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It's time to reflect on 2018: Can you think of 18 things you learned in 2018?


At the end of a year, I always like to take the time to reflect upon the last 12 months. What went well? What didn't go so well? What could have I done differently? And most importantly, what did I learn and how did I grow?

This year was a particularly hard year for me, which means in my case it was an incredibly emotional year. When my emotions flow, it usually means I get a little corny, and at the same time it helps me appreciate the things I have in my life, amidst the difficulties I experienced. 

I'd love to hear what you learned, as well, and as for me, in no particular order, here are 18 things I learned in 2018 (or found myself appreciating more than usual). As you will see, many, many MadLabbers make their way into my story in 2018. I wouldn't be the same without all of you in my life. 

18. Dinner parties are a must

I will never again live in an apartment too small to host a dinner party. It was reinforced to me that I get so much happiness out of cooking for and hosting friends for dinner. Thanks James for my new living situation as of September, where I have plenty of room to accommodate a 12-person dinner party.

17. Tomatoes will never become an accepted handheld fruit

Learned while driving home post-grocery shop. Hungry, I rummaged through my grocery bag on the seat next to me for something to devour en route home. ‘A tomato!’ I exclaimed internally, stoked about the find. Next thing you know I had re-decorated my car with tomato juice and seeds. 

16. I’m more resourceful than I knew

After losing more than 50 percent of my income out of the blue without notice in July, I have learned I’m very capable of finding and creating new writing work and income for myself. Although an incredibly stressful few months, learning about my resourcefulness has been very rewarding.

15. Coriander is cilantro. Cilantro is coriander.

Mind was blown.

14. JN&Z deli has the best bacon in the city.

Go there. Get bacon.

Probably the healthiest bacon in the city, too.

13. “Life is empty and meaningless, and it’s empty and meaningless that it’s empty and meaningless”

Learned at the Landmark Forum (personal development course). Thank you Dash and Patty for signing me up for Landmark.

12. Wow, I have great friends

I needed a ton of support this year, and a ton of support I received. To the point that some nights I couldn’t get myself to be alone. As a result, I slept on more couches and in more spare beds in one year than a person should. Thank you to the ultimate support team who housed me, fed me, and even bought me a toothbrush to keep in their bathroom (Joey and Steph). Julie, musical beds is fun, but I think I have settled on the cradle bed outside your bedroom (makes me feel safe). Kelsey, I think we could squeeze a third human in your giant bed. Patty and Audrey, I sleep better in your bunk bed than in my own bed. Easy E, you offered not just a bed multiple times, but room service, a hot tub and a continental breakfast. Again, thank you all for being there for me.

11. Training partners are a must

 I struggled to find motivation to train hard much of this year, and never in a million years would have continued to train as hard as I did if I didn't have an army of people to workout with. Most of the time this meant Dexter, always eager to go along with my plan for the day without a complaint, as well as Brendan (again, no complaints from this man), James (some more complaints here, namely, "I hate this!"), Joey (even bigger, and usually unfounded, complaints) and more recently Brandon (complaints TBD, but it's looking promising). My boys!!

10. When someone tells you (or shows you) who they are, BELIEVE THEM!!!

On a similar note, I learned the heart has learned nothing from the double jeopardy law.

9. Sunrise Market on Powell Street basically gives away free vegetables!

Thanks Joey, your constant deal hunting ways paid off. The only downside is their dial up Internet; expect to wait five minutes for your credit card payment to process. Oh, and most people don’t speak English, although my theory is they're just pretending not to speak English so they can peacefully ignore you when you ask if they have more jicama in the back. But free vegetables will result.

8. Bumble has taken a page out of Facebook’s book...

...constantly badgering you with suggestions: “Emily, do you need a good opening line? We can help you out.” Thanks, Bumble. As a sidenote, I have also learned Bumble has two types of men to offer the females: The man who invites you to his “cum palace” after a coffee date, and the man who wines and dines you with rose pedals and dozens of candles (or puts flowers (not even edible ones for that matter) on your dinner plate on a second date), neither of whom are my ideal match. A second sidenote: If someone tells you he’s an actor, he’s probably unemployed with a side hustling gig as a Door Dasher.

7. MadLab is the ultimate staple in my life

 It dawned on me the other day that I have been coaching here longer than I have done pretty much anything in my life (9.5 years!). You’re my staple, a rock in my life; it was reiterated this year how much value being part of this community gives to me. Big shout out to my clients, who take care of me as much (or probably more) than I help you. 

Some of them even cook for me...

6. Harbour Dance on Granville (actually discovered them at the end of 2017)

Every time I leave a dance class, my soul feels cleansed and my heart free. Still doing intro classes, but maybe one day I’ll advance to Level 1.

5. Cooking is therapy to my soul

I always knew this, but again this was reiterated to me via MadMeals and otherwise. (Although MadMeals won’t be considered a success until Wendy purchases her first MadMeal). Big thanks to Sheppy who has purchased every single meal yet, and for being a good friend in general. So great to form a closer bond with you this year.

4. Family, family, family

I have always been close with my family, but they played an even bigger role this year. Thank you Amanda for letting me hang out at your house a lot in recent weeks. Even if I’m working with my face in the computer most of the time, I make sure to take a baby holding break or two.

3. More structure needed

As much as I always thought I hated structure, more structure in my life is what’s best for me. Thanks Tom for planting that seed.

2. Vegetarian restaurants can be tasty, too

Veggie Chow on Victoria and 33rd. Go there. 

1. Jennifer Broxterman

Ok, maybe this isn’t in random order because I saved this one for last for a reason: I learned one of my closest friend’s Jennifer Broxterman is stronger than humanly possible. She was hit with cancer in the fall and has been publicly and courageously sharing all about her journey. I can’t be more proud to call you part of my inner circle, one of the people closest to my heart. You deserve more than 1 of 18 bullet points. You mean the world to me.

Would love to hear some of your 2018 highlights and lowlights, too. It's very therapeutic putting thoughts into words...Ready for 2019!!