Tuesday, May 22, 2018

36 Things to Be Proud Of

It's my 36th birthday today, and if I was going to tell a socially appropriate joke I would say I'm turning 24... for the 12th year in a row, haha!

Maybe acting embarrassed about your age is merely a way of being self-depricating, sort of like how someone compliments your shirt and you feel compelled to confess that it came from a clearance rack at Kmart.

But really, ladies. We should be proud of our age. We earned it.

In honor of my birthday, here are 36 things from my life that I'm proud of:

1. Teaching myself to knit. Knitting is hard, and more than once did I throw down my needles in despair and wail, "I'M TOO DUMB TO KNIT!" But I kept going and so far I've made 3 scarves, a hat, a shawl, socks, a pair of fingerless gloves, some tree ornaments, and an entire man-sized sweater that I completed in secret for Phillip one Christmas. Too dumb to knit, indeed.

2. Raising six kids who love each other. I can't take all the credit, but I like to think the fact that my kids are each other's best friends has at least something to do with the way Phillip and I parented them.

3. Building a blog. When I decided to start a blog three years ago I had no idea what that would entail. I've poured hundreds of hours not just into writing, but into designing my site, learning HTML, networking with other bloggers, and promoting with social media.

4. Learning how to cook. My culinary skills when I became an adult all involved turning on the microwave. I could barely make Kraft mac and cheese. Now I cook dinner from scratch, send my kids to school with healthy homemade treats, and bake all our bread. I still don't like cooking, but I'm proud of having learned it.

5. Finishing college with an 11-month-old. It took me a semester or two longer to finish, and I may or may not have regularly nursed in the bathroom between British Literature and Philosophy, but I earned that bachelor's degree in English. That's true even if all I've read currently this month is Goodnight, Moon.

Growing older is something to be celebrated, not embarrassed by. What 36 things would be on your list?  {posted @ Unremarkable Files}

6. Being able to do 20 consecutive push-ups. That may not be a lot for some people, but it's a major accomplishment for me since I'm built like Popeye's girlfriend Olive Oyl.

7. Taking my family to church every Sunday. It's a habit in our house and part of what we do on Sundays; I'm glad we've made it something we automatically do, even on vacation.

8. Re-learning everything after a childhood surgery. After brain surgery when I was 10 I couldn't walk on my own, speech was difficult, and my penmanship looked like a 3-year-old's. I still have the notebook where I wrote "the quick brown fox jumped over the lazy dog" over and over in occupational therapy.

9. Buying a minivan in cash. I hate debt, and we've worked hard to avoid it. We saved up to buy our first minivan when I was pregnant with #3, and it was the biggest check I'd ever written.

10. Being the Mormonism writer for an online magazine. I once wrote for a now-defunct site called Suite 101 that was sort of the Canadian equivalent of About.com. In its heyday I made good money writing about Mormonism and whatever else I wanted, and they even sent me complimentary business cards with my name on them once.

11. Making money buying body wash. I'm big on couponing. Regularly, I enjoy free toothpaste/shampoo and the shocked silence of the cashiers at CVS when I walk away with ExtraCare Bucks worth more than what I spent. Occasionally our house contains things like vitamin supplements for post-menopausal women that we have no use for but were money-makers.

12. Not killing the class pet. Or any of the numerous animals we've pet sat over the years, actually. I can kill a plant just by looking at it, though, so don't even think about asking me to take care of your ferns while you're out of town.

13. Painting the front door red. I was scared to paint our plain white door for years. I finally did and loved how it looked  until our 4-year-old dented the crapola out of it with a tennis racket a few months later for no reason whatsoever.

14. Recording little things the kids said and did. I may be a failure at scrapbooking (according to my scrapbooks I have 3 children who are barely a year old, when in reality I have 6 kids and the oldest is a teenager) but I have more or less faithfully written down cute stories and funny mispronunciations from each one's childhood to look at when I'm old and gray.

15. Buying a bedding set I loved for $40. We just replaced it, but for 10+ years we had the most beautiful comforter, made even more beautiful by the fact it cost so little. (Hint: If you know someone who loves a bargain as much as I do, when they hold up a shopping bag and squeal "Guess how much all this cost???" do not respond by shrugging and guessing a ridiculous amount like $1. It will ruin their day.)

16. My natural VBAC. My fifth baby was born by C-section and I was devastated. Not really out of principle but because recovery was AWFUL in comparison. So I was thrilled when Baby #6 came via a drug-free VBAC that was the hardest, most intense thing I've ever done.

