Wednesday, January 22, 2014

A Bucket List- In reverse

Today is the big day.  The big 40.  As I looked around my office (tastefully decorated with items from my Bucket List); it occurred to me that the list of things I've done  in 40 years is a lot longer than the list of things I have yet to do.

So here is my Bucket list in reverse, a list of things I've done/accomplished in 40 years:  Actually it's a list of things I remember I've done. 

1)  Lived in Panama for 15 years.

2)  Won an award in Oratory in 5th grade.  I was quite proud.

3)  Have seen the Hallie comet (remember that?)

4)  Took my first trip abroad in 6th grade: to San Jose, Costa Rica.

5)  Two years later, I moved to San Jose, Costa Rica. Pura Vida!

6)  Attended my first symphony concert at the Teatro Nacional in Costa Rica.

7)  Moved to the USA a month shy of 17

9)  A year and few months later, I moved 3 hours away to attend College           (Hotty Toddy!)

10)  Graduated college with a degree in Chemical Engineering.
11)  Got my first job a month later

12)  Decided to enroll in graduate school (at night) while working full time

13)  Got married (after swearing I would never marry)

14)  Had my beautiful daughter (after saying I'd never have kids).

15)  Passed the Professional Engineer exam, with a 6 month old baby at home. I wasn't sleeping much, might as well study, right?

16)  Moved to Oak Ridge TN. 

17)  Finally finished my Master's degree.  My daughter was 1 the day of graduation and ran around the Grove at Ole Miss while I got my diploma.

18)  Moved back to MS

19)  Found out we were having twins.

20)  Became the mother of two gorgeous boys, and life has never been the same.

21)  Decided that training for a marathon while the twins were babies was a great idea.

22)  Made it to the Chicago Marathon in 2007.  Wonderful experience. 
23)  Thought I could be an artist.  Started painting in watercolors.

24)  Somewhere along these times, started this blog.

25)  Places I've visited:  Denver, Colorado; Albuquerque, New Mexico; Austin TX; New Orleans, LA; Memphis TN, Knoxville TN, Chattanooga TN, Chicago, IL, Cincinnati, OH; Louisville, KY; Tallahasee FL, Charleston, SC; Navarre Beach, FL; Pensacola, FL; Orlando, FL, Kennedy Space Center, FL; Washington DC; Niagara Falls;  Toronto, Ontario, Canada.  

26)  Became a homeschool mom

27)  Learned to drive a manual transmission car.

28)  Flown in a helicopter.  Rode on a boat in the MS Gulf.

29)  Been to Disney World (Senior Year trip).

30)  Got a TATTOO!

The first 40 have been great.  Looking forward to the next 40.

Friday, January 17, 2014

It's a wonderful life

As my 40th birthday approaches, I've found myself wondering what pearls of wisdom I'd like to share with my kids, and nieces and nephews.  
Then I realized that wisdom is relative.  I think it is wise to study engineering and most people would consider major surgery without anesthesia a lot more appealing.  So wisdom, like beauty, is in the eyes of the beholder.
So, instead of imparting wisdom, I  thought I just share the things I've learned, and discovered in the last four decades. There may be some wisdom in these life experiences, maybe there will be a good story or two, but there are absolutely lots of life lessons wrapped up in 40 years.

These are the things I'd probably tell my younger self if I could travel back in time.  Or maybe not.  Life is an adventure.

1)  Dream the impossible dream.  No matter how absurd it may sound to others.  Dreams are what life is made of.

2) You are beautiful, simply because you exist.  No one needs blue eyes and blond hair to be beautiful.  

3) Don't tell your mom you will never study anything that has to do with math. You will.  

4) Hard times will come.  That's how character is built.  You will survive the storms.  Keep your eyes on the horizon.

5) There is nothing your sisters won't do for you.  Even when you've pulled their hair and fought with them; and thought you couldn't wait to get away from them, you love them and will forever want them near.

6)  1989 will bring heartache.  Don't shy from it.  It will make you stronger.  It will teach you compassion, and will show you God is never far away when we need him.  

7)  You don't have all the answers.  Not at 15, not at 18, not even at 40.   You may think you do, but really, you have no idea what your life is going to look like tomorrow, much less a few years down the road.

8) Reconsider that hairdo for the prom, I beg of you.  One day your kids will see the pictures and wonder why there is a poodle on your head.

9) Reconsider that prom date.  You probably won't (see #7 above) but you should.

10) Go to Ole Miss.  Don't even bother looking at any other school.  You will forever think of those years as the best of your young adult life.  And you will make friends that will last a lifetime.

11)  Don't tell people you will never marry or have kids.  You will.  See #7 again.

12) You will have your heart broken more than once. You are going to think you'll never get over it.  You will.

13)  The right guy will come along, and in 6 weeks time, you will know he is the one.  And everyone who thought you were never getting married will think you've lost your mind.  Refer to #11 again.

14) You will eventually get that Latina body you wanted growing up.  It may come after 3 kids but it will come.  Embrace it.  

15) Niagara Falls will take your breath away.  And standing there, you will call your mom and tell her how one of your childhood dreams has come true.  

15) Travel every time you get the chance.  See the world.  

16)  Join that wedding planning board online.  You will find lifetime friends there.  And yes, people are going to think you are crazy when you talk about these friends you've met online, but who cares what people think?

17)  Wear a bikini every time you get a chance before kids.  Because one day you will have to work hard for a bikini worthy body.   Trust me on this.

18) Remember as a kid, how you used to sit at the table for hours because you didn't want to eat your vegetables?  Your kids will do the same thing, if you try to implement that method of persuasion.  

19)  No matter what you say, you will tell your kids "because I said so".  One cannot reason with 4 year old kids, don't even try.  

20)  You will get a tattoo one day.  Your younger self may be horrified at the idea, but your older self will embrace it.  

21)  You don't need to diet.  Ever.  Just eat in moderation and stay active. 

22)  Your body at 39 will look very different from your body at 25.  It's called growing up.  Embrace it, and love it.  Your daughter will learn  to love her body by watching you love yours.

23)  Always, always be proud of your roots, and your heritage.  Teach your kids to be proud of their heritage too.  

24)  There is more good than evil in the world.  There will be times it will seem the opposite is true.  But if you ever need a reminder, look at those around you: family, friends, church.  It will make you see the good in the world.

25)  Have NO regrets.  Zero.  None.  Even the hard times bring lessons.  Learn the lesson, and move on.  You will make mistakes; you are only human.  Learn from the mistakes and grow from them.  There is no point in spending life regretting the decisions you've made.  Move on.

I can see 40 shining brightly from here.  I'm not dreading it, I'm ready to embrace it.  So many people don't make it to 40, I owe to all of them to be happy I made it this far.  And in the words of my grandfather, age is just a number.  Your attitude towards life is what counts Make yours count.