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In 10 days I turn 30, so I have compiled this list of "Things I have learned about myself in my 20s." This is not merely "Things I have learned in my 20s," as that would take up a lot more space. Instead I'm just focusing on me, me, me.

Family, friends, and other interpersonal communications:
My husband and family members are my best friends. I don't have any others. That's perfectly fine with me. I was blessed with a cool family.
The internet is a grand thing for my social-interaction needs. I can close the application if I'm tired of you, and no hard feelings. I do get tired of people and need frequent breaks, and it's usually nothing personal.
The best way to make friends is to hang around and be normal. Pretty soon someone else will show up, who is not at all normal, and will freak out the person you are trying to befriend. This will make you look wonderfully sane in comparison, and the person will turn to you for help and sympathy.
In fact, a good way to get ahead at work is to pick up the slack when your coworkers are absent or otherwise incompetent. Other people's mediocrity can really make you shine.
I almost never enjoy a political debate, especially if I'm involved. It isn't worth losing someone's friendship or affection over a difference of opinion regarding people neither of you will ever meet.
That said, if you're a rabid hatemonger of any persuasion--and I've met plenty on both ends of the left-right spectrum--then you aren't worth my time, and I will probably never consider you a real friend in the first place.

Substances:
Taking pharmaceutical products for pain or illness does not tend to help me very much, and is seldom worth the side effects. Water, good food, sleep, massage, distraction, and laughter all work better.
I seldom feel any benefit from drinking alcohol, and what benefit I do feel can be delivered by merely one drink. I therefore prefer to nurse just one throughout an evening. I view this as a sign of good health. Other people tend to view this as a pathetic social failing. I don't think I'm the one who needs to get my priorities in order here.
I am a promiscuous slut when it comes to fragrance. I want to have one signature scent that I love and that everyone compliments me on, but I rarely discover such a thing; and even if I do swear fealty to a particular scent, I live in fear of it being discontinued, as fragrances often are. So I am constantly in search of not only the perfect perfume, but five or six reliable backups. I probably need to rein in this habit.

Health and beauty:
The following things make me feel healthy and happy: Dark chocolate. Sex. Laughter. Deep breaths of fresh air. Good music. Naps; or sleep in general.
I usually can't eat an entire meal at any given restaurant. Portion sizes are too big. I function much better with snacking and small meals throughout the day.
Pregnancy is, so far, both harder and easier than I thought it would be. I feared worse, yet hoped I would breeze through with no ill side-effects at all.
Keeping my eyebrows plucked into shape is a good idea. Someone should have taught it to me when I was a teenager. Instead I had to figure it out for myself when I was 25.
My hair is wavy. Not straight, not curly. It is best to embrace this, and work with it.
I have gotten sick much less frequently since a) making sleep a high priority, and b) taking vitamins regularly. (Currently, a prenatal multi, a calcium/magnesium, and a B-complex. I used to take vitamin C but that didn't seem to have much effect on whether I got sick or not. B-complex seems a much better boost to my immune system.)
In fact, I am unusually healthy compared to others around me, and in general am healthier now than I was when I was younger. 90% of what ails me is mental or emotional.

Geography and travel:
I never again want to live in California's Central Valley. Basically I never again want to live in California, at least until the crazy prices come down.
Three separate visits have confirmed it: I would like to have the UK as a second home. (Despite their crazy prices.)
When traveling, I prefer to make a base camp in one location, and visit the surrounding area from there, rather than drag my stuff from one town to another, spending the night somewhere new every day or two.
I used to think I liked winter the best. Now I like autumn and spring the best. The moderate weather soothes me. Thus I'm well suited to live in Seattle.

The arts:
I still want to be a novelist, but am much less enamored of the industry than I was as a teen. It will be okay with me if I'm not a best-selling, widely-recognized writer, as long as I'm a critically-acclaimed one. (i.e., I get a few good reviews in actual newspapers.)
It would also be pretty cool if I end up as a librarian.
The enjoyment of writing posts for LJ, and swapping comments, is almost equal to the enjoyment of getting feedback for fiction I've written. My enjoyment of writing a novel, however, and looking through the finished novels I have written, is unsurpassed. Creating and sustaining these other worlds is necessary to my sanity. I get unhappy when I'm between stories.
In my 20s I did a couple singing auditions for community theater, but I quite possibly might never do so again. Theater is tremendous fun, but I'll leave the singing to others.
I love reading fine literature, listening to fine music, and viewing fine artwork (in all its forms, including film), but I cannot stand the atmosphere of liberal-arts academia for very long, so I will only enjoy these things as a consumer and free citizen, and not as a scholarly "expert".
Though it happens rarely, I am still capable of falling head over heels into fangirly love with a book and/or film. Thank you, LOTR.
That said, I do not take fandom as seriously as many fans do. I enjoy laughing at the phenomenon of being so in love with these characters, because hey, I'm in love; I feel good. Other fans view my laughter as derision or sarcasm. I don't plan to change on this count, so I hope they lighten up.

