Normally this is a blog about my son, autism, and the ups and downs. I would say this is very relevant. I am turning 36 today. That means I have had ten years of autism under my belt, a degree, several jobs, relationships, and a plethora of turning points, learning moments. But the one thing I don't have is regrets. I have read all the blogs saying 40 things I want to do by 40, bucketlists, etc. I don't have a bucketlist, nor do I really want one. Instead I have compliled a list of 36 things I don't regret.
#1 Not selling out in high school.
I was always one to speak my mind. I remember one chemistry class where some male students were teasing an unpopular girl about how much she liked one of the "jocks", until she had tears in her eyes and I couldn't take it. I told all of them where to "stick it", and honestly, I have no idea if she remembers it, where she is, and I may have lost some "friends". I took the crap instead of her for the rest of that semester from those assholes, but I see so many people just stand there while others get bullied. Don't do it. Even as adults.
#2 Getting addicted to coffee.
I love Starbucks, I love Caribou, Dunn brothers, and mochas of all kinds. It was an acquired taste, and I have found out of the way little coffee shops cleverly hidden in Vegas, California, and Mexico, and its an adventure in caffeine. It helps me stay awake, and get things done without speed or crack.
#3 Risking looking like a fool
I sing in my car. Loudly. I talk to strangers. I dance with my kids. It feels like life, and I won't stop doing it.
I don't want to hear anyone say its for men, or its a bad job. I learned more about people and psychology, and how to be a bad ass and take even less crap than I did before. I got to pick the music (and I often picked Kenny Rogers The Gambler to piss off the blackjack dealers and make me laugh), make good money, and learn how to make a cement mixer and people watch. Truly glorious job.
#5 Staying in Fargo
When I was in high school and college, computers were very up and coming. Yeah, I'm old. I liked a class called "Hypercard." I made a little tropical bird walk across ice and fall in, I thought I was an art and computer god. I wanted to work for Pixar and move to California. My life is different than that, and I like North Dakota. I like open country, small towns, and fresh air. All the things I hated as a teenager.
#6 Wasting time in elementary school and junior high learning the lyrics to all my favorite songs.
I still do this. I used to make mixed tapes, and call radio DJs. (I still do that second part too. :) Music is therapy. It makes you feel anything you let it. It takes you a milllion places, holds memories, changes your mood. Learn the words.
#7 Spending money.
Yes, I could have bought less shoes (not my snakeskin red and black heels from Rock Republic) but none the less, I love them. I love clothes, I love coffee, I love telling my kids they can order the giant brownie earthquake sometimes, but most of all, I love vacations. Memories are more important than things. I would not trade a saved million dollars for all the stories I have.
#8 Marriage number one.
Notice I didn't say divorce. I do not regret the relationship. We are still "friends". We have an amazing teenager. Ex is married to an awesome lady with great kids, and we were too young. We learned to grow up fast, and how to parent.
#9 Leaving toxic friends behind.
Some people make you feel bad, period. They are draining, they are tiring, and they take more than they give. Cut them out of your life, and you won't look back. I'm sure I have been that person at times, and if people cut me out, they were probably right to do it.
It's therapy. Yes, its personal. Yes, you will piss some people off, but you will inspire others. You will get the words out you are holding in your heart and your head. You will learn about yourself, and maybe teach some a few things.
#11 Bikini waxing
Damn they hurt, but you don't have to shave as often. They are embarassing, and less fun then the gynecologist, but I still go. Don't do it for your man, do it for yourself. It makes a few things more convenient.
I've heard people say waitressing is demeaning. It's not. I made amazing tips, and I met numerous kinds of people, and had some great conversations. Everyone should try it once. I can also carry 15 drinks in heels.
#13 Speaking my mind.
Okay, this one was probably a really bad idea at times. Like when your thoughts come out too fast like word vomit, and you tell someone what you really should have kept to yourself. "I DO hate your friends." Comes to mind, but you know, honestly truly is the best policy. Keep it in, and it will become poison and I guarantee it comes out sometime later. I fight like this with ex husband #2, my dad, and my siblings, and it works for us. Three minutes of unleashing freak out, and we're done. All the cards are on the table, take them or leave them. Don't hold the trump card, it's not fair.
#14 Letting my kids watch inappropriate television or listen to Dre, Eminem, or Sublime..etc.
They will learn bad things in school. You can either watch with them, and talk about it, or they will make up whatever crap they want to. I'd rather be the one they ask.
#15 Marrige #2
When I was 22, video games and taco bell were cool. They aren't now. He still loves those things. But we are co parents of an amazing son. We have learned together how to take on autism and he taught me a ton of Marvel Comic Hero trivia. It's not easy.
I sometimes tan. I am sometimes careful. Everything should be done in moderation. I am with those that think a little sun improves the mood, especially in cold ass ND. Vitamin D also staves off MS which affects my family.
#17 Not becoming a vegetarian.
I like bacon. Enough said. And creatures of the sea, you are delicious with butter. I will gladly crack open your legs and wierdly colored bodies, and eat the insides. Sushi is my newest love, and welcome to the club.
Yep, its a big time suck hole. But I know who married who from high school, I laugh at the funny ecards and delight in showing off my children to the world. If you annoy me, I delete you. It really is no different than watching TV, for the entertainment value, plus I can see the breaking news and that's faster than driving to the store to buy a paper. That wastes trees.
#19 Trying pot in college.
Yep, and my teenager knows it. All it did was make me want to eat the macaroni salad with peas and velveeta. I hated it once, I'd probably eat oreos now instead.
#20 Not always acting my age.
I still really like cartoons and cereal. I also like really sparkly nails. It's totally okay. If you are my age and you think its immature... You are jealous. I wanted to be Jem and the Holograms, and that is okay too.
