I’m not embarrassed to say that I started these posts so I could take better stock of what I learn each day. Most days, it seems like I don’t actually learn anything. I wanted to prove myself wrong.

Since my birthday is this weekend– and since I use it as a starting point for setting and achieving new goals– it’s my new year!

What did you learn this year that you didn’t know last year?

1- Besides its use in making concrete and glass, sand has a wide range of purposes. It’s used to filter water, to make bricks, to make paint, to improve traction on roads and railroads, to clean up oil leaks, to stop grease fires, and to make electronics. Despite what we see on beaches and sand dunes, we may actually be facing a sand shortage that could have significant, potentially dire consequences.

2- Young children— as young as 2nd grade, but perhaps younger—can feel stressed and become overwhelmed. They can have panic attacks, suffer from anxiety and depression, and even have thoughts of suicide.

3- License agreements are different from standard revenue contracts and expense contracts. All license agreements must be reviewed by the Office of Real Estate Services prior to the legal team’s review and prior to execution.

4- Potty training is an art, not a science.

5- I learned that I have arthritis in my spine and may have had it for years.

6- I learned that becoming an author and playing volleyball are more important to me than I ever thought.

7- My brother doesn’t like to engage in conversations about things that make him sad.

8- My mother and father still enjoy each other’s company. When we were younger, it was important to them that we always did things together as a family. Now that we’re older, they actually prefer doing things without us.

9- I’m hesitant to complete projects that I don’t (believe I) have the aptitude for. This usually involves anything STEM-related.

10- Perhaps ironically, I’m more comfortable teaching Math than Language Arts.

11- I miss Chicago. I miss things about Chicago I never thought I’d miss. I miss the long train rides, the sidewalks, and the big, slow buses. I miss being able to walk anywhere in the city. I miss the music. I miss the block parties, the winter frost, and the festivals. I miss Pilsen, Humboldt Park, Logan Square, Hyde Park, and Little Village. I miss the beaches, and I miss playing volleyball in the sand. I miss the energy.

12- I learned that my parents care about weight more than I thought.

13- Wakandacon will be hosted in Chicago from August 3rd to 5th this year.

14- Undocumented families’ lives don’t seem to matter

15- I still believe in God.

It isn’t nearly enough, but what did you learn this year that you didn’t know last year?