figure out what I want (and don’t want) out of a wedding, but more importantly, out of a marriage. And cancelling the wedding taught me a lot about letting go of material things I loved. Letting go of my engagement ring, my dress, the whole perfect day I’d built up in my mind was one of the hardest things I’ve ever had to do. But the next time I go down that path again (down that aisle again, haha), I’m going to be so much better prepared. Even if I’m not the woman I used to be.
  7. Women who chase men only catch the slow ones. Crystal from Crystal Spins said this to me one (or more) times, and it has really stuck with me. Should I call him after I gave him my number and he didn’t call me like he said he would? Um, no. Should I pursue him all the time? Definitely not. Men that are worth it will put in the effort to show me they are interested. The man with whom I will ultimately want to end up will hold their own in our relationship. It’s that simple.
  8. You teach people how to treat you. If you accept behavior that you believe is unacceptable, you are giving someone permission to treat you that way. If you let deal breakers slide, they are no longer deal breakers (and you can’t call them that). Teach people that you will only accept to be treated well, and that’s what you’ll get. And don’t forget the Maya Angelou quote, “The first time someone shows you who they are, believe them.”
  9. Being single doesn’t suck. Okay, there are times it sucks (especially when it seems there is a Good Men Shortage). But there are some really great things about being single that I’ve had the chance to experience this year. And I’m still discovering new things to love about being single.
  10. The relationship you have with yourself is the hardest one to get right. Maybe it’s just me, but it’s harder for me to love myself than it is to love someone else. It’s easier for me to tear myself down than it is to treat myself well and build myself up. Romantic love is not the thing on which I want to focus and master. Developing and sustaining a love for myself is. And that’s a huge priority for me in 2011.

What did you learn in 2010? Is there anything you are hoping to learn in 2011? Have you made any New Year’s resolutions beyond the standard lose weight/be healthier/get rich? I’d love to hear them!

Happy New Year! I wish each of you nothing but the best for 2011. It’s going to be a great year!

44 Comments leave one →
  1. December 31, 2010 10:05 am

    Great list – I’m sad to say that items 3 and 8 would be on my list too I think, but hopefully items 1 and 9 as well.

    My resolutions might be non-standard – I want to gain weight (I lost a load of muscle weight in hospital and I want it back, dammit!) and not think much about money! But being healthy and happy sounds great too. Happy New Year!

    • January 2, 2011 2:01 am

      Ha, I love that you want to gain weight. Everyone else in America is jealous of you :). Healthy/happy – great New Year’s resolution. Happy New Year to you! I see big things for you next year!

  2. Deb permalink
    December 31, 2010 10:08 am

    i cant believe you didn’t know about the grease…lol what do you think we did with it? Pour it down the drain? I love you, i love who you are, and where you been and where you are going. I am so proud of you!

    • January 2, 2011 2:02 am

      LOL, Deb. How would I have known unless someone in the restaurant industry told me? I guess I just never even thought about what you did with all the grease. Gross!!
      I love you too… thank you so much for everything this year! Happy 2011!

  3. December 31, 2010 11:43 am

    Hooray! I made a top ten list this year! That’s a first for me. And I feel like I should say congratulations for everything you’ve learned — I know it’s far more than just the things on this list. Also, 7 and 8 are kind of the same thing.




    • January 2, 2011 2:03 am


      Haha, no problem. You are definitely Top-10-List-Worthy! And I totally see what you mean about 7 and 8. They do go hand in hand.

      Happy New Year to you! I’ve appreciated your support this year – you rock!

  4. December 31, 2010 12:16 pm

    Ends of years and Top 10 lists go hand in hand. I’d say you learned some very important lessons (and I don’t mean the ones concerning grease and gas stations) in 2010. Hope you have a Happy New Year, Catherine!

    • January 2, 2011 2:04 am

      Mark, I love end of year lists and top 10 lists. They are my favorite thing to read, so it was fun to write one myself! Happy New Year!

