30 Hell Yeahs

bday weekI recently got an email with the subject line “30 Acheivements in 30 Years.” I didn’t read the email, but the subject line got me thinking, and the second in my 30-series was born.

I’ve done a lot in 30 years, but when I stop and think about what I’m really proud of, it’s a little harder. Actually, it’s a lot harder. I have a tendency to down-play my accomplishments…but then again, don’t a lot of us? Let’s change that, shall we?

I want to call them Hell Yeahs, so here you go.

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1. I survived my childhood. No, I’m not being dramatic or glib here. Let’s just put it this way….people frequently tell me that they’re amazed I’ve turned out as well as I have. I think, all things considered, this is my number one win.

2. I’ve saved lives. At least five of them. Zoe, Lucy, Luka, Katie, and our late Bloodhound Evie, all found forever homes with me and mine. Zoe, Luka, and Evie were shelter pups. Lucy might have been, if we hadn’t taken her. We saved them, but what they’ve given us in return has been more than we could ever have asked for.

3. I have a college degree. Honestly, this one feels like a little bit of a cop-out, but I’m putting it on here anyway. I never considered not going to college and not getting a degree. It was just something that was expected, or maybe just something I expected. Regardless, I now realize that I didn’t have to do it – and even though a Bachelor’s degree is a common thing now, the fact that I did do it makes me proud.

4. I called off an engagement. Wow. Do you feel like I just punched you in the face? I’m sure that’s how Jimmie felt when I said that to him all those years ago. But now, both of us agree it was one of the best things I’ve ever done. We weren’t ready, we weren’t in a good place, and if we had gotten married, we wouldn’t have gotten to where we are now. My advice, for what it’s worth… don’t rush it. You don’t have to get married to be together (just look at us). Plus, calling off a wedding gives you a whole new perspective on those hideous colors you were thinking about. (And, I’d have been so pissed if I’d gotten married before Pinterest. HELLO.)

5. I found a job that I love. Not every day, not even every month. But mostly, I love my job. I kind of fell into it – I had no idea what I was getting in to, but it asked for a communication degree and I had one. And disasters sounded cool. And now here I am. I get to do something I’m passionate about, I get to travel, and I get to be creative. And I get to learn new things. Plus, I work with some pretty awesome people. It doesn’t have everything (I’m still trying to get animals into the equation somehow), but it’s pretty darn close. I’m proud, and yes, also incredibly lucky.

6. I have a handful of amazing people in my corner. Jimmie….my girls…my coworkers….even my Sparkfriends, who yes, have turned into wonderful friends. My family, for all their faults, loves me in their own way. Regardless of the fact that I might sometimes feel alone, the truth is I’m not in the slightest. I’ve screwed up a lot of things, but those people love me anyway.

7. I have hobbies. This one may seem silly. But, a few years ago…I didn’t have hobbies. Sure, I did things, but nothing that I considered mine. I read, that was about it. And slept. Now, I have things I call my own, things I’m proud of. I’ve got a blog. I craft – whether it’s knitting, painting, DIYing…I do crafty things. I still read. I camp and hike. I do yoga. I travel, and not just for work. I work on my house, and I sort of garden. All of those make me who I am, and make me happy…and are things I do for me, because I WANT TO.

8. I’ve tried sushi. Another one that may seem silly. I’m a huge texture person, and the thought of raw fish grossed me out. Still grosses me out. But I’ve tried it. I don’t like it, but I’ve tried it.

9. I survived my 20s. Not gonna lie,  my 20s were pretty fucking terrible at times. Depression, panic attacks, weight gain, high blood pressure. Fights with friends, fights with family, fights with Jimmie. Jobs and no jobs. I realize this sounds pretty standard. I’m sparing you the details, but I mean it when I say this is an accomplishment.

10. I’ve been to over half the states in the country. This is really exciting to me,  especially because I’ve gotten the hard ones – Alaska and Hawaii – out of the way. A lot of them were for work, but they still count. (Check out my Up In Smoke page for the map!)

11. I went to counseling. This was an achievement. I’m not the person who easily asks for help,  and even less of a person who accepts it. Counseling was huge for me. I went into it expecting answers. What I got were more questions, but I found the strength within myself to FIND the answers. I grew into a better person because I took the time to get to know myself. Which leads me to number 12…

12. I know who I am. No,  I don’t have all the answers. But I know what kind of person I am,  and no one can ever take that away from me. I’m creative and compassionate and objective. I’m moody and stubborn and slightly (ok, maybe more than slightly) arrogant. I’m not afraid to take risks,  and I’m not afraid to admit when I’ve done something stupid. I’m an animal lover, I rock out to boy bands, and I hate tea. I’m the abstract thinker who can also bring you back down to earth. I’m better at ideas that I am at execution. I can’t spell to save my life. I gossip too much and get frustrated too easily. I abuse commas. I’m borderline codependent at times, and with certain people. I’m a peacemaker and a people-pleaser and I try too hard. But that’s me. And I’m ok with that.

