Surprise: What surprised you this year?
Things that probably shouldn't have surprised me but still do
1) The amount of attention we pay to celebrities. I'm guilty of it, too, reading the headlines of magazines about who broke up with whom or said something silly on Twitter. So much energy spent on silliness that could be spent somewhere else, and is one of the reasons I am happy to have given up most of my cable channels.
2) That other people's relationships matter. I'm mostly thinking of the debate around gay marriage but also celebrity relationships or relationships we see elsewhere. How my relationship could have any bearing whatsoever on anyone else's makes no sense to me, unless I was trying to actively act upon someone's relationship or cheating, but otherwise, I'm baffled.
3) The amount of reality TV programs on networks right now
1) Mascara matters. Every single time I wear Tarte Lights, Camera, Flashes mascara, someone tells me I look nice, no matter what else I'm wearing. This has happened twice when I've been wearing jeans and a sweater, and once after a long day when I had changed into yoga pants and a t-shirt, so I know it's not the clothes; it's the mascara.
2) Podcasts. I've gotten really into podcasts of all sorts, sports, music, NPR podcasts. A few years ago, many people I know were really into podcasting and I never really got it, but when driving as much as I have this year, it's nice to have something interesting to listen to. I've also started listening as I walk across campus or run errands.
3) I made reading a significant part of my life this year and I was surprised by how much I missed it. See my post on my favorite books this year if you're looking for recommendations.
1) As often as I am surprised by the callousness and cruelty of others, I'm overwhelmed and surprised by kindness. From the meter maid (actually, guy but I'm not sure what to call him) not giving me a ticket to my postman saying hello at the gas station, (it took me a moment to place him out of uniform, actually), kindness is all around me. I do my best to notice it and be grateful for it, but sometimes when I'm having a crappy day and someone does something nice, I'm caught off-guard by the kindness of others.
2) My students are a constant surprise, both in their writing and in the way they interact with me and fellow students. They make me crazy, but they are also bright and determined and have a willingness to trust me as their teacher that continually surprises me. They are also unfiltered and I'm always surprised at the things I hear and overhear.
3) Yoga. I'm surprised that I enjoy yoga, even when it's difficult. I don't think about how silly I look or much better the girl next to me is able to hold the pose. Okay, sometimes I do think that. But I still go and stretch and breathe and ask my body to be uncomfortable on purpose. I was re-reading old posts from 5 years ago where I said I did not meditate or do yoga and now I do both.
4) I'm surprised every time someone compliments or notices me. It's not that I think I am invisible or anything, but sometimes I get so focused and in my own world that I forget about my surroundings. And it's not that I don't know that I can make an impact, I'm just surprised when I do.