17. Learning a vector graphics software program. I got tired of asking Phillip to design stuff on the computer for me so I figured it out myself. I'm not exactly an expert now, but my knowledge is passable and Inkscape is my go-to for designing the memes I make for Facebook.

18. That time my biceps were enormous. Ordinarily I'm shaped exactly like a living stick figure, but there was one period of my life where I was doing this amazing aerobics/pilates/yoga class with weights and I was ripped.

Growing older is something to be celebrated, not embarrassed by. What 36 things would be on your list?  {posted @ Unremarkable Files}

19. Becoming Mormon. I joined the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints in 2000 and every good thing in my life either directly or indirectly comes from my faith in Jesus Christ and willingness to listen to his living prophet. Sorry to sound like an infomercial but I can't not do that when things are awesome.

20. Buying a house that will be paid off by the time I'm 45. If it were up to me, we'd have spent the last 10 years wearing rags and eating canned beans over a trash fire in order to have it paid off today, but Phillip said no.

21.  Learning how to drive a stick shift. In high school Phillip's sister taught me to drive their manual transmission car in the church parking lot, and it's a good thing because we inherited it when his family moved to Japan.

22. Using things up and wearing them out. About that car we inherited... we drove it for the next 10 years and when it gave up its last breath, sold it to a junkyard for $40. By the time our family is through with something, from clothes to baby gear to furniture, we've definitely squeezed every last drop of usefulness out of it.

23. Marrying the hottest guy I know. Obviously.

24. Showing up to Zumba for the first time. When a friend of mine announced she was running a free Zumba class every week, I almost didn't go. I know full well I dance like Rick Astley on a good day, but I put on my big girl pants and made myself go anyway. It took courage and I still look like Rick Astley.

25. Maintaining empty space. I consistently and ruthlessly get rid of things at home. De-junking early and often makes me feel good.

26. My research skills. Whether it's kid ailments or some random topic I'm supposed to write a freelance article on, I can find out all about it. Give me Google, and I can learn anything.

27. Fake trips around the world every summer. During summer vacation, we learn about a different country every week, which I simultaneously love and hate doing at the same time.

Growing older is something to be celebrated, not embarrassed by. What 36 things would be on your list?  {posted @ Unremarkable Files}

28. Learning to use a video editing program. I wanted to make some videos for my blog, so I downloaded some software and taught myself the basics. Phillip can't figure it out, which is my measuring stick for whether something is super-complicated or not.

29. Never making impulse purchases. When I shop, I only buy what's on my list  except for today, when mint Oreos jumped in my cart at the grocery store. But I planned to buy those ahead of time as a birthday gift to myself, so they don't count.

30. Breaking 20k Facebook followers. And as Phillip likes to point out, if 20,000 readers like my blog, just think of how many more there must be when you include the ones who don't like it!

31. Making $100 an hour. Once. For a single freelance article. But still.

32. My parenting style. I admittedly have no idea what I'm doing, but the kids feel loved and are being raised with what I think is a pretty good balance of high expectations and freedom.

33. Sewing all the curtains in my house. I'm especially proud of the Roman shades in the dining room, which would have cost 10 times what I spent to make them myself.

34. My organization. I did forget my daughter's soccer practice today, but on the whole we do what we need and get where we're supposed to. You name it, I have a chart to keep it organized.

35. Cooking spaghetti for 200 people. My current calling at church involves pulling off activities for the members, which is beyond intimidating to me because event planning of any sort is my worst nightmare. Though I still don't like it, I survived the spaghetti dinner and even went on to do other similar events without dying.

36. Making a viral video. "Answering the Question 'Why Do You Have So Many Kids?'" was viewed over 42k times on Facebook. My one regret is that my hair was kind of weird that day, but oh well. It happens.

I know it sounds corny, but one of my favorite things about my husband's appearance now that we're getting older is the lines that appear at the corner of his eyes when he smiles. When I see them, I'm reminded of what a good life we've had.

The same is true about me, and about you, too. Do I really care if I have to pull my eyelids taut to apply eyeliner now? Not really. Because the fact that I've lived on this earth for 36 years is something to be proud of.

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Marler said...

Love this one, so many good things! I love your blog and read it every week. I may have missed it when you wrote about it, but how do you find time to make all your own bread?

Jenny Evans said...

I just have a routine down and I do it at the same time every week. We have afternoon church, so right now it's Sunday mornings first thing when I wake up because we are always home at that time. Also, we don't eat much bread. I make two loaves and that's it for the week. I suppose I do buy English muffins which are a bread PRODUCT, and I do buy those instead of make them.