  5. December 31, 2010 1:34 pm

    I love love love 7. SOOOOO true!!! I say this all the time. Great post! loved it.

    • January 2, 2011 2:05 am

      Darcy, Yup #7 was actually a huge revelation for me. Important lesson to learn this year! Happy New Year!

    • January 6, 2011 1:28 pm

      Hooray! I’m a genius! Thanks, Darcy.

  6. mom permalink
    December 31, 2010 2:16 pm

    Great post!! We are all so very proud of you. Not so sure on the Gas station #5 are they really all open all night? I dont get out much (lol) We have a very interesting 2011 ahead mom loves you Happy New Year!!!!

    • January 2, 2011 2:06 am

      You can’t fight me on my life lessons from this year :). My friend Lindsay told me about #5. I believe her, and since she told me, it seems pretty true!!
      Love you, Happy New Year!!

  7. December 31, 2010 3:55 pm

    I had to learn #3 the hard way over the past several months. Thank you for blogging–you’re inspiring 🙂 I wish you tons of love and joy for 2011!

    • January 2, 2011 2:07 am

      Jaclyn, #3 is one of the hardest ones to learn, for me anyway. It’s so hard to let go. I really appreciate your kind words – thanks for reading and commenting! Happy 2011!

  8. KittyKate19 permalink
    December 31, 2010 4:32 pm

    Great post! I think #1 is truly one of the best lessons that life teaches us. Trust yourself – you look like you are on a great path!

    • January 2, 2011 2:08 am

      Thanks for reading and commenting. Happy New Year! It’s going to be a good one 🙂

  9. Christine permalink
    December 31, 2010 5:06 pm

    I love this post. I have enjoyed reading your blog this year (I found you through weddingbee) and look forward to all the things you share in the coming year. After having been through a failed marriage and now looking ahead to a wedding to someone else, numbers 3,8 and 10 really resonated with me. Happy New Year!

    • January 2, 2011 2:09 am


      Thanks for reading and commenting. I’m so glad you found the blog! Good luck with your wedding – I wish you a very happy wedding and marriage. Happy New Year!

  10. December 31, 2010 8:56 pm

    Loved reading this. You said it all perfectly, and so many of these thoughts would be my own. Wishing you the best of 2011!!!

    • January 2, 2011 2:10 am

      SimplyStac: Thanks for your comment and kind words! Happy New Year to you!

  11. Grey Goose, Dirty permalink
    December 31, 2010 9:20 pm

    Happy New Year to you! I love your list and think that 7 and 10 are my 2 favorites. So very true

    Here’s hoping that your best day of 2010 is your worst day of 2011! You’re terrific!

    • January 2, 2011 2:11 am

      Grey Goose: Happy New Year, thanks! “Here’s hoping that your best day of 2010 is your worst day of 2011” — what a great quote! Sounds like a toast :).
      Thanks for reading and commenting!

  12. January 1, 2011 12:59 am

    I am just going to say (again) that I appreciate everything that you write. You are making my life easier. Thanks.

    • January 2, 2011 2:11 am

      TL: Thank you so much. I can’t tell you how much you saying that means to me. Happy New Year 🙂

  13. January 1, 2011 7:55 am

    Fantastic list, really wonderful that you are able to share these things here. I especially love your reflections on love and letting go. And number 10 is worthy of becoming a post-it on my mirror!
    Happy new year, all the best!

    • January 2, 2011 2:12 am

      Larissa: Hmmm. post it note on a mirror! What a great way to remind yourself of important things! I may have to do that :). #10 is probably the most important of this list. Happy New Year, thanks for reading (and for writing – I love your blog)!

  14. eternallyemo permalink
    January 1, 2011 4:01 pm

    I don’t know how many male readers you have, but I really enjoy your blog. This is a great list and I’m surprised at how much of what you write applies to my own experiences. But… 20 minute showers?!? ;-D

    Despite all that you’ve gone through this year your outlook on everything is very refreshing. I hope that this time next year you’re reflecting on much more positive memories!

