1.) I like having as few bills as possible to pay, and credit cards are an unnecessary burden. My goal in 2011 is to pay off as many as I can and close the accounts. At most, I only want to have one hanging over my head...and not too much on that, at that. If you can get beyond the credit cards, then you're actually buying things free and clear, and that makes life a heck of a lot easier.
2.) I always knew this, but I had it confirmed this year, when I used the Credit Card changes enacted by Congress to shut off my so-called overdraft protection: the credit lines that banks offer you offer no protection at all. They're just gimmicks banks use to try and drain as much money from consumers as they can in the form of "overdraft fees." Going without is the smartest way to go. Yes, you cannot go over what you have in the bank. Guess what? That's not a bad thing, at all.
3.) From my experience, luxury apartments are huge unnecessary rip-offs, and the people who live in them tend to be stand-offish and aloof. If you can't afford to buy your own home, do yourself a favor and choose a more sensible rental solution, and set aside the money you're saving for better uses. Note: in my opinion, travel is a far better solution.
4.) Anxiety and worry are unnecessary human emotions that sap the will and eat away at your well-being. Except in one sense: if you don't possess the ability to plan ahead and prepare on your own, then at the very least, these emotions can serve as powerful motivators to get things done in order to prepare against the worst. Better to be happy and worry-free...but if you're going to so, make damn sure you're organized, otherwise, it's not real happiness, but simply avoidance.
5.) Karaoke is really fun.
6.) Organized religion is much maligned, and often for very good reasons, but when approached sensibly, it can provide you with greater peace of mind.
7.) Sometimes hard conversations are necessary in order keep a relationship on the right track.
8.) More can be accomplished with a positive and "can do" attitude than can ever be accomplished by incessant whining and complaining about how things "should" be. Things are how they are. On a related note, no one is ever going to do things the same way that you would do it. If you're not the skipper of the ship, however, then it's a good idea to accept your role in the scheme of things and provide whatever support you can. And if you can't do that, then it's a good idea to simply remove yourself from the situation, or grin and bear it until you can.
9.) Life always feels better with the help of good chicken, a great steak, or a cold martini.
10.) All of what I've learned this year is subject to change at a moment's notice.