Thursday, October 2, 2014

22 Things I've Learned in 22 Years

Today is my birthday. I'm celebrating by taking the day off work, eating breakfast with an old friend, perusing antique shops and going to a job interview. Yay, responsible adulthood....

[it's a .22. you know, because i'm turning 22...oh, never mind.]

Anyways, I started thinking about how long 22 years really is, and all the things that have happened in that time. I would say that my life has been not quite exciting, but interesting enough. I realized that I have learned a good number of things over the years.

1. God is faithful.

I say it time and time again. He holds my heart. He is with me in my hardest times. He has never forsaken me.

2. People fail you.

To be blunt, people are stupid. I'm just gonna throw that out there. Some days, it's really hard to keep a good attitude, and it's hard to avoid cynicism. But then I think of the people close to me, and I forget about the others.

3. Hold on tightly to your family and friends.

See #2. I'm spoiled; really, I am. I have two married parents, three doting grandparents, 3 loyal brothers, a hilarious sister-in-law, some pretty awesome aunts and uncles and several very cool cousins. I also have an amazing brain-sister, along with a horde of friends who are hilarious and also challenge me in my walk with God.

 [she's the Watson to my Sherlock, the Elphaba to my Glinda, the Jane to my Lizzie, the Sam to my Frodo, the Elsa to my Anna, the Diana to my Anne, the Kili to my Fili, the Loki to my Thor...]
[the secret circus. which is an inside joke. we four have spent half our lives together.]

4. You learn most by shutting up and observing.

*sigh* It would be great if I could remember this more often. As it is, I need this duct-taped to my forehead, because it is SO TRUE.

5. Pets are God's gift to humans.

If you have never had a pet, you might not understand this. I had one dog for half of my life. Makita was my happiness. When I knew I was about to cry, I went to talk to her. I could tell her anything, and she didn't care. She just continued to grin and motion to the tennis ball at my feet. Sometimes, a ball of fur is the best therapy a person can have.

6. Keep singing, no matter what.

I really believe music comes from your heart. And sometimes things squeeze your heart so badly that you can't and don't want to sing anymore. But then I think you have to find a little bit different reason to sing. For me, Jesus is usually that reason. 

7. Driving is overrated.

Because your parents want you to chauffeur them everywhere. And then there's things like after-market rims that are made of magnesium that can't be welded when they CRACK.

8. Don't be too quick to judge people.

Another thing that hasn't made it completely through my thick head. I have a very bad habit of criticizing people without knowing the full story, and I'm usually so wrong every single time.

9. People believe what you do, not what you say.

I have observed this, you know? Perhaps I saw more of this because I grew up in the shadow of a steeple, but I wouldn't say that all church people are phonies. I've met several people in the workforce who put on good shows, too. All the more reminder to me to stop mouthing off what I believe and actually act on it.

10. God's Word really has the answers to everything.

The older I become, the less this feels like a cliche. I love Proverbs because of its practical wisdom, but sometimes my answers have come from random places, like Ezekiel or 1 Chronicles. He never ceases to surprise me. 

11. Time changes your perspective.

Sometimes, I think I would pay money to go back to a world where I was 10 and oblivious. There are some lessons nobody wants to learn, at least not from personal experience.

12. Fictional characters can show your own faults in an uncanny way.

Again, if you aren't a reader, you might not get this. This is my main argument with my mom. The point of fiction is lessons, examples, role models, moral reference points.... It's really hard to describe the feeling of reading about a person's thoughts and actions and realizing they mirror those of your own. I'm experiencing this again reading through Emma.

13. The harder you work for something, the more you appreciate it.

I learned this through 8 years of 4-H and crying over fair week. I hated learning to sew. But now I'm glad I know to read a pattern and use the machine. I hate ripping out rows of crocheted shells. But I own a pretty flippin' sweet lace lampshade. 


I have no words for this. Because having words for this means admitting that I was stupid enough to think Walmart gives you your credit card rewards.

15. Flirting never works.

I may be unqualified to say this, because the only guy who ever flirted with me was the weirdo from summer school algebra class who followed my friend and me around the local vintage car show. Very, very attractive. But, still, I am convinced that being cute and coy is how you attract boyfriends, not husbands.

16. Weddings are beautiful, but a strong marriage is gorgeous.

I am obsessed with weddings. I love to pick colors, listen to love songs, match bridesmaid dresses and study bridal gowns. I have a whole Pinterest board devoted to modest wedding gowns. (Isn't Pinterest wonderful for feeding obsessions?!) But when the confetti is gone, and the cake is all eaten, you have to know how to live with someone for the rest of your life. So which one should I be more obsessed with building? It's something I've thought a lot about the past couple of years.

