Happy New Year: 11 Things I Learned And/Or Relearned About Life, Love & Writing in 2011

Usually on Saturdays, I post an “Expat Sat” post…you know, “Welcome to Expat Sat, the culturally kooky, map nonspecific, sometimes bewildering, always fascinating intersection of expat life and writerhead. And where every Saturday, I offer tips for writing, publishing, and thriving to expat writers around the globe.”

BUT…since today is New Year’s Eve (whoop! whoop!), I’m stepping away from tradition to share a few things I learned (or in many cases, relearned) in 2011. Ready?

  1. The seeking and finding of oneself happens again and again in life. Stay open.
  2. I AM here to live out loud.
  3. Writing is not a solitary endeavor. (Relearn, relearn, relearn…)
  4. Paul Simon & I are alike when it comes to rhythm and symmetry and the breaking of symmetry.
  5. Despite the fact that as I get older, my eyesight gets worse and worse, I see things much more clearly.
  6. Just when I believe I see things clearly, they shift out of focus.
  7. Missing Shanghai is an ongoing feeling, as is my longing for each place in my life with which I’ve connected deeply.
  8. Journal, journal, journal. (& when in doubt, journal!)
  9. I love teaching writing to freshmen. I love how damn fresh they are.
  10. Steve Jobs
  11. Writerhead rocks! And it’s beautifully different for each writer. It can be like:


How about you? What did you learn (or relearn) this year?

Happy New Year, all! See you in 2012!


Image: digitalart / FreeDigitalPhotos.net

10 Responses to Happy New Year: 11 Things I Learned And/Or Relearned About Life, Love & Writing in 2011

  1. Love this post. I relearned (this year and every year) to put my work first — make it the start of each day, not the bottom of my ever-growing to-do pile. (And meeting you helped me relearn this, btw!)

  2. Great post, Kristin. I think I learned (or relearned) that, like you, writers don’t really work alone. People have wowed me with their kind support and genuine goodwill. I’ve also had to relearn the value and reality of the manic deadline (symptom of the distracted life). Sometimes, the closer the deadline, the better the idea. Thanks again for this great post and blog. A happy and productive 2012 to you.

    • Thanks, Aine. That first one–“writers don’t work alone”–is such a crazy-important lesson…and one we writers so often lose sight of as we’re hunched over our papers and keyboards. I’m looking forward to leaning on and being leaned on by my writerly friends as much as possible this coming year.


  3. Hi Kristin…Your list inspired me to write a list of my own.

    11 Things I had to (re)learn in 2011

    After four years living a wonderfully exciting, exploratory, privileged life abroad, the most challenging thing I had to (re)learn in 2011 was how to be an American housewife rather than a Shanghai tai tai. With that came a tremendous amount of responsibility.

    I had to (re)learn how to:
    • Make the beds
    • Do the laundry
    • Iron the clothes
    • Sweep, mop, and vacuum the floors
    • Mow the lawn
    • Remove my own facial hair
    • Chauffeur rather than be chauffeured
    • Pump gas
    • Survive without thrice weekly massages
    • Forego weekly mani-pedis
    • Eat lunch alone
    And on this first day of 2012, the rain will soon give way to snow for our first winter storm of the season. 6-10 inches of the fluffy, white stuff is expected to make land fall. Tomorrow morning I am certain be found with shovel in hand. Clearly a lot of (re)learning still awaits me in the New Year!

  4. Oh, my god, Fawn, you’ve got me laughing so hard this morning. You and I have been relearning the same life lessons this past year. Some I enjoy (cranking up the radio in the car while I drive) and some I abhor (cleaning toilets, not being massaged on a weekly basis, etc.).

    Here’s to all the lessons we relearn in 2012! Keep me posted.