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32 Flavors… and then some

April 24, 2013

So, earlier this week I turned 32… yikes! Where on earth did the time go? It seems like the last year has just flown by… well, the last decade really. When I was a kid it seemed like time just dragged on and on and summer vacation would never get here. Then somewhere around college everything started to just pick up speed. You blink and it is over. I really have to say though, I have loved my thirties. For all of the panicked moments I had when I turned 29, they really weren’t needed.

My twenties felt like I was on a never ending roller coaster of emotions and drama and trying to figure out what the hell I was supposed to be doing with my life. I felt there was an expectation placed on me by my family, friends and even society that I need to accomplish A, B and C by the time I was 30. In typical me fashion, I finally said forget that and have been much happier since I gave up that sense of pressure. The first few years of my thirties have just been calm. And I don’t mean boring, I have had a ton of fun the last few years, but calm in the sense I know what I care about in life, I have a much better sense of purpose and know the direction I want to go into. Not everyday is perfect, not every plan is made, and there are a whole lot of things left on my bucket and goal lists… but I go to bed happy every night and wake up happy the next morning, ready as best I can be for what ever is going to come my way. I think that is a pretty good place to be. So, as I spent my birthday getting all sorts of well wishes, flower deliveries and shoe shopping… I chatted with the Bestie and reflected on 32 things I have learned in the last 32 years. I am sure I could go on for more than 32… but these were some of the funny/memorable/ emotional lessons that have mattered. And yes, I know, I ramble. Part of my charm folks!

