Tuesday, December 27, 2016

38 Things I've Learned/Accomplished in 38 Years

I recently saw a post where someone who turned 40 posted 40 things they were determined to do. I like the idea, but I decided to turn it on its head.

As I am 38, nearing 39, I am going to list 38 things I've learned in or done with my life. Enjoy!!

  1. I wrote and published a fiction novel. This is a big one for me. I've wanted this since I was in single digits, and that want has never gone away. Finally, I had the courage, support and time - and I did it!
  2. I found the person who loves and supports me, and who I love and support. I honestly had my doubts that this one could ever happen, but it did. And I'm thrilled that I was strong enough to wait for him, AND strong enough to let him into my life.
  3. I won NaNoWriMo. I won. TWICE! I got the certificate, I have the t-shirt. I wrote 50k+ words in one month. They were pretty good words, too! I'm gonna do it again next year!
  4. I learned how to bake. I can make bread, soft pretzels, biscuits, and much more in a few minutes to a few days. And they are so much better than the store-bought stuff. I'm even teaching my kids to bake.
  5. I prioritized what was important to ME. Yes, I still take care of a goodly portion of household and childcare stuff. But my desires are right up there with those of the rest of my family. I have learned how to weave the needs of my kids, my hubby and myself to make all of us important. Please note that prioritizing doesn't always mean "top priority" either.
  6. I got laid off - and it wasn't the end of the world. Don't get me wrong. It was scary, and it was hard, but it didn't break me or my family. We had to make a lot of sacrifices (we still do), but we now know that we CAN do this.
  7. I learned to be a barista. It's an interesting job, and more complicated than I think a lot of people realize. In many ways, I enjoyed doing it.
  8. I figured out how to plot a novel. I have ideas. Tons of ideas. And many of them are good ideas. But there is a difference between having a good idea and having a good story. A good idea can never replace a good story, so learning to plot a full-length, entertaining story was pretty important if I was to become an author.
  9. I became a podcaster. Seven years and counting with a weekly show (we've only missed a few), my friend and I have become a bit of a name (not huge, just a bit... :) ) in the Pagan community for our Pagan-Musings Podcast, with over 1000 listens each week. Yay!
  10. I learned how to plan for travel. Researching hotels, making reservations, taking taxis - for a small town woman, I've gotten very good at getting my family a decent place to stay when we are out of town. And, most importantly, I know what is worth paying for and what isn't.
  11. I figured out how to be by myself. Not just for an afternoon or a day. For weeks at a time. For a year. I lived alone in place pretty isolated from my friends and family. I spent weeks at a time with no discussions outside of work and errands. And I was okay. I'm pretty interesting, you know.
  12. I became a speaker/workshop presenter. I have a long history of stage-fright and nerves, so taking an opportunity to speak in front of a group of strangers was a pretty big step. Plus, I had to learn how to set up a workshop so that it would be entertaining for those attending.
  13. I learned to budget. And not just a basic money-in, money-out thing. I taught myself how to plan and manage my money to an astonishing degree. And I did it with nothing more than some online articles, wikipedia (to check out definitions and legal stuff), and a 10-year old excel program.
  14. I got 1000 followers on Twitter. More importantly, I've stayed at around 1000 followers on Twitter for several months. No mass exodus from my Twitter feed. Yay!
  15. I realized I could trust myself. I'm not perfect, but I'm pretty darn good at being a decent person, mother, friend. Instead of constantly berating myself for the little mistakes, I look at them, learn from them, and move on.
  16. I quit my job. I've never quit a job before unless you count the time I rage-quit a micro-managing, spaz boss who had to hire three people to replace me. But I quit. Not because I was breaking down. Not because I got fired. Because I had something better to do, and I had the means to do so.
  17. I rebuilt my credit. Not even two years ago, my credit was in the mid 500s. Now, I have "fair/good" credit. I got a credit card, paid off all my bills, and I micromanage my various accounts at least once a week. I've caught bogus charges, errors, and my own oopsies along the way, but I finally did it. After 20 years of crappy credit, I could actually get a loan - not that I need one.
  18. I taught myself marketing. I've always been interested in it, and it's something that I understand and pick up easily. But I managed to do it well enough to get two jobs based on my marketing experience. And I'm now leveraging that towards my books!
  19. I taught myself how to convert files. This is very handy in the marketing stuff, so I can give people the file type they need for reviews or giveaways without it costing me even more.
  20. I learned I can trust people. Now, there's a secret to this. I trust people to be who they are. That means, I trust people who have let me down to not always be there for me. So I don't count on them like I otherwise would. I trust people who don't pay me back in a timely manner to not pay me back. I count the loan as a loss, and repayment as a bonus. I KNOW what I'm getting into with each person. I trust them to be who they are.