List open to more items as I think of them...

Comments

( 26 comments — Leave a comment )
thomas_a_kempis
Aug. 12th, 2005 09:39 am (UTC)
Lemondrop has a good Mom.

+
mollyringle
Aug. 12th, 2005 10:48 am (UTC)
Thank you! A wonderful compliment indeed - especially from a parent.
modmerseygirl
Aug. 12th, 2005 10:18 am (UTC)
A lovely list! :-) *hugs* Happy early birthday! So it's 8/22, then? ::jots down:: I was just updating my calendar and address book, so I'm glad you mentioned this.

*mwuah!*
mollyringle
Aug. 12th, 2005 10:49 am (UTC)
Thank you, and yep - 8/22. I don't expect LJ folks to do anything about it, though, honestly. :) I never remember LJ b-days...I'm bad that way.
modmerseygirl
Aug. 13th, 2005 08:55 am (UTC)
Well.....I'm glad I *do* know. Just because. ;-) *hugs*

Do you have big plans to celebrate your day?
mollyringle
Aug. 13th, 2005 08:02 pm (UTC)
So far no big plans, though it's very near a big party for my parents' anniversary this year, so I figure I'll enjoy seeing everyone then. I'm accustomed to people being out of town / on vacation in August. I hear they might bring me some cheesecake at work though... :)
modmerseygirl
Aug. 14th, 2005 09:36 am (UTC)
Mmmm, cheesecake! *rubs tummy* Any particular flavour? Strawberry is probably my favourite, although Oreo is killer!

Have a beautiful birthday. :-) You deserve it! *hugs*
kalquessa
Aug. 12th, 2005 10:35 am (UTC)
Neat list!

Dude, I hear you about the one-drink-per-evening thing! I have had coworkers very seriously exhort me to build up my alcohol tolerance. Why? I like being a cheap date! If I don't mind working on the same gin & tonic for three hours I don't see why anyone else should care.

Have you found Seattle to be less expensive to live in than CA? I was told by a friend that it wasn't much different.
mollyringle
Aug. 12th, 2005 10:55 am (UTC)
Exactly - what benefits come of a high alcohol tolerance? How likely are we to end up like the chick in 'Raiders of the Lost Ark', and find ourselves winning a drinking contest and thereby getting our opponent unconscious, and saving Indiana Jones? Because that's about the only benefit I can think of.

Seattle isn't cheap, but the housing is about the same price as moderate-sized cities in California. Rent is comparable to that in Davis, and actually house prices were higher in Davis, I think. The Bay Area and L.A. area are much higher in terms of housing. It's still possible, though getting less likely every year, to buy a decent house for under $300,000 within city limits - and by "decent" I mean it isn't in a "Look out!! He's got a gun!!" neighborhood.

Also, gasoline was always a bit pricer in Cali, and taxes were higher: CA has both a state income tax and a sales tax, whereas WA has a sales tax (and a high one at that) but no state income tax.

But hey, go here and play with city prices, and see what you find: http://houseandhome.msn.com/pickaplace/comparecities.aspx (I just found that. Fun!)
libation
Aug. 12th, 2005 11:01 am (UTC)
I had a former friend who tried to school me in the ways of binge drinking. She advised me to develop a taste for beer, as it's cheaper than mixed drinks and will get you just as drunk. I looked at her like she was crazy, she looked at me like I was crazy--the friendship was destined to end, I guess.
mollyringle
Aug. 12th, 2005 11:05 am (UTC)
You don't want to get as drunk as possible? Why not?? So what if you're sicker than a dog the next day and a half, and might actually die of alcohol poisoning? It's fun! Get with it!

