12 Things I learned in 2012


Last year I published a similar post 6 hours before the official start of the new year. 2012 proved to be an extremely challenging year for my career, my health, and my emotional wellbeing. It was also a year of profound self-discovery. So this time my 2012 lessons come a couple of days into the new year. I guess the learnings needed to be more thoroughly analized. Clearly, not all of them from the list you’ll see below! But in a way they encompass the duality that is Paola: serious and fun, extremely anxious and incredibly zen, child-like and mature….

Here are the 12 things I learned in 2012

1. Nothing says “I love you” like a headbutt from the cutest boy ever: 2012 was the year of assorted bruises, nose bleeds and stubbed toes… for yours truly here! My son is a bit on the active side (like most 2 year-olds) and sometimes he does not know how else to express his happines but by inflicting pain with, mainly, his head. On the plus side, he completely ignores you and pouts when he is in a dark mood. I guess love does hurt!

2. I freaking love makeup! I only feel a bit sad I’ve missed on this fun for so long! Only 3 years ago I started using makeup and the learning curve has been massive. It seems like a century since the thought of applying liquid eyeliner made me cringe. Now not only am I a pro with my own face, I can “paint” other faces with the same prowess. Welcome to my new side career as a makeup artist! I love it so much I even want to share my passion and some of the great products I stumble upon. Did you know I’m giving away a full set of makeup brushes?

3. Never make promises about losing weight and being fit if you are not keeping them Massive fail on my side. 2 years ago I decided to start this project to be a lean fit machine to keep up with my 2 year-old. I’m neither fit, nor can I keep up with my child and I end up crying after playtime (see lesson 1.) In my defense I was sick (and not just with a vitamin CH deficiency – CH as in chocolate) and a ton of medication I took this year caused a great deal of weight gain. Oh well, I guess that’ll be 2013’s goal!

4. How can I stop watching the Kardashians if they keep reproducing? Last year I wrote about that car wreck that is the Kardashians. In 2012 I managed to avoid this show and all it’s spin-offs, except for the odd time I went on E! hoping to see some E! True Hollywood Story or even Fashion Police with Joan Rivers. Instead I stumbled upon Kim Kardashian being an absolute bitch to her entire family, and her sisters (and semi-invisible brother) getting mad at her for all sorts of reasons, all the while momager Kris is milking the drama for as much money as she can possibly get. The question now is… will there ever be anything else on TV if every member of this family keeps getting a show? Did you hear Kim Kardashian is pregnant? And by Kanye West of all people? Brace yourselves, people. I have a feeling this kid’s name is going to start with a K….

5. It is so much easier to just be you and stop pretending what you are not: I know, this is the type of statement someone would share on Facebook in a cool retro typefont and and gorgeous stock photography as background. It’s one of those things that are kind of sel-evident, being the “real you”, but it’s so easy to get caught up in the games we play everyday: at work, with friends, even at home with those we love. This year for me I had to peel the layers that have wilted away due to my depression and the real me started to surface. That doesn’t mean I’m all courage! I have lots of fears now, too. 2013 will certainly be the year where these fears will go away.

6. And when the real you comes out to play, there’s a bunch of people waiting join in! My happiest moments of the year have always involved people interaction with both new and old friends. Sometime mid 2012 I got out of this self-imposed isolation and started mingling. I reconnected with some great people I had not seen for a while and even found deeper connections with people I felt I already knew. I meant an incredible bunch of people willing to make the world a better place, by either focusing on sustainability or by meeting their true selves and learning how to be better hosts. A lot of the times my family shared the joy. Other times it was just me. All great moments that I hope multiply in 2013!

7. It does not matter if delivery is promised before Christmas, many online stores will surely dissappoint you: Yes HQhair.com, I’m talking to you. You have a great selection of products and everything, but I ordered from your site because you said orders by a certain date would be delivered before Christmas. Last I checked it said my stuff would be here before 2nd January….so far, nothing!

8. On the other had, smaller, quirkier retailers are a delight to shop with! Online retailers like Fab and Etsy made my online shopping experience an amazing one. Maybe I’m just becoming an old fart, like those who get outraged at kids today and write extensive complaints at newspaper columnists (yes children, once upon a time the news was delivered on paper, you know, from trees. Hopefully they’ll know trees). Customer service has become important to me in a way I could not care less around 10 years ago. Thank goodness online businesses have found ways to add to the missing personal interaction by adding freebies, thank you cards, etc.

9. Shows like The Newsroom prove there can be good and smart television today: Watching this show is an exciting journey of what is like to be really passionate about something. Every episode made me want to be a journalist very, very bad! It also gave us a nice understanding at everything that’s wrong with American politics and why it matters, even if you are not American. Not all the facts and issues were presented in the show, but the commentary is pretty insightful and intelligent. It should at least spark interest in viewers to be more critical of media bias and have more balanced opinions.

10. Depression is a real issue not too be taken lightly, but it should not be a reason to be stigmatized I spoke about this at length here, but I still feel bery strongly about. Being diagnosed with this ailment is probably the best thing that’s ever happened to me because it’s made take a closer look at the life I was living. But it’s also being a real humbling experience. It exposed me in all my vulnerability, but once I was open about it, other possibilities started to emerge. People didn’t judge me (well, not all of them) but embraced my honesty. Most importantly they didn’t see me as this depressed person. They saw me as me, and not as this depressed person.

11. How can something so bad be so freaking entertaining? And by bad I mean the literary masterpiece that is the Fifty Shades Trilogy. In all fairness, not a lot of books in the erotica category get a good rep, at least not more contemporary ones. But alas, badly written and completely preposterous, the Fifty Shades story is enthralling enough you’ll keep turning the pages wondering what’s going to happen next. And once you finish reading you’ll be wondering who’s going to play the lead characters in the movie adaptation (you can see some choices here and here)

12. None of my accomplishments would’ve been possible without some very important people: Again my family takes center stage, and they’ll continue to do so in the years to come. Every day I’m grateful for their undying support and love. They are not the only ones however; who have encouraged me every day to keep doing what I love and never give up. YOU! You have made all these possible and I have all the chances in the world to keep succeeding because of you!



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