December 9, 2016

The Achievements You Are Most Proud Of

We have all experienced disappointments, loss, and troubles both big and small. If you live long enough there will be things you have done you'd probably like to undo. Life is a never-ending challenge that requires us to have hope in ourselves and the future.

All too often, though, we can forget our achievements, those things we have done over our lifetime that make us happy, maybe even a little proud. As we enter the last few weeks of 2016 (Yea!) I thought it might be encouraging to focus on some of the achievements that we are most proud of. I will list a few of mine to get you started. Notice that some of the things on my list seem rather small. But, that is the important thing about achievements: size doesn't matter.

1. I quit smoking (That was a tough one)

2. Raised two well-adjusted, happy daughters who want me in their lives

3. Have been happily married to the same woman for over 40 years 

4. Am loved by my grand kids

5. Rebounded from being fired to forming a successful business

6. Retired early and have made it work

7. My parents were proud of me and loved being part of my family's life

8. Learning to scuba dive

9. Haven't become a grumpy old man (yet!)

OK, what is on your list? Take a little time to think about all you have accomplished in your life. What are some things that make you smile, make you feel good, make you proud? 


  1. I have always believed if you haven't made a few whopping big 'mistakes" in life you just aren't living life to the fullest!! LOL! Risk taking is part of the journey. In my counseling work, when someone was stuck on a rough situation,I've advised : "It's not this situation which defines you--it is what you do NEXT.."

    I'm most proud of:

    Our son, who has grown into an incredible, interesting and successful man.
    Meeting and marrying my Soul Mate early in life.

    Graduating nursing school, becoming a Nurse Practitioner and my work in women' s and children' s health.
    Proud that I've always had the courage and Trust to follow our dreams wherever they have taken us! (Even proud of the boo boos, I learned a lot about myself from the "mistakes!" )

    Proud I took a Rubber stamping/card-making class with a friend about 15 years ago even when I thought I did not like "crafts"--this led to a lifelong hobby which I absolutely adore!
    I am proud I have made a commitment to twice daily meditation with Ken. It is enhancing my inner and outer life immensely!

    Thanks for another great blog post!

    1. Great list, Madeline. Betty and I expect the four of us will have a fascinating lunch together next week!

  2. RE: Comments not posting:This morning I had to hit "publish" twice. The first time around it seemed to be asking me to edit my comment and then hit the "PUBLISH" button again.I think last time I posted I hit publish and it did not post since Ii did not do the second step.

    1. Comments on the previous post pretty much confirm that the "preview" button should not be used; it causes comments to disappear. Like you, on occasion I have to hit "publish" twice to get to the next stage.

      Frankly, I doubt Google is putting a lot of energy or time into maintaining and/or improving blogger.

  3. Actually Bob, I think you did become a grumpy old man at one point, but then you came out of it!!! I think that is a real accomplishment!!!

    1. You are right, Pat. I had a down period or two but have that side of me under better control, I hope.

    2. Maybe you guys ought to switch to WordPress. They are constantly improving their blog striation and have some amazing themes with several new ones coming weekly. But I know this is probably a Ford/Chevy type thing where you can't possibly go over to the enemy camp (ha).

      I would give you my list Bob but it would take WAY too much Internet space. Thanks for continuously giving us new things to think about.

    3. I don't want to switch just because of how much I would lose in terms of links and no longer such high rankings in Google. Personally, I prefer WordPress because of its flexibility and freshness, but that ship has sailed for this blog.

    4. "Grumpy period??" Well,I had a pretty bad time of it for a few months when we moved up North.I developed bronchitis, occipital neuralgia, and was depressed.. the colder it got, the worse I felt.Luckily, it was a cycle.. as all times are! (To break the cycle I had to make some big CHANGES by the way!!!! FEELING BAD is a SIGN!!!!! -- Things do not resolve without ACTION I have found!) But we change and grow, and we come through on the other side... that's Life!

  4. Wow, that's hard to do without feeling like you are bragging. Below is my story and what I am proud of:

    1. Left high school at 16 well before graduating, bounced around a bit then entered into and completed an apprenticeship in a trade. First time I'd ever felt like I'd completed something.

    2. After finishing my apprenticeship and working full-time in the trade I completed high school at night and did well enough to be accepted into a major university after being out of full-time school for 10 years. Being accepted into university was a significant and emotional experience for me, only a few years earlier I was a grade 10 dropout.

    3. Attending university full time I finished that and went into and entirely different field from my trade (I ended up majoring in computer science at university).

    4. In the year I left university I got a job in my new field. It wasn't easy as there was a deep recession on at the time - I had to take a "summer job" that I was able to convert into full-time, bought a house, got married, and we had our first child. I am proud of all that but I wouldn't advise it as a course of action for anyone, it's a heavy load.

    5. I am of course proud of my wife of now 34 years, our two grown daughters and our 2 year old grandson (I am "dad-dad" to him) plus we have another grandchild is due in April.

