9 Things I Learned in November

9thingsIlearnedinnov It hasn't been that long since I started to stop at the end of each month, thinking through the things I've learned within it. For some reason, this makes the months longer. November, for example: I feel like I could write a book about November.

As all the thankfulness and cold weather and joy and sadness of this month swirled around me (and occasionally crept inside me) I began to realize that one of the greatest things I've learned through this exercise is that I am always learning (and that learning is always needed).

Here are a few of the things I learned in November...

1. Online friends are real friends.

I should preface this by saying that I knew this. But I learned it afresh this month. Whether on Twitter, Facebook, email or Skype, these women and men provide a support system unlike any I've ever known. I can't even begin to tell you all of the ways that they have enriched my life. Coming from a season of real difficulty this summer, I've needed that more than ever.

2. Music matters.

I knew this, too, but somewhere along the line I forgot how a song can take me back somewhere long forgotten, bring a smile to my face, or create a new memory. I switched computers recently and have found myself without my music for a while. Slowly, I've been missing having friendly songs at my fingertips, digging through my hard drive to find the files.

Also, I've been embracing Pandora and the radio and discovering new music (and making new memories with it). The mixture of old and new, like all of the other parts of my life, is bittersweet and beautiful.

3. Working as part of a team is lovely: with the right team.

4. I have used books (among other things) as unhealthy coping mechanisms.

5. Anxiety is not part of my personality.

I've spent a great portion of my life thinking that being anxious was "just part of me." I wanted to be one of those people who didn't stress and worry and try to constantly control, but I figured that wasn't part of my personality.

I do tend to make these pronouncements over myself.

As God does, often, in these rocks and hard places I've set up for myself, He came in and said: "Is there a reason you're doing this the hard way?"

6. I went to college with Wesley Hill's brother. This blew my mind.

7. When I'm really myself, no one dies. (At least not so far).

8. I really do want a relationship. 

I spent the greater part of this year getting used to the idea that I wouldn't get married. Whenever I thought about wanting a romantic relationship, I dismissed the thought. I embraced not worrying about being always on the lookout, always on, always available.

This was good.

But somewhere in the not worrying, I forgot that I could still hope. That I could leave the door open, that I didn't have to slam and bolt it.

It's hard to leave doors open, which is, I guess, another thing I learned in November.

9. Living in the moment is liberating.

I've never lived in the moment, not really. I'm a writer, a photographer, slightly more I than E on the introvert/extrovert scale. I have used all of these excuses for not fully engaging in what is in front of me.

This month, I learned that it is not only freeing, but much more fun, and get this: the moment always changes.

How about that.

What did you learn in November?


As always, I'm linking up with the lovely Emily P. Freeman at Chatting at the Sky for a monthly exploration of learning in community. You might just want to read some of the other posts as well. I always learn something new.

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