    As for me, I did the whole “lose weight/get in shape” resolution in ’10. This year it’s all about writing a novel and … #s 3, 9, and 10 on your list 🙂

    • January 2, 2011 2:15 am

      Eternallyemo: I appreciate having a male reader in you – my audience is likely mostly women :). I’m glad you enjoy the blog – I like yours too! And what, are you shocked by my 20 minute showers? I’m to blame for all the water shortages around the world, I think!!

      Good luck with the novel and 3, 9 and 10. I look forward to following your journey. Happy New Year!

  15. January 1, 2011 5:31 pm

    I laughed at #2 and smiled at #4 that brought me to your blog.

    For #10, I wish you patience and kindness as you build this relationship. Offer yourself as much of both these as you would to a stranger. Think about it.

    • January 2, 2011 2:17 am

      Workingtechmom: Thanks for the well wishes and all your support and advice. #10 certainly will take patience and kindness, you are right. But it’s worth the time, I think. Happy New Year!

  16. January 2, 2011 5:38 pm

    Wow, #3 really hit home for me. More than I’d like to admit…

    • January 4, 2011 5:11 pm

      Katie, I know what you mean. #3 is a hard one… I wish I didn’t have to learn that this year, but I guess “it is what it is.” I’m sending positive vibes your way 🙂

  17. January 3, 2011 7:48 am

    #7 is good! And I had no clue about the gas station thing. Thanks!

    • January 4, 2011 5:12 pm

      Thoughtsappear: Me either! It’s a good thing to know as you need gas late at night 🙂

  18. January 3, 2011 8:43 am

    Catherine, what fantastic lessons to have learnt. I’m very proud of you! I learnt a lot this year too: like you, #8- that you let people treat you well/ badly, that I shouldn’t be scared to say no just in case people don’t like you for it, and that we’re stronger than we think…

    • January 4, 2011 5:14 pm

      Thanks so much for your comment. I almost added to this list that I’m stronger than I ever imagined, but for some reason I thought better of it. It seemed too boastful. But I don’t mean it that way… I really didn’t think I was capable (emotionally) of what I handled this year. So I’m a little proud, and surprised.
      Now that you shouldn’t be scared to say no… That’s a lesson I’m going to have to learn in 2011 🙂

  19. January 8, 2011 7:20 pm

    #9 and #10 are awesome.
    Being single does have its moments but the one thing I love is everything is on my terms. But sometimes that totally does suck. LOL.

    The relationship with myself is pretty hard. I go back and forth too.

    Awesome list!

    • January 10, 2011 9:31 pm

      Thanks, Melanie! Agreed on the “everything is on my terms.” LOVE that. Nothing like controlling your own life and destiny – sometimes it sucks cause there is no one to blame (haha!) but for the most part, it rocks! Good luck working on the relationship with yourself… it’s a constant struggle for me, but it’s worth the work, I think! Happy 2011!

  20. January 17, 2011 9:39 pm

    Hi Catherine,
    I came across your blog today while developing my “break-up treament plan.” Skimming through your posts has given me renewed hope that I am not the only person dealing with the hurts of losing a love (I learned #3 the hard way) but because of it I have learned so much about myself (I’m definitely going to be working on #8,#9, and #10 this year). You have a new regular reader in me; I am excited to share your journey and make it a part of mine.

    Thanks so much,

    P.S. You are a wonderful writer. I am an aspiring writer myself, and can tell you are destined for really great things. 🙂

    • January 17, 2011 10:33 pm

      Thanks so much for your comment and kind words. Definitely means a lot to me. Good luck with your “break-up treatment plan”! I know it’s hard… especially at the beginning. It will get better! Have you checked out “It’s Called a Breakup Because It’s Broken”? Great book for surviving a tough breakup. I really appreciate your reading, and am sending positive thoughts your way! And good luck with your writing!


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