  1. Learn how to change a flat tire, or at least have a AAA membership.
  2. When pre-heating the oven, be sure to check it to make sure you haven’t left something in there. Say a skillet and a plastic spatula. It will melt as it heats, not only making it smell miserable but burning a hole in the bottom of the oven. Always check the oven before turning it on. Also, on another cooking related note… if you ever have a grease fire, you need to throw flour on the fire to smoother it, not water. Regardless, a grease fire will also ruin the stove… needing it to be replaced again. Finally, if you cook a turkey in a tin foil pan… be sure to put a cookie sheet or something under it to lift said tin foil plan… otherwise it can rip, leading to said grease fire.
  3. Laugh. Laugh a lot. It really is the best medicine. And having the ability to laugh at  yourself is equally important!
  4. Travel. Travel as much as possible. Learn about as many different cultures as possible. Wear out your passport and have it get so full you need a new one. I’ve been a lot of places and I need to travel even more.  My travel bucket list is at least three pages, single spaced. But I don’t think anything will ever beat the joy of cruising on a gondola in Venice with three of my old friends, the peace that settles over me when I drive through the marshes of the low country, or sense of wonder I felt when cruising on Resurrection Bay in Alaska.
  5. Do not drink three screwdrivers and a gin and juice in a short time period on a very empty stomach after a nerve-wracking day. You will end up projectile vomiting and your friends will not let you live it down for the next decade.
  6. Record the stories… one of the best decisions I ever made was to sit down and interview my Grandmother before she passed away. While I still haven’t been able to bring myself to watch them, I know I have them there, telling me all the stories of our family.
  7. True friends are rare. You know you have found one when they do one of the following: teach you how to drive on their new car, help you move repeatedly, drive 1,000 miles to pick you up from college and drive you back North for the summer, defend you when a jerk cusses you out at a football game, they make a chocolate cake with peanut butter cream cheese icing from scratch for your birthday because you just have to have it, they will let you have the better seat at a rock concert, or they stay on the phone every night for three months straight while you cry yourself to sleep. These are the people who will always have your back. And you in turn will have theirs.
  8. I have never really been a fan of being an only child. I would have much preferred a sibling to share this crazy experience with. Since I wasn’t given one by my parents, I had to adopt some of my friends. And I am so thankful some of them have been willing to let me do that, but there are a few key women in my life who have become my sisters, who I know I can lean on and they can lean on me, and I am so incredibly grateful that God gave them to me.
  9. Parents. Oh my parents. I have learned to accept them for who they are, and that even if I don’t agree with them, even if they drive me crazy, even if I don’t like them every moment… I will always love them and I am thankful for everything they have given me. I literally wouldn’t be here without them.
  10. I think that it is crucial for everyone to make your their very own bucket list and work to cross off at least one item each year. This past year I crossed off visiting the National Civil Rights Museum in Memphis and getting celebrate Christmas with a large portion of my Dad’s family!
  11. When you are in a wedding, never complain about the bridesmaid dresses to the bride. But feel free to toss it in the trash later or give it to charity. There is no rule that says you have to hang onto it, just to wear it and pose in some pictures. (Sorry ladies, I still love each of you though!)
  12. My heart will always be torn between two places… the South with my father’s family and all of my college friends and the North with my mother’s family and my dear friends who have known me for life. No matter where I live I’ll never make everyone happy and I’ve accepted it. Doesn’t mean I have to like it, but I’ve accepted it.
  13. You are not defined by the past of your family. It may help shape parts of who you but it does not define your existence and you can make whatever you want of your life. It is YOUR life.
  14. VOTE. In every single election you are able to. Don’t waste what others died for you to have.
  15. Being deemed a “walking encyclopedia” by your students is a great compliment. It also helps in the process of kicking butt in trivia.
  16. It is okay to not have plans to go out every single Saturday night. I finally figured out that I don’t have to have my social calendar packed 24/7 to be happy. I actually like spending time by myself. A perk of being an only child.
  17. Reading a good book can be one of the most wonderful things in the world. It can take you to a new place that you’ve never been, expand your vocabulary, and can help me escape my crazy world for another while laying by the pool. I am so thankful my Grandma Callie read to me every night when I was little, that my Aunt Heidi bought me my first set of Nancy Drew books and that my Grandma Pat and Grandpa Bob sent me a copy of Anne of Green Gables when I was six. It has made all of the difference.
  18. If you want to release a mouse after catching it in a glue trap, pour a little vegetable oil on the board, it will break the glue down and let the mouse go free. Just be sure to do this far away from the house, otherwise you’ll be catching the same mouse again. Personally, this makes me feel less guilty about the whole thing.
  19. If you ever need to put puffy paint or fabric paint on something, be sure to put newspaper beneath the fabric before painting… otherwise you could end up with wording on your apartment floor that says “Use Condom Sense” in big and bold letters from an Aids Awareness panel. (I’m looking at you Biner on this one).
  20. Having your heart broken can be painful, but it does indeed remind you that you have a heart. And they do heal.
  21. And to go along with the item above… though it may not seem like it, you always learn, even from the sad at the time things… like break-ups, rejection letters, and failing a driver’s test.
  22. It is true that time does heal all wounds, but that doesn’t mean they don’t leave a little scar. And I think scars build character.
  23. If you make the following shopping list, it will make you look like you are plotting a kidnapping/murder: kiddie pool, tarps, sledge hammer, duct tape, scissors, rum. I was actually doing extreme yard work, but when you have a friend who loves Hannibal Lecter that is the direction the mind goes in and creates a great inside joke (Gail, you’ve  really got to get over the Hannibal obsession).
  24. I am ridiculously thankful that Facebook and Twitter were not in use when I was in college (Facebook came out towards the middle of senior year). I am convinced that it would have done extreme damage to the future careers of my friends and myself. I also think that students should be more careful about what they post for a multitude of reasons.
  25. I shouldn’t know how to bail someone out of jail, but I do. I also know that the Bestie still thinks one of my best quotes ever is: “What am I supposed to wear to bail someone out of jail?”
  26. If you are sitting around with your friends who are couples and they start to argue and then ask for your opinion… gracefully say that you aren’t versed enough in the topic to make an opinion. Do not take sides. NO MATTER WHAT.
  27. Every year around my birthday I end up going through old pictures and looking at stuff from when I was a kid and even before. This, without fail, always tugs at my heart. On one hand it reminds me of all the people that I’ve lost over the years… my Pawpaw, my Grandma, the wonderful Wanda Lee, my Uncle Paul, Grandpa Bob, and this list can go on. But as much as each of those losses tugs at my heart, it also reminds me that I have been loved tremendously by some very wonderful people in my life… some that are still with me and some that have passed. Regardless, it reminds me how blessed I have been in my life.
  28. Eat well. Foodie family as I have mentioned often. When I turned 18, my Dad wrote me the sweetest letter about how much he loved being my Dad. I still have it tucked away somewhere, but he made sure to point out that: “By the time you were 10 you were a more expensive date than some of my girlfriends… ordering shrimp cocktail, prime rib and crème brûlée.” I still order well and fully believe that a good meal should not be rushed or under appreciated. Thank goodness my family agrees.
  29. I love shoe shopping and it is a stress reliever for me. And I just adore a good and fun shoe.
  30. It does not matter how old you are, I think Disney World is the most magical place on earth every time I go and I cannot wait to take LiLi there this summer with the Bestie and Mikey. It is going to be such fun to experience the magic through her eyes!
  31. As someone older and wiser than me once said: “Make friends. Acquaintances are nice and connections are beneficial, but the friendships and relationship you develop make it all worthwhile.”
  32. Making the decision to go into higher education as a career choice was a great one… not only have I gotten to work with amazing students who have taught me so much, but I have also learned many life lessons, such as: how to pick a lock, how to break up a fight between two drunk men, how to stop and overflowing toilet, how to calm irate parents, and that if a vice president calls and says they need a ride to the emergency room, they are not testing how you respond to a crisis… they really do need a ride to the hospital. Also, I really hate blood… the medical profession is not for me.

And two for good measure:

34. I can’t live without music. I don’t know what I would do if I didn’t have The Beatles and countless other musicians of all backgrounds to listen to on my Ipod.

35. I love flowers. Seriously, I am looking forward to swinging in the hammock at my Dad’s this summer and being surrounded by hydrangeas, peonies, dahlias, roses and goodness knows what other cool things in the garden while reading a book. And yes, I realize that I am a dork for admitting this. Who cares.

So that is the list so far. Friends… anything you think I have left out?

2 Comments leave one →
  1. Sarah Darling permalink
    April 24, 2013 2:12 pm

    I really enjoyed reading this, Kimberly! Glad that the later part of #32 prepared you for my frantic phone call in January. I’ll never forget how quickly you dropped everything and stayed by my side until the Darlings arrived!

    Again, Happy Birthday – here’s to 32 more years that are just as fantastic, adventurous and hilarious as the 32 items you’ve chosen to share with us here! 🙂

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