17. Wait for the right guy to show up.

I hate this. It's hard for me. There aren't very many guys in my circles that share the same interests as I do. Most of them just want a girl who spends 2 hours every day curling her hair and poofing it to kingdom come. HAH. Plus, I live in the same town as a Bible college, so then we have the ones who are so spiritually-minded they would not lower themselves to such things as reading fiction. HA. HA. HA. So, I sit tight, and whine a bit, and pout a bit. Then I kick myself and ask God to make me the wife that my husband is looking for.

18. People watch you. Mostly kids.

I never really got this until the last year or so. I spent a semester teaching a Sunday School class for 6-8-year-olds, and, wow, are they quick. I'm also becoming aware of how much more convincing your actions are than your words. See #9.

19. Shoes do wonders for morale.

Praise the Lord for wedge flipflops. And polka dot heels.

20. You really truly learn something new every day.

Again, this is less cliched the older I get. I notice more and more how often I find a little bit of trivia. And then the more I get out on my own, the more I realize how little I actually know. WHICH IS TOTALLY AND COMPLETELY PARALYZINGLY FRIGHTENING.

21. I will never have it all figured out.

See #20. Every time I think I have something down-pat, part of it changes. I am convinced I will always be about 3 1/2 steps behind my peers. And some days, it's 6 steps.

22. God is faithful.

I have to include this twice. Because it's so much more true than anything else I could ever grasp in this life. No matter what happens to me, God never changes, and His Word has never lied. There are no words to express the peace that gives me.

 in this time of trial
pain that no one sees
trust Me when I say
that I will give you perfect peace

and you'll never walk alone
and you'll never be in need
though I may not calm the storms around you
you can hide in Me


  1. I LOVE THIS. Simultaneously sweet, funny, and so, so true. God bless you, Joanna. ♥♥

    1. Thank you, Peregrin! Blessings right back at ya! :-)

  2. #19. So true. ;) God bless you, and the happiest of birthdays!!

    1. Isn't it though?! One of my good friends got me an adorable pair of turquoise wedges with rope braid on the heel today. They're perfect. :-) Bless you, too, and thank you!

  3. Happy (belated) birthday!!!!

    Regarding #22, I direct you to the wise words of Mr. Knightley -- men of sense do not want silly wives.

    Regarding #12, I'm now curious about how your mom was arguing with you about this. I love fiction because it helps me learn about people who are radically different from me, to taste what their lives are like. And because it lets me explore emotions and situations I would not otherwise encounter. AND because it provides me with imaginary friends...

    Anyway, happy birthday again! :-D

    1. Thank you! :-)

      I'm guessing you meant #15 or #17 (?), and I know. I just read that quote again, and we were discussing this at work, too. Why do guys think it's cute when pretty girls act dumb? It makes us average girls feel like our smarts are worthless. We need more guys who aren't afraid of girls who know a thing or two.

      And the argument with my mom has been going on my whole life, so it's basically our personalities clashing. She's very practical, and I'm very, uh, dreamy. She hates Shakespeare, and I could discuss Macbeth for hours (even though I hate it and Lady Macbeth gave me nightmares). We growled our way through her college Lit class, because I liked Hamlet and Gilgamesh, and she didn't see the point. She thought it was all weird and Edgar Allan Poe was on drugs. [I'm not totally ruling that out. :-D] And, sadly, no one else in my house has even cracked a Tolkien book, so they shut me down because they don't get it. LOL So, yeah, Mom just thinks fiction is overrated, that's all.

    2. My dad pretty much doesn't read fiction. Doesn't need or want it. Though when he retires in a few years, that may change. However, he very much so encouraged us to read fiction, and thinks it's amazing that I can write stories. Just not his thing. He has his theological books instead. My mom reads fiction, though.

      Me, if I don't have at least one book going at all times, part of me shrivels.

      (I did mean #17. Where did 22 come from? Blame the painkillers I was on.)

    3. Yep, that's my mom. We never lacked for books to read, and she did feed my love for reading growing up. That was one good thing about homeschooling. But she doesn't get as much into it as I do. To me, reading is breathing.

      Painkillers can be handy like that. ;-)

  4. Can I just say how impressed I am with that lampshade? Wow! Music and dogs are wonderful creations. And God is amazingly awesome and fabulous and wonderful and every other word in the thesaurus. His constant faithfulness knows no bounds and I'm continually in amazement of how He loves me! It humbles me every single time I think about it.

    1. Thanks! I made it only because Mom asked for it, but now I'm kind of fond of it, probably because it took more work on my part.

      And, yes, it is VERY humbling to think how great He is, and how much He cares for us even still.