My birthday, and time for a little introspection

It’s my birthday!  Happy birthday to me.  Another year definitely older, probably more experienced, potentially even wiser.

I’ve now been alive for a quarter century – one-fourth of my entire life (hopefully less than a quarter, but we’ll see!).  Twenty-five years.  So long, and yet so short.  And to think, I spent a decent percentage of this time crawling around on my hands and knees, trying to not choke on my own drool or leave a steaming, smelly pile in my own absorbent little diaper.  Definitely didn’t accomplish much at that time.

That’s the real question, isn’t it?  What have I accomplished?  What have I failed to accomplish?

I’d say that I’ve accomplished a fair amount.  It’s tough to really draw a conclusion on this without resorting to comparisons to my peers.  If I try hard enough in either direction, I can find peers far below me, or above me.  So comparisons are out the window.

Instead, let me consider what I’ve done over this last year:

1. I wrote a novel!  Actually, I’ve written several novels, but this is the first one where I actually took the plunge and self-published it.  Want to check it out?  Click the Novel page in my top menu bar.

2. I have now survived for more than a year on the far side of the country, distant from my family, childhood home, and snow.  A year ago, living out here felt like a vacation.  To be honest, it still sometimes feels like a vacation (my apartment complex has a hot tub, for goodness sake), but I’m getting more used to it.

3. I have survived my first year of graduate school!  Not only survived, in fact, but I won a fellowship, and have successfully managed to stave off poverty for the next eleven months or so.  Of course, now I’m worried about the money after that, but at least my woes are nearly a year away.

4. I’ve chosen my lab!  All my fear of not finding a graduate school lab, of being forced to drop out in disgrace, was unfounded.  I have a lab I love, a research project I feel passionately about, and actual hope for my future.  Sure, I’ve still got a scary qualifying exam to pass, manuscripts to write, and more tests to run, but at least I have a direction.

5. Because she may be reading this, my lovely SO deserves a mention.  She willingly dropped her old life, moved halfway across the country to join me, and is now able to squeal and grab onto me whenever she chooses.  For me, moving simply seemed like the next natural step; I can’t imagine how scary it must have been for her.

Sure, I’ve done other stuff in the last year.  I have a side business now, making money off of my writing.  I have moved apartments, purchased vehicles, learned new skills (including computer programming), and have run the first 3 5k races since I was approximately sixteen years old.  I’ve spent far too much money, not saved nearly enough, have made new friends and drifted away from old ones.  I’ve seen Yellowstone, and haven’t yet found a breadfruit to eat.  Goals accomplished, goals still waiting for that check mark.

In the end, though, am I satisfied?

Not yet.  I think that’s a good answer.  I’m not satisfied yet, not content to stop climbing – but I’ve made a good start.

Now, bring on the densest chocolate cake in the world!  I’m ready to eat!

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