What I Learned in 2015…

January 28, 2016 in Finish-The-Sentence Friday

I know we’re a month into 2016 already, but it’s always a fun exercise to reflect on the previous year..Was it good? Did it suck? Did I travel? Was it a blur? (Aren’t they all?) And, most importantly, what did I learn last year?

I was trying to decide if I could pick just one thing that I learned in 2015 and the answer is no. I’ve got a whole list of what I learned last year — which I’ve narrowed down to ten lessons. Some are serious and some are not, but all are important to me. So….In 2015, I learned that:

  1. A 50th birthday needs to be celebrated all year, not just for one day.
  2. I still miss my mom everyday and I know that won’t change ever.
  3. When one child decides to attend boarding school, the next oldest child will become intrigued and decide he wants to attend boarding school too…we’ll leave that as TBD for now.
  4. I still hate to cook. But, I’ve been told (by Little Dude) that I’m actually pretty good at it!
  5. I LOVE to help high school students with their college application essays. And since discovering that, I explored the industry and found a great opportunity: I’m now going to be employed as an “essay specialist” at a test prep/college counseling company.
  6. Writing a novel is MUCH harder than it looks. I attempted to participate in NaNoWriMo (which stands for National Novel Writing Month) and let’s just say I did not reach the goal of a complete novel by the end of November. 5,000 words should count for something though!
  7. Anyone who has any interest in creativity and self-expression should go on the Haven retreat in Whitefish, Montana. One of the most unique experiences of my life!
  8. Going away with just “the girls” is a must — and should be mandated as an annual trip.
  9. Everyone needs an outlet, whether it’s creative, athletic or simply not work. Tennis is mine. When I’m having the crappiest of days, I can get on the court and forget about my troubles for that 90 minutes.
  10. Some years are considered “good” and others — like 2013 for me – really, really bad. But, most of all I’ve learned that there can be bright spots in those ugly years and dark times in those great years. I’ve learned to ride those waves much better than I used to. Recently, someone told me that she took up surfing. Although I have no desire to actually surf (I’m not an ocean lover – JAWS traumatized me), I realized that I took up surfing too — in a metaphorical way, in case you didn’t catch that.

I’d love to hear what lessons you have learned in 2015…please let me know below!

** This has been a “Finish-The-Sentence-Friday” blog post. To read more posts on this topic, click on this cute picture here:


{ 21 comments… read them below or add one }

Kristi Campbell January 28, 2016 at 10:17 pm

Oh I love these! And to being a better cook than you thought? So awesome. Also yes 50 should be celebrated for like ever (I’m getting closer and closer and yikes but also not ya know??). UGH to the novel — same here. Thank you so much for linking up!
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ohboymom January 28, 2016 at 10:24 pm

Yeah, the novel-writing was one of the “bigger” lessons…so damn hard! I think I may have to stick to memoirs and personal essays!


Kenya G. Johnson January 28, 2016 at 10:19 pm

Omgosh Jaws traumatized me too. My parents went to see it a drive in and I was supposed to be sleep on the backseat. I got in the ocean in Jamaica last year and that was a big deal. Not just the beach shore but the OCEAN ocean. Congrats on #5! And I too wish I could get a girls weekend every year. It’s so wonderful and retreat-ish.
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ohboymom January 28, 2016 at 10:22 pm

I’m glad I’m not the only shark-phobic person out there, even though JAWS aired a million years ago! :)


Kenya G. Johnson January 28, 2016 at 10:27 pm

Now I’m hoping I don’t dream about it tonight ?


ohboymom January 28, 2016 at 10:29 pm

Ha – me too!!


Kenya G. Johnson January 29, 2016 at 8:12 am

I survived!

Janine Huldie January 28, 2016 at 11:37 pm

What great lessons and I will be 40 next year and wonder if I could apply #1 to that for me next year 😉
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ohboymom January 29, 2016 at 11:59 am

Absolutely Janine – that rule applies to all big birthday milestones…40 counts! :)


Michelle Grewe January 29, 2016 at 10:10 am

I like the idea of celebrating a birthday all year long. I’m going to need more Liquor for this.
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ohboymom January 29, 2016 at 11:59 am

Ha – I love that. :)


Kelly L McKenzie January 29, 2016 at 7:08 pm

Oh now these are very wise. All ten. Congrats on the “essay specialist job” – that is really exciting. I love how life unfolds.
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ohboymom January 31, 2016 at 3:51 pm

Thanks Kelly and yes, after literally “falling into” this new job, I was struck by how sometimes things work out in such a logical way!


Dana January 29, 2016 at 9:52 pm

Your new job sounds so cool! I had the same job this past fall, but it was for one kid who is related to me and it was quite stressful. I’d love to do it for other kids, though.

Yes to girls’ trips and an outlet just for you. May your 2016 have lots of room for both!
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ohboymom January 31, 2016 at 3:49 pm

Thanks Dana and yes, I can understand how helping your own kid with college applications can be so stressful. My son will be applying this coming fall and I’m debating whether to help him myself or out-source to someone else!


Vidya Sury January 30, 2016 at 12:02 pm

I am absolutely with you in your list! There’s something so significant about turning “50”! I remember telling my Mom it is like being half way there and she’d say – Oh! So you expect to live to a 100? I miss my Mom all the time and that’s a permanent ache! My son went to college this year and we are all managing better than we imagined. Sigh. Not saying I don’t secretly cry…but you know how that is.

I love the going away with the girls! I try and meet up with my “gang” as often as I can.

Oh, your post is so feel-good! Thank you for sharing!
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ohboymom January 31, 2016 at 3:48 pm

Thank you for reading and for your comments too – I appreciate it and glad you enjoyed my list. :)


Chris Carter January 31, 2016 at 11:54 pm

WOW, Emily- what a LIST! I’m THRILLED you got a job doing something I KNOW you would be so good at doing. WOOHOO!! Yay for YOU!!

And I am totally impressed with those 5,000 words. I couldn’t do it. That is awesome!!! What is your book about? I’m so curious!

I want to go to a writing retreat… it sounds heavenly. <3

My heart sank when I read about you still missing your mom. I know that will never change, and I'm just so sorry. I hate this for you.
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ohboymom February 1, 2016 at 5:35 pm

Thanks Chris – I always love your comments. :) To answer your question, my book is about a mom who “goes off the deep end” when her son gets cancer…I came up with the idea on my writing retreat because another writer/mom there had children with medical issues and we both commented on the fact that everyone (not there on the retreat, but in our lives) always told us what “good moms” we were. I always found it to be an odd compliment because wouldn’t every mother do anything they possibly could for their child, and especially one who was sick? The answer to that is most likely yes, but there is probably a very minute percentage of parents who couldn’t handle it and perhaps spiral downward. Anyway, our retreat leader thought I could write a novel about a mom caring for her ill child, who gradually loses it and doesn’t keep it together. We’ll see how far I get with it…it’s hard to deviate from real life!!


Lisa Sadikman February 3, 2016 at 11:05 pm

Yes to #1 applying to ALL birthdays after 40! So exciting that you discovered a new job and I totally agree with creativity needing an outlet no matter what. And, um, 5000 words? That’s awesome.
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ohboymom February 4, 2016 at 5:45 pm

Thanks Lisa, I appreciate your comments. I guess 5,000 words would be great if I kept going with it…I haven’t even attempted to write more of the book since November!


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