Some people think that you stop learning after you finish school. For me, it’s been the opposite. In just the last eight months alone, I’ve learned more than I learned during over fifteen years of school. Every day presents a new opportunity for me.
This past year has been pretty amazing, despite some major setbacks and losses. While my life looks nothing like what I thought it would be when I graduated high school in 2006, in some ways, it’s even better. I still don’t quite recognize the life I lead these days. I’m working hard to overcome the pain that life throws at me. Every day, I take another step toward making this life fully my own.
I spent my 26th birthday doing the things I love: writing, hanging out with family, and spending time with friends. It was a pretty perfect day. There was sushi, and Moose Tracks ice cream cake, and Sin City: A Dame to Kill For—all of which were pretty awesome.
Because I can’t think of a better segue, here are 26 things I’ve learned in the last year:
I am in control of my life, not the things that happen to me.
I am pretty resilient; I’ve seen the very bottom, and built my own ladder up and out—and I know I can do it again when the time comes.
My depression and anxiety are not going to magically disappear.
But they’re also not going to run my life.
When I put my mind to something, I can make it happen—even if it’s way out there.
I can make a living with my writing.
But I can’t live off of my writing, yet, so I can do other things that mesh with the message I want to spread and the stories I want to tell.
I can write stories that people love. (Good thing, too, because #6 might be a little difficult, otherwise.)
I am confident enough to travel long distances, on my own, without letting my anxiety force me to back out.
The southern states in the US do not like when you drive above the speed limit.
I can—and did!—overcome my fear of dogs.
I really, really love dogs.
My mysterious joint pain isn’t going away, but it also isn’t going to run my life.
I feel very strongly about human and civil rights.
My taste in music is always growing. Sometimes, it changes a little, and that’s okay.
I don’t need a whole lot of money to survive. I’m learning to let go of my obsession with feeling financially secure.
It’s okay to take medication for my anxiety; taking a pill to help calm myself during a panic attack is not the same thing as abusing pills.
I really love Yankee Candles, and burning them helps me get back to center.
I still don’t believe in God, but I really identify with the principles of Buddhism—especially the Vipassana school.
Even if I’m not going anywhere, getting dressed and doing my hair and sometimes also makeup really boosts my self-esteem and productivity.
Doing yoga makes me feel amazing, and I need to do it more.
I can’t save everyone. Sometimes, the best way I can do for someone is to keep loving them despite their faults.
Helping others, as part of a tribe, makes me feel complete.
It’s okay to say no… and it’s okay to say yes.
I don’t need to feel bad when people don’t like me. The only people who matter are the ones who do like me.
My character and core principles are the most important things about me.
I have some spectacular things planned for the next year of my life. I know exactly where I’m going and who I am.
Thank you for being on this journey for me. Let’s make this next year the best year yet!
August is my birthday month (the 28th, if you didn’t know). I’m a Virgo through and through; I like things clean and organized. Doing housework isn’t really a chore for me. My idea of fun is reorganizing the office supply cabinet and decorating my work area.
I’m going to be twenty-six this month. It’s kind of awesome, to be in my almost-late twenties. More sage, experienced people have told me that you start to figure things out after your mid-twenties. I am definitely enjoying this very experimental decade, but getting to a stable place is also very exciting!
I wanted to do something different for my birthday. In the past, I’ve done giveaways, but never like this. From now until the end of August, I will gift everyone on my email list the entire ESX series!
You get five books for free!
Amplified—Boy band heart throb Koty Jackson wants out. Jett Costa needs a guitarist for her band. Can he make it in?
Tempo—In the fast-paced followup to Amplified, the race is on as Koty awaits Perpetual Smile’s answer!
Bridge—One voicemail and one song change everything for both Koty and Jett.
Pitch—In the music industry, there is one golden rule: never, ever date your band members.
Fugue—As their relationship and juggling the two bands spirals out of control, Jett turns to a dark coping method.
Like a new year, I see birthdays as an opportunity to grow. Today I am twenty-five. I’ve been thinking really hard about how I want this next year of my life to go. No, you can’t control everything, but you can make choices and set goals.
Because twenty-five is neatly divisible by five and I’m slightly OCD, I’ve made my own growth chart.
5 Things I’ve Accomplished in the Last Year
I saved for and purchased a MacBook Pro.
I wrote several novels, novellas, short stories, and serial episodes.
I re-learned how to embroider, and started using it as another creative outlet.
I published my first novel, Sade on the Wall.
I got over my fear of public speaking (again), and appeared at several events as a professional author.
I am always happy.
My books are bestsellers.
I have enough.
It is okay to be successful.
I mentor other people to follow their dreams.
5 Qualities I Love About Myself and Want to Enhance
I’m witty and weird—usually at the same time. I can make people laugh, even in the worst situations.
I have a big heart, even though sometimes I feel too deeply.
I have a unique eye for fashion.
I am detail oriented and organized.
I make other people feel comfortable and welcome.
5 Goals for My 25th Year
Become a full-time author and quit my day job.
Enjoy being a newlywed.
Buy a house.
Learn how to play the piano.
5 Ways I Want to Pay it Forward
Utilize this blog to share my knowledge about the self-publishing industry with other authors.
Help new indie authors get their names out.
Do small, kind things for the friends and family who helped with our wedding.
Encourage other writers to actually write, whether they want to be published or not.
Smile at strangers.
Open Your Presents
To celebrate my birthday—and my wedding this coming Saturday—I’ve dropped the ebook price of Sade on the Wall from $4.99 to $0.99. It’s only for a limited time, though, so pick up your copy now!