Sometimes life gives you extra lifey years. 2015 has been that kind of year for me. Through it all, I’ve learned much, grown even more, and have gained a greater appreciation for the human experience.

I’m blessed beyond measure; constantly amazed by the inordinate number of incredible people with whom I have the privilege of sharing a little bit of life with. Each of whom has taught me how to be a better me, how to love harder, laugh louder, embrace the suck, and squeeze every ounce of life out of every singe day.

In this Season of Giving, of celebrating the single greatest gift given to mankind, I would like to share with you what this year has shared with me. Some lessons I’ve known, but came to understand differently.

1. Take the time to tell others how important they are to you.

It’s a rare occasion I find myself face to face with regret. Last week, four incredible women (each of who were some of the most important relationships I’ve cultivated lately) moved away, and on to bigger and better things. I knew full well that these relationships were important, but I, because of that whole fear of vulnerability thing, never had the guts to say as much. So when these gals left, I regretted not taking 5 seconds to utter a few words.

What is five seconds? What are a few words?

Of course these gals aren’t gone forever, but that’s not really the point. The point is simply as stated above — don’t let your fear affect the most important parts of your life, especially when those parts are people.

2. Stop focusing on what’s not and enjoy what is.

I suppose in some ways this is a “be thankful for what you have” lesson, but it’s a little bit more than that. In this line of work, in our current state of affairs, in the daily doldrums of life and relationships, it’s far too easy to buddy up with Apathy, Criticism, Ungratefulness, and Perfectionism. While each of these has their place on the positive scale, their adverse forms can nuke any day any time they’re given space to do so.

The solution? Appreciate progress made, even if it’s small. And live to play another day.

“I can’t believe this bill had ___________ when it could’ve had ______________! RAWR RAWR BURN IT ALL DOWN RAWR!” when plugged into this equation then becomes, “I was really hoping we’d be able to get more __________ but we were able to accomplish ____________ and next month we get to work on defunding ______________.”

“My husband never __________. I’m so sick of it!” then becomes “He may have ______ again, but I really appreciate how he always takes care of _______ and ________.”

Two totally different conversations that produce two completely different results and both of the same origin. There’s probably some universal rule that explains as much, but the latter gratitude always produces better outcomes.

3. Be you.

There’s only one you. Be the best you you know how to be every.day. Will you fail? Of course. It happens. But never let that deter you from being all you were designed to be. The planet has only given us one you and we should all be so fortunate to experience what you have to offer. Don’t let anything, especially fear stop you from achieving your destiny.

Are you a nerd? Nerd up. A little too shy? Meekness is a rare quality. Whatever your insecurity… own it. Rock it. Embrace it. It’s part of you and part of your story. You never know how your story will inspire change in those around you.

Surround yourself with people who challenge you mentally, emotionally, and spiritually and who don’t let you get away with your same tired excuses. Iron sharpens iron, after all.

4. LIVE

Laugh whenever you have the chance. Cry when you feel like crying. Give all you have to give. Hold nothing back. Hug those you care about. Tell them you love them. Life is far too short to regret.

5. Have a very Merry Christmas

It’s an honor and a privilege to be part of the Legal Insurrection team. I’m continually humbled that you take time out of your life to read what I have to say. Thank you. Wishing you and your family the merriest of Christmases and blessings abundant as you start the new year.

[Featured Image: 圣诞快乐]

Follow Kemberlee on Twitter @kemberleekaye