#21 Supporting my LGBT friends.
I don't like politics. But this is one area where the Bible spewing crap needs to just stop. Unless you are crazy like Westboro, you have no excuse. You probably don't know any gay people, and you have never watched how creative the queens on RuPauls drag race are when they have to make couture from scraps in a dumpster. Way more talent than America's top model. Sorry Tyra.
#22 Law and Order SVU
Yes, mindless television kills your brain cells, but sometimes indulging yourself is fun. I would kill to be as cool as Benson on that show, and I am pretty sure I could cover up a murder now, or solve a case. The psychology behind it is intriguing, and I fully admit to seeing every episode ever made. It doesn't made me morbid or sick.
#23 Taking a job at a non profit.
No, I'm not going to be rich doing this. I am currently drowning in student loans but I LOVE my job. LOVE. That kind of helping makes you feel good, period. Tears, laughter, connecting, all of it on a level only families with children that have special health care needsd can understand. If you aren't part of this club, you miss out on another plane of life. Your perspective changes and you can never go back. Unconditional love and a lifetime of learning.
#24 Marriage #3
I took a deep breath as I typed that one. Regrets? Still no. Heavy billed divorce and huge emotional court battle. All learning lessons. If that didn't teach me how to get back up and keep going, nothing will.
#25 Random fun dating.
Nobody gets hurt. Off the top of my head, I can think of a few men that taught me very little. How to cut lemons, the shock value of being called another girls name, and how to use chopsticks, but without the wrong ones, you can't get to the right one. I know what I want and what I don't.
You know you want to, and nobody is going to laugh at you. At least to your face. There is always someone worse than you. I love it. I will do that with my girlfriends until I'm dead.
#27 Working retail.
This job sucks. You put up with holiday lines, cleaning, stacking, and organizing tedious piles of crap. I worked at Pier One for awhile. But I learned how to make schedules, manage people, and sell things nobody really wants. No offense to Pier One, their stuff is awesome. But when you push credit cards, and little kitschy add ons, you know they don't really need that rooster shaped cookie jar, or the bejeweled napkin holders for New Years dinner. I also learned a few new Christmas songs to add to my beloved holiday list of music.
#28 Leaving my Christmas tree up until February.
I love Christmas. Well, I love Christmas eve. It is nostalgia. It is my grandparent's house, and a huge small town church with candles, it is rice krispie bars dripping in chocolate, Charlie Brown, and snowmen, and my red boom box and Cyndi Lauper tape I got in 1985. The tree is a symbol of my childhood, and when my kids are gone with dad on Christmas Day or New Years and I'm alone, it is comforting.
#29 Watching the same movies over and over.
I have met a lot more people that say this is a waste of time. People that have a couple favorites, but say "I've seen that. There's nothing to watch." One of my favorite past times is quoting comedies with my siblings and my teenager. Laughter is such good medicine, and some of my favorite times involve us against them when it comes to movies we consider "classics". What do you mean you haven't seen Labyrinth? David Bowie as the Goblin King rules!
#30 Wasting time.
Life moves too fast. Some of my favorite moments are when I am doing nothing. Enjoy the sun. Play with your kids. Go for a walk in the rain. Don't believe me? Go to youtube and find Five for Fightings 100 years.
#31 Shutting my phone off.
Yes, I will miss the latest. I know how connected you have to be, but take ONE day and do this. It is freedom you haven't felt in awhile. It will SUCK for approximately two hours. Have a glass of wine, and it will go away.
My girlfriends are all laughing and saying "Duh. Wine wednesday." Designate a day for girl time. Connect with your friends. Talk about sex, and how dumb men are. Venting is healthy when done in a good way. I have learned a ton about wine, and how to properly open it, serve it, and drink it well. Thank you grapes for being awesome when you are drunk.
#33 Dancing like a freak at the bar once in awhile.
Yep, we judge. OMG, look at her! But sometimes that her should be you. Pull off sexy. Dance alone with girlfriends (not with random creepers), and let your inner Brittney or Lady Gaga come out. You feel sexy and feminine. But please wear underwear with skirts, and only ONE sexy thing at a time. Classy not trashy.
#34 Fashion risks.
My brother in law once told me he would never be seen in public with me in my lobster santa pants. Dude, they are comfortable when you have cramps, and I do not care. I also had a pair of earrings like Janet Jackoson in 7th grade. One key with hoop, one tiny gold dot. Yes it was cool. So were jelly shoes, charm bracelets, flannel, and hot pink. I don't give a shit if its trendy. If I love it, I'm wearing it. I am not hipster, I do not follow the same drummer. Unique is beautiful.
#34 Taking advice.
Most people ask for advice and don't take it. Because it is not what you want to hear. So instead you do what you want anyway..Irritating the person you asked the advice from. We aren't really asking sometimes, rather, we are looking for validation. Wanting someone to agree with what we were going to do anyway. So try taking that advice you know is right. See what happens.
#35 Dating someone with kids.
Never wanted to. Said I wouldn't. I really thought I couldn't be fair to them, and that I would always secretly favor my own. Not so. And I get to do things like shop and have coffee, and having all boys I don't get much of that. Watching someone else parent their children and have amazing moments with them makes you feel a different level of proud and admiration. It's a very new experience, and I've grown to absolutely love it.
#36 Falling in love.
When you are ready, not lonely, it is THE greatest feeling in the world. If I had hung onto my past, kept walls up, or repeated past mistakes, it would never have been possible. I didn't really believe in true love, fate, or any of the cheesy, Hallmark type things that "those" couples you make fun of talk about. It takes the right person, and more importantly, the right time in your life to come together and turn you into one of "those", like the vampires in Twilight. (Yes I do regret watching that movie.)