Yesterday was my birthday, so I thought I’d share just a few things I’ve learned in the past year.

1. If you continually feel like the new person in a social situation—like you’re the only one who doesn’t know everybody or has somehow missed out on some common knowledge shared by everybody else—just go up and start talking to someone. Learn about them and ask them questions about their life. You’ll stop focusing on yourself and your junior high-feeling weirdness, and you just may make a friend out of the process.

2. A blog conference is so much more fun with a husband in tow. If you’re a blogger, do what you can to bring along your spouse. They’ll meet people you’ve talked about for years, they’ll better understand what it is you do, and you’ll have your “home base” with you when things get tiring or awkward.

call the midwife

3. Call the Midwife is an amazing, heart-wrenching, heartwarming show. Required viewing accessory: Kleenex.

4. As obnoxious as people who are into Myers-Briggs can be when they’re incessantly talking about Myers-Briggs, it really is such a helpful tool once you understand your unique personality. I finally pegged myself an INTJ (after years of thinking I was an ENTP, ENTJ, or an ENFP), and I’ve really come to understand myself so much better this past year. I’m thankful for resources like Myers-Briggs.

5. Harney & Sons hot cinnamon spice tea. Trust me on this one. You’re welcome. (You can get it at Barnes & Noble.)

6. Owning a fixer-upper home is more fun than you might imagine, and also less fun. After a year of living in one, I submit that yes, it’s fun to finally get to knock down walls and lay down flooring you love, but you also stop caring as much, and this will surprise you. You start to be okay with that less-than-desirable bathroom light fixture, because in the big scheme of things, who really cares?

7. It’s okay to have unread emails in your inbox. It doesn’t make you a bad person.

8. It feels really, really good to get rid of half your clothes. You’d think, after writing an entire book about decluttering, that I’d remember that. But I still need that reminder, and boy, did it feel good to take three boxes of clothes to the thrift store earlier this summer.


9. If you’re riding up a ski lift and feeling like your knee is a bit weak, LISTEN TO IT. Don’t try a black run anyway. Do what you wanted to do during the lunch break, and stay in the lodge and read a book by the fire. It’ll save you thousands in medical bills and hours in physical therapy.

10. Writing a book can be done with small children if you carve out a solid month to do nothing else. No dinner making, no laundry folding, nothing. Just you and your laptop, from 6 a.m. to 5 p.m., with two one-hour breaks for meals—a solid month. You’ll be more than a little insane when you’re done, but you’ll have a book.

I’ve learned more than that, of course, but I want to go play and kick back with my dark chocolate—I’m starting this 37th year right. In all seriousness, though, I’m so very thankful to each and every one of you for being readers here—you’re the reason I wake up excited to do what I do. I’m honored, humbled, and encouraged by your presence. You people rock my socks off. Thank you.