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39 Questions Answered About Me and My 39 Years

November 13, 2014
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I turned 39 years old last week. To mark the occasion, I decided to write 39 things about myself. I’ll be honest with you … this was not as easy as I anticipated. I took my quest to the streets (the streets of Facebook) and asked friends to send me questions to answers. These are the answers and a few I’ve little-known facts I’ve added. By the way, the photos are a collection of random snaps I’ve taken over the years and don’t necessarily relate to this post.

IMG_22471. I’m not a big Target shopper. I know I risk being kicked out of the female/mother race entirely by this statement. I don’t browse shop; I buy with a purpose. Therefore I don’t have an overwhelming desire to spend time in Target. Bryan, on the other hand, loves browsing the aisles of Target. So he’s our designated shopper for that store.

2. I’ve never had a cavity.

3. I’m embarrassed to say that I’m 39 and still bite my nails.

4. I only own eight pairs of shoes. Too many shoes and purses overwhelm me.

5. I am an ISTJ.

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6. When I was a kid, I wanted to be a journalist or lawyer when I grew up. I guess I’m where I should be since I am a writer; and while I’m not a lawyer, the majority of my clients are attorneys or their businesses are in the law field.

7. Growing up, I always wanted to be an only child. Although I love my three sisters immensely.

8. The first time I drank was at a Halloween party my sophomore year in college. My friend and I drank Zimas (What were we thinking?!) before going to a party where my freshman crush/boyfriend would be attending with his girlfriend. I haven’t seen that guy since that party 20 years ago.

9. In the fall of 1992 (when I was 17), I volunteered for the Clinton-Gore campaign. It was such an exciting time and I remember feeling like the world was changing and I was a part of something big.

10. The hardest part about being a mom is having very little alone time to recharge. I’m an introvert, which means I NEED quiet time by myself to recharge and function. When you’re a mom – especially to an extroverted daughter – this can be challenging.

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11. The best part about being a mom is feeling so blessed and proud to be able to help shape this young person into a functioning human who will do amazing things in life. And I also like having an excuse to trick or treat again on Halloween!

12. Nails on a chalkboard to me is excess noise and clutter. I’m one of those people who can’t have the television on if nobody is watching it.

13. Despite living in San Diego, I don’t like going to the beach. I like looking at the beach. But the sand, lack of shade and no bathrooms make the beach unappealing to me.

14. What do I love about myself? The fact that I am never bored and can always find something to do. Whether it’s reading books and blogs, writing, cooking, or watching all the DVDs in my collection, I can ALWAYS find something to do.

15. I  don’t have regrets when it comes to big, life-changing things because I make decisions based on what’s best for me at the time. So when asked what is my biggest regret, it is this: not getting my picture taken with Ina Garten (The Barefoot Contessa) when I met her in person in 2004. This may seem trivial, but I’ve berated myself for years about saying “no thank you” to the photo opp. I keep thinking how I would have framed the picture and hung it in my kitchen.

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16. I am most scared of cancer and my own untimely death. And roller-coasters (for fear they will lead to my untimely death).

17. One of my most memorable experiences was interviewing the senior writer/producer for the television show, ER, for my master’s thesis in communication. I got a drive-on reservation to the Warner Bros. studio lot in Burbank.

18. Deciding what my dream vacation would be is a challenge since flying makes me very anxious (see fear of untimely death). I would love to visit Europe one day (Italy and France). But I think I’d also enjoy spending time in a quiet place where I can read, write, sleep, take walks, eat delicious food, and relax.

19. If I could give my 13-year-old self some advice, it would be to avoid using credit cards unless it’s an emergency situation.

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20. A quote that changed my perspective was from author Jeannette Walls (The Glass Castle, The Morning Start, Half-Broke Horses) when she described the relationship she has with her mother. She said she doesn’t believe in the expression “forgive and forget,” but instead she  “understands.” As she explained, it’s nearly impossible to forget, and sometimes it’s not about forgiveness. But what we can do is understand a person and their behavior. I LOVE THIS!

21. Once Sophie came along, I realized I am best suited for one child for a multitude of reasons. And while so many people try to pressure you to have multiple children, I’ve never regretted the decision to only have one.

22. I am against the death penalty.

23. The best piece of advice I’ve heard is from Suze Orman who said that money gives you choices. I didn’t understand what that meant until my mid-30s, and it’s so true. If you have money you can make changes and choices to improve your life in many ways.

24. My first job was at the local Dairy Queen when I was in high school. My worst job was working as an assistant at a boutique law firm that specialized in construction defect law (I was in college).

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25. As a mom to a daughter, there are two things I want to teach Sophie. The first is the importance of being a kind person. There are so many mean kids (and people) in the world. I want her to be kind, but not a pushover. The second thing I will teach her is to be independent and always know how to take care of herself financially.

26. When I cannot sleep, I think up storylines in my head for television characters I like.

27. Some of the happiest times of my life were the three years I lived in the on-campus residence halls at San Diego State University. It was a such an amazing time of freedom, learning, trying new things, and being with friends. It was the only time in my life where I felt anything was possible.

28. The literary character I most admire is Jo March of Little Women. The character I most relate to is Esteben in Thornton Wilder’s The Bridge of San Luis Rey. This is why.

29. The worst things that happened over this past year from 38 to 39 were losing my beloved Romeo, and then Bipp the cat two months later.

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30. The best thing that happened last year was, through the help of an amazing business coach and friend, I was able to find my way back to the Yellow Brick Road where I’m now in a better place professionally, financially and personally.

31. The scariest decision I’ve ever made was making the decision to leave a job I enjoyed and co-workers I loved because I knew it was time to move on. I could have easily stayed in a lucrative, secure job. Yet if I hadn’t made that leap, I wouldn’t be where I am today — owning my own business and in charge of my life on my terms.

32. The Elf on the Shelf scares the heck out of me.

33. If I had $1 million, I would pay off credit card debt and student loans, buy a new car, complete all our home-improvement projects, and hire a maid.

34. My favorite piece of jewelry is my wedding ring set. We found it at an antique store and I’ve never seen anything like it. I love it’s simplicity and the fact that it’s not an experience piece from a jewelry store.

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35. I can’t stand talking on the phone and rarely answer when it rings. If there was ever a case of, “It’s not you, it’s me,” this would be it.

36. My high school journalism (and American Literature) teacher, Mrs. Edwards, helped mold me into the writer I am today. In tenth grade, I took a journalism class with her where I learned all about newspaper writing. She taught me how to write news stories, features, reviews, OpEds, and calculate column inches. Where I wanted to be a journalist before that class, Mrs. Edwards sealed the deal for me. I spent two more years under her mentorship writing for the high school newspaper. I will never forget the complement she gave me at a year-end awards banquet. She said when I first started writing for her, I “wrote in crayon.” But by the end of the year, I was writing with a pen. Mrs. Edwards gave me that pen, and I thank her for all she did to get me where I am today.

37. My favorite carbohydrate (and also an indulgence) is a warm loaf of chewy sourdough bread with softened butter.

38. I’m celebrating my 40th birthday by saving up to get Lasik eye surgery (because I’m considered legally blind without glasses or contact lenses).

39. In my next 39 years, I hope to write a book (or two) and learn to play the guitar.

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Got more questions for me that I didn’t answer? Feel free to leave a comment and I’ll answer!

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10 Comments leave one →
  1. November 