  21. I learned about diets and nutrition, and my own eating needs. I know what I require and I know how diets will affect me - and if they will work. I know what staves off the hanger and what satisfies the cravings.
  22. I own property. Yeah, it was mostly a gift from my parents, but it took nearly three years of renting and not skipping out on them before that happened. I like to think that, in some ways, I earned the gift.
  23. I became a name. I'm not very well known by most. I'm not a celebrity or a superstar, but in some circles, I am a public figure now. Holy crap! I have a reputation and an obligation to my fans and followers (and it's more than just family now!!). How odd!
  24. I learned how to cook from scratch. Not just a little bit, either. Everything from scratch. Some of it wasn't worth the time to do on a regular basis, but we kept many of the recipes we learned, such as making sloppy joes without the canned stuff.
  25. I became an activist. I didn't mean to. That is, I didn't set out to become a SJW (social justice warrior). I just listened to people talk about the discrimination that affected them and those around them, and I read about the social constructs and systems that supported racism and sexism, etc. Then, I started talking to people about it. Then, I started calling people out for doing things that were hurtful. Then, I was engaging in full-blown FB debates. And, it's true, you can never shut your eyes to the hate and hurt once you've seen it.
  26. I learned what my drinking style is. I am an occasional drinker and a lightweight. I cannot binge drink. I don't enjoy drinking to get drunk. I like sweet and fruity drinks, and mead. This helped me become confident in how I approach parties and gatherings. I no longer feel the need to live up to other people's expectations of how I should "enjoy myself".
  27. I have birthed and raised children. They are even doing well, if I do say so. I never thought I'd be a mother-type, and I'm not really the soft nurturing kind of mom. I'm more of a force of nature mom who teaches the kids how to make it or break it - literally.
  28. I learned to trust my instincts. People and situations aren't always what they seem. I've learned to trust my gut as to whether or not I am safe or even in the best place for me. I seem to be pretty good at it, too.
  29. I worked as a cook. It was a specific situation and a bit unusual for a cook, but I made meals from scratch for several dozen people at a time. I learned how to plan my time and efforts in order to make good food, that looked good, that had to "hold" for an entire lunch period. It's not as easy as it looks.
  30. I held a book release. Yeah, it was a FB event, but I'd never done anything like that before. Considering my inexperience, I think it went rather well. I look forward to using the tricks I've picked up since to make the next one even better!
  31. I embraced myself as an introvert. I let go of all the shame and guilt of not wanting to be involved with people all the time. I have my hubby, who I do enjoy being around, and I seldom want any other company. And that's okay. I interact on social media when I want to, but I spend days without going farther than my own yard. That's how I like it.
    This awesome pic is by the talented
    illustrator Sam Flegal. See his work here:
  32. I learned about Norse mythology - way more than I ever thought I would be interested in learning, and I liked it. I even used some of the myths as a basis for the overarching plot for my series.
  33. I made a decision regarding the importance of historical accuracy in my religious beliefs. Sorry, recons. I don't think it's that important. Knowing about the history is a great thing. Adhering to it exclusively, however, is static and unrealistic. Religion grows with humankind, and that's a very good thing. Holding on to the past with a vengeance is extremism in religion AND politics.
  34. I learned to communicate my feelings. This was hard. It's difficult to explain that my parents didn't make me feel safe expressing myself. It wasn't violent. It was nitpicky. It was criticizing. And I spent 30 years being careful about how I let myself feel. I wasn't very good at it, being a very passionate (and tempermental) woman. Now, I'm learning how to talk about not just my feelings, but about unpacking the social aspects of them. Still hard. Totally worth it.
  35. I taught myself how to read contracts. It takes lots of research to do that. I'm lucky - I seem to have a natural understanding of legal jargon. I'm good enough at it that I've been paid for writing basic contracts for others!
  36. I learned Astrological interpretations. Yeah, I can analyze a birth chart and show how the different planets/signs interact with each other. I'm pretty good at it, too.
  37. I learned how to manage a house. Chore lists, grocery lists, budget lists, calendars - four people makes for lots of work, but we rock it... most days.
  38. My give-a-damn broke. Somewhere along the way, I stopped making what other people thought of me the important thing. Yeah, I still take it into consideration, but I don't let it rule my life, my behavior, my beliefs. Instead, I have faith in my own values, and I listen to the voices and opinions of my hubby and kids first and foremost. Those random people don't get to influence me - they don't know me, they don't love me, they don't have me as a priority. So why should I make them a priority?