    6. My career went as well as I could have expected, better than I had hoped in fact. I ended up in "local country" senior management at a major multi-national company that was headquartered in the UK, I was employed there for 20 years but there were many career hops along the way. Twice I lost my job to restructuring but was always able to find work again, flexibility was key with some contract jobs paying the bills in between full time work.

    7. My wife and I retired a couple of years early 18 months ago, we are both healthy and we are having a wonderful retirement so far. Our children live close by and we see them often, we winter vacation somewhere warm and visit Europe for 3-4 weeks each fall. You couldn't ask for a better retirement and our relationship is probably the best it's ever been. I am proud that all the saving and sacrifice we made together did, in the end, pay dividends.

    Did I make mistakes along the way? For sure and some pretty big ones too (I thank God for my understanding wife) but it all worked out I think it does for most people as long as you keep at it and don't give up. As Thomas Edison said " percent inspiration, ninety-nine percent perspiration".

    - David

    1. Great list, David. An appreciation list is a combination of pride and a reminder of what we have managed to do along the way. Too often I think we forget all the steps that got us to where we are in life, and some of those steps were quite special.

    2. David, that's quite a story,Inspiring.And real.Thanks for sharing!

  5. Like ddavidson says, it's hard to make this list without sounding like a braggart, but here goes:
    1. Learned to focus on the positives vs the negatives and changed the tape in my head.
    2. For the most part, learned from mistakes and negatives.
    3. Learned to say "no" to some things and "yes" to myself.
    4. Have lived happily single for most of the past 25 yrs.
    5. Developed a set of goals >20 yrs ago and continue to accomplish them, including the design and build of my home in the hills.
    6. Raised my son to adulthood with the help of the "village" and continue to be a part of his life.
    7. Count myself as part of a circle of friends/family that keeps going strong.
    8. Recognize and appreciate the role of nature in my life.

    1. Nicely done, Mona. The importance of #3 is something that too many of us never really grasp. Particularly in retirement, it is awfully easy to yes to others and neglect ourselfs.

  6. Lots of food for thought with this question!

    1. Getting through navy boot camp at age 24 told me that I was not the silly, flighty, unserious person I had been conditioned to believe I was by my family growing up. Every day there was hard, and yet to everyone's surprise, I finished on time and with honors. That experience taught me I could do anything I set my mind to.

    2. My 14 years as a navy spouse - they confirmed that I was a strong woman who could handle adversity (and frequent change) and learn from it as well as adapt.

    3. Earning my graduate degree in my 40s, while at the same time going through the adoption process for two of our children, recovering from a catastrophic knee injury, and handling one more major medical issue. I really don't recommend doing it my way, but I finished, and found work immediately in my field.

    4. Being happily married for nearly 38 years. We've had two somewhat stressful readjustments - when my husband retired from the navy, and again when he retired from working - but we're going stronger than ever, and looking forward to the future.

    5. I am so proud of our four children. One joined our family by birth, three through adoption. They have all grown into hard-working, interesting, intelligent, funny adults with a positive outlook on life. I look at them sometimes and wonder, "what did I do to deserve such blessings?" Our son has also brought two beautiful grandchildren into my life.

    6. Even though I didn't think so at the time, I am also proud of what I learned from mistakes along the way, and how I've used that knowledge to make a better life for me and my family. A couple of those mistakes had the potential to make me very bitter, but thankfully didn't.

    I've had a wonderful life so far and can't wait for what's ahead. There are still things I want to accomplish!

    1. Your first achievement reminded of one of my own that surprises me more than gives a sense of achievement: I was the honor graduate in both my basic and AIT groups in the Army. I also won sharpshooter honors with my M-16....all this from someone who had never fired a weapon before, and thought I wouldn't survive the 6 months of training, much less be first in my class.

      Your list is quite inspiring. It really shows the spirit all of us possess to overcome adversity. Your final statement reflects one of the attributes that only humans have: hope for the future.

  7. Lots of things to be thankful for, and proud of as well, including:

    1. Married to my first love, who I met in college originally, for 37 years now.
    2. Raised a beautiful daughter who is successful in life and at work.
    3. We both retired early, and like yourself, have made it work so far.
    4. Learned a work ethic early on in life from my parents, something I am very, very thankful for.
    5. We saved enough to retire well, but I do have a regret in that I blew a lot of opportunities to cash in more at both work and investing. Oh well.
    6. Received a black belt in Kenpo karate from a tough program at the advanced age of 45, just to prove I could do it.
    7. Have stayed true to my Christian faith all these years, in spite of all the daily attacks on that belief. Thanks to the Big Guy for steering me in the right direction.

    There are so many more, Bob, but these are some of the key ones. Life has been good to us, and we intend to enjoy it for many more years, God willing.

    1. Funny, but to hear 45 referred to as an advanced age reminds me of perspective: 45 seems like a youth from my age now!

      I am encouraged by the number of references to long marriages reflected in comments, and the happiness with single hood that Mona noted. Being content in our own skins is an important part of achievement.

