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Sunday, June 16, 2013

Earning 28.

This is a bit late.

I turned 28 yesterday. This is the first birthday that has bothered me. But I remind myself that I probably shouldn't have seen 27, and my mom reminded me that I have a pretty great life for 28. 

My usual birthday-time practice is to look back on the year and see how I made use of it, how I earned my birthday, what was worthwhile. I'm often surprised over how much I've actually done. I accomplished and endured so much when I was 26, but 27 was probably more impressive than I realize.

  • I taught a total of 15 college courses, 3 of them in the summer.
  • I taught my first literature course.
  • I taught a literature course that I designed from the concept up. 
  • I introduced students to the kind of literature that is being born right now, and they were amazed. 
  • I taught creative writing for the third time, having made improvements I feel good about.
  • I dealt with a scary fire (arson) that wrecked my apartment building and threatened my boys.
  • I researched, documented, and organized detailed information for our renter's insurance, and the adjustors were impressed with the work. I never want to do that again.
  • I moved--only to a different apartment this time.
  • I started moving away from the college-student, hand-me-down way of decorating and chose my own replacement furniture.
  • I bought a living room set from Pottery Barn! Whoa!
  • I set up a sweet, open room for Oliver.
  • I made home colorful.
  • I taught a seminar on English in the workplace to all the faculty, staff, and administration at my college. And even the welding instructors said they enjoyed it.
  • I read 48 books.
  • I read 5 independent reader books aloud to Oliver.
  • I decided that I needed to read more short stories, and I read 12 books of them.
  • I wrote some new poems and stories and revised some old ones.
  • I probably filled 10 journals (I don't feel like going through them!).
  • I put together a literary magazine by a week...and didn't explode.
  • I got my critical thinking students to understand logical fallacies...sort of.
  • I went to my first conference.
  • I finished some 36 hours of professional development.
  • I had my first two short story publications. 
  • I finished 14 months of breastfeeding.
  • I supported a family of three.
  • I supported my husband in beginning his work on a master's degree. 
  • I grew my hair long after years of keeping in short (partly in response to a tragedy).
  • I got my Snow White hair! That's one off the 30 before 30 list.
  • I got through another terrible tragedy without cutting my hair or losing my mind.
  • I missed six days of work due to said tragedy and pneumonia--it's amazing that I could bear to do this.
  • I handled someone's huge confession with calm, loving acceptance and encouragement.
  • I gave good advice even though the situation terrified me.
  • Josh and I left Oliver alone with someone else while we went to the doctor. Also amazing though necessary.
  • I got comfortable with a new office mate.
  • I listened to and comforted students who needed to share their heart-breaking and horrifying stories.
  • I was open about my depression and sought help from doctors and from the people who love me most.
  • I made a friend. I pushed it! Me! 
  • I withstood numerous instincts to bolt from said friendship.
  • I formed a deep new bond and trust.
  • I told most of my hardest stories in detail, and in the process, I wrote them down.
  • I started carpooling to work. Me? Comfortable stuck with someone for a couple of hours a day? While I'm driving? Amazing but true.
  • I managed conflicts without completely freaking out.
  • I push myself to learn (again) how to communicate my needs and feelings clearly.
  • I rebuilt a lot of the memory, concentration, and problem-solving skills that left me after Oliver was born.
  • I helped a human learn to say words.
  • I watched a human learn to walk, dance, and run.
  • I balanced taking care of my son while not pretending that I don't have feelings and struggles.  
  • I maintained a strong, connected marriage.
  • I gave audiobooks another chance. 
  • I invited a non-relative to my house...and had fun.
  • I didn't give up during long-term, heavy depression and anxiety.
  • I started to get better.
I guess that will do. All right, 28. Let's go.