13. I know who I’m not. I’m not the girl rocking pencil skirts and Ann Taylor. I’m not the one making everyone laugh. I’m not the skiniest, prettiest, or edgiest. I’m not even the most interesting. My personal style is that I have no personal style. I’m not the person you call when you need a babysitter or help with a math problem. I’m not a business whiz,  and I’m definitely not organized. I’m not particularly disciplined. I’m not polished or put together or perfect. I’m not agreeable and I’m not a morning person. Honestly, I’m a bit of a mess.

14. I bought a couch. A real couch. With real money. It’s leather and cost way too much and I wouldn’t trade it for all the couches in the world because it’s my couch. Well, our couch.

15. I got fired. Woah, another punch. You should have known this already if you’ve been here a while… If you’re new,  I called my boss a dick on MySpace. He was, but it was still stupid. And it was also one of the best things to ever happen to me. It knocked me down a notch and made me realize how it feels to be worthless to someone. I will never again feel that way. Never. (I will also never again call my anyone anything on anything.)

16. I got over my fear of the gyn. Ladies,  here’s a hint. If it’s uncomfortable, find a new gyn. If you dread it,  find a new gyn. If you aren’t able to go about your business afterwards without showering, find a new gyn. Keep looking until it’s as big a deal as having your blood pressure taken. It’s never going to be enjoyable, but it shouldn’t be traumatic either. (Sorry for this one, gents. It’s true though.)

17. I learned to paint the nails on my right hand. All by my lonesome. It can be done, friends.

18. I’ve stopped chasing people. If you don’t want to put effort into me, I’m not putting effort into you. It’s that simple. I don’t care who you are or how long I’ve known you. It’s a two way street. Does this mean I don’t care about you? Not at all. I’d be there if you needed me. But you don’t, so I’m not going to waste my energy forcing you.

19. I make my bed.  My mother will be thrilled. Nope, it wouldn’t pass the Martha test. But it’s made,  every day, more or less.

20. I dropped out of grad school. Another punch? I hated the program I was in. I was doing it for the wrong reasons. So I quit. Easy as that.  Someday I’ll go back,  but it’ll be on my terms.

21. I said goodbye to my grandmother. I couldn’t be there in person, and she couldn’t talk back, but I said goodbye. All the regrets and missed opportunities still haunt me,  but not that. I said goodbye. And I believe she heard me.

22. I’ve learned to enjoy my own company. Even better, I’ve learned to crave it. I love and adore people, but sometimes I just need me.

23. I failed at direct sales. I failed badly. But I gave it a shot, and I had fun, and I met some awesome people. And learned a lot, not least of which is that I’m a terrible saleswoman.

24. I started this blog. Better yet, I’ve continued this blog. For an entire year. And it’s growing and changing, and I still love writing it. Actually, I love writing it even more now than I did when I started. It’s become my outlet, and even though we’ve never met and this is a totally one-sided relationship, I feel like I’ve made a bunch of new friends.

25. I learned how to manage my money. You’ve read my financial peace post. This is another life-changer.

26. I told someone close to me they were an addict and needed help. Some of the most painful words I’ve ever said. But they needed to hear it, and needed to hear it from me.

27. I made peace with my cellulite. Don’t get me wrong. I still hate it. But, it’s sticking around, and really, it’s not that big of a deal. I’m not trying to be a supermodel, and Jimmie loves me just fine. Exercise helps, water helps, and just being good to myself helps. I’ve got bigger things to worry about, like being able to put my pants on without falling over.

28. I started caring about my environment. I recycle, I try to limit toxins and chemicals, and I try to reduce my carbon footprint. I try to surround myself with beauty, I strive for balance, and I do my best to be happy. I’m making progress.

29. I’ve made my parents proud. Or so they tell me. That’s a win.

30. I’ve learned to stop judging people. This is a big one. Everyone has a battle, everyone acts like an ass, and everyone screws up. Before I condemn you, though, I’m going to stop and think about you for a minute. Your view is just as important as mine. Maybe you’re having a bad day. Or maybe you’re just a heinous bitch, but honestly….I’m going to give you the benefit of the doubt. I’d want you do the same for me, so I figure it’s the least I can do.

That was a lot harder than I expected it to be. Wow.

Here’s my challenge to you – whatever age you are, come up with 30 things you’ve done that you’re proud of. If you want to go for your true age, more power to you! Share it if you feel like it – leave a link in the comments below!

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