  8. Things to be thankful for/ proud of/ blessed by:
    1) Having pushy parents, I finished my degree in Education. That degree opened my world to the good in people and the joy of reminding them how wonder and self directed learning is essential to life.
    I now use my teaching skills to pretend I have an idea what my son is studying in grad school. Our conversation often goes, "Wow! That is so amazing! " Do you know anything about small nuclear reactors? I am learning.

    2) Meeting my husband on a whim 35 years ago last month. That first day he called and told my fiance that I was no longer engaged. He married me six months later. That I was smart enough to fall in love with such a brilliant and loyal person is a blessing I will be forever grateful.

    3) Survived moving through three countries and six states in sixteen years- with a family, and a bit of career, intact. Being an Army wife was wild. I can find an apartment for anyone, anywhere and figure out the currency to pay for it. I can budget like a son of a gun. I can also get through a third world country, with children in tow, without a visa.

    4) Living through PTSD and coming out the other side still sane and loving life more every day.

    5) Letting worry go. Thanks Bob's Mom. Over five years in recovery from worry.

    6) Growing more and more familiar with my spirituality and religion. My dad set high goals, I feel like I have reached for some of them and found ways around others. I no longer care that others do not share my views on God. They will find their way. (Ok- sometimes I care).

    7) Learning that a house is not a home- my family is. I delight in all of them---my quiet husband, two "children", two "children in law", five grands and an assortment of dogs. And then there is our extended family.......... :) My life is so full when I am with my family.

    8) God is in charge. If the world ends tomorrow or goes on for a million more years, God is in charge. How am I proud of that? It really helps the day to day living be for those people who cross my path. Whether is it is teaching a person how to read or feeding a group in a shelter, I can be present.
    I think I figured out that when I let go of worry. Maybe I should thank your mom for that one as well, Bob.

    I will not contend, in any way, that my life has been easy. I will contend that I would not change one piece of it- even the painful parts.

    1. Janette, I really am moved by the power of your list.

      I found #1 quite interesting: pushy parents. That is a great example of what seemed like a negative experience actually working for your benefit. And, again, another example of God in charge. He has a plan that may not make sense to us at the time, but nothing is random.

  9. Achievements? I can't think of any. I'm just lucky my kids still speak to me, my wife puts up with me, my IRAs are growing, and my health is still good. Knock on wood!

    1. I think you are probably being too modest, Tom. Oh wait, there are two achievements: modesty and humility.

  10. My two daughters are my favorite achievements, as is my 47-year-marriage. I've had five books published in the 90's, some in both the U.S. and Germany and some in only one of those countries. At almost 67, I am the go-to homework help in the neighborhood and among grands in Spanish, English and high-school mathematics. (I majored in physics for three years before changing my major to English with a concentration in creative writing.) I had successful brain surgery this year, not an easy thing to contemplate, plus two biopsies and other "little" surgeries! And, despite some serious debilitating illnesses, I'm happily planning to participate in a peaceful march in a nearby city on January 21, if I'm physically able to do it that day! I'm still engaged in life and working toward a better life for others, while satisfied that when I leave this earth, I've left behind daughters and sons-in-law who are perfectly capable of making the world a better place and engaging in their rearing their own children!

    1. That is the description of a life worth living and celebrating. Thank you for sharing your list of achievements. They are inspiring. And, I hope the march on January 21st is huge...a million?

  11. 1) Earning my 4-year college degree while raising our two daughters. Years later both my daughters told me that coming downstairs each morning to find Mom studying at the kitchen table was a powerful image they took with them when they themselves left for college. All those years, and I had no idea.

    2) Running my first half marathon in 1998. Having never considered myself particularly athletic, I was incredibly nervous about the pressure of running 13.1 miles in public. Finishing strong while hundreds of people cheered from the sidelines is something I'll never forget.

    3) Running my first sub-2 hour half marathon in 2010. I ran the race with a pace group, and when we got to the final 1/2 mile, I told the pace leader I was still feeling great and she yelled for me to go for it, so I did, finishing at 2 minutes under 2 hours. What an exhilarating moment when I looked at my watch and realized I'd finally done it.

    4) Backpacking the Grand Canyon with my husband in 2015. In spite of all the training we'd done, I was a nervous wreck at the trail head on day one, having never attempted anything of this magnitude, including my first full marathon. Ascending out of the canyon seven days and some 60 miles later was so emotionally overwhelming I burst into tears as we reached the top. What a high!

    5) Carrying on a simple conversation in Spanish in Spain this past October, without the person I was speaking to resorting to English, which is what normally happened. Learning to speak a second language has been the most difficult undertaking of my life in that my brain just doesn't seem to want to play along, so I was thrilled beyond belief that day.

    Regarding my dearly loved one's - I don't consider my loved ones to be achievements, but rather precious elements in my life that I treasure beyond all else. Therefore, I didn't include them in the above, though the above wouldn't have likely been possible without them. If that makes sense. :-)

    1. You are the type of person who sets goals, achieves them, and then moves the finish line a little farther down the path for the next challenge. That is one of the things I love about you: never saying never. I gather your dad had a lot to do with instilling this spirit in you. His story would make a fascinating book!