...Yeah, I never got the frat-party mentality at all, either. :) As some wise woman once put it, "I like to know when I'm having a good time."
libation
Aug. 12th, 2005 12:55 pm (UTC)
She definitely belonged to the schizophrenically religious school of thought: I must get drunk enough to have a reasonable excuse for moral lapses. Cursed inhibitions!
celtic4
Aug. 12th, 2005 12:36 pm (UTC)
Wise words! Thanks for posting that. :D
mollyringle
Aug. 12th, 2005 05:34 pm (UTC)
Thanks! May I get wiser yet in the next decade. :)
bluesound
Aug. 13th, 2005 02:27 am (UTC)
Yes, alcohol is an interesting one. I have a stereotype to live up to that's why my tolerance to it is quite high. ;)

If I drink I always behave myself unlike some other people I'm not mentioning. I do think it's rather unfair how people seem to go on at people who don't drink. I saw it at work a couple of month back, where someone was being asked why they didn't drink by some of the helpcentre staff at work, who looked at him, oddly and regarding it as highly abnormal and acted like they were almost offended by it. I might have stepped in and defended the poor non drinker had he not been someone I personally found highly irritating.

There's a lot to be said for taking your time enjoying a drink, especially sitting in the sun in a beer garden/holyrood park/calton hill with friends, talking about life, the universe and everything.
mollyringle
Aug. 13th, 2005 08:04 pm (UTC)
Yes...it's easier to carry on a conversation when you're still relatively sober, too. :)

You do indeed have a national stereotype to live up to there, though, and probably some extra peer pressure as a result. :) I probably have it easier in the Northwest where healthy living is trendy. Then again, we do have a lot of microbreweries...
impetuousnote
Aug. 13th, 2005 02:37 am (UTC)
I really liked the list! I am just now beginning my 20's, and I'm very excited to learn new things about me and how I change in the next decade or so. I'm finding that I'm a pretty cool person. Good luck with the next 30 years!
mollyringle
Aug. 13th, 2005 08:05 pm (UTC)
Thanks! And indeed, you are a cool person. :)
blagden
Aug. 16th, 2005 09:04 am (UTC)
Happy Birthday to you! I just got done reading your novel. I am at work so I can not d/l the follow up yet nor really get into all my thoughts on it. I give it 2 thumbs up though. :-) Not sure how often you were going to be checking responses on that journal so I thought I'd get your attention here first. You have no shortage of writing talent and I'd love the opportunity to discuss your work with you online some point. But for now I must go. Cheers. :-) Paul
mollyringle
Aug. 16th, 2005 03:12 pm (UTC)
Thanks on all counts! Right now it's under review with the ebook publisher who bought my (one and only) published e-novel, so we'll see what she says.

Oh, and I do get the responses on the other journal just as regularly as this one. I simply have phases where I'm bad about responding. :)
(Anonymous)
Aug. 19th, 2005 08:56 pm (UTC)
Funny as anything
I came across your parody of the Two Towers and just wanted to tell you that 3 years later it's still funny. Mind if I link it for others to enjoy in an email? That is funny stuff!!! I can't even finish it I'm laughin' so bad! Thanks! -oh and the best is when the People Who Read The Book chime in. So dang funny!!
mollyringle
Aug. 20th, 2005 09:41 am (UTC)
Re: Funny as anything
Thanks! Yep, feel free. Don't know if you discovered this, but all the parodies are conveniently posted on my webpage too: http://home.earthlink.net/~ladyirony

Cheers--
M.
(Anonymous)
Aug. 19th, 2005 08:57 pm (UTC)
Same as Before
oops-and Happy Birthday-welcome to the club!!!
wandererrob
Aug. 22nd, 2005 04:54 pm (UTC)
Strange that I happen to be reading this 10 days after you posted it. :)

Happy Birthday! I hope 30 is treating you well so far.

Fear not (which is not to say you *are* fearing), your 30s will be just a good and fun as your 20s were. You're just a little wiser in the process. I've made it through the first 2 years without incident and don't feel much different. :D
mollyringle
Aug. 24th, 2005 03:19 pm (UTC)
Thank you! Actually, yeah, I'm looking forward to the 30s. Still cool, still young, just smarter. :) Those 20s were so aimless.
wandererrob
Aug. 24th, 2005 09:11 pm (UTC)
My 30s are still aimless, but at least I'm gainfully employed. So the aimlessness is kinda fun. :D
( 26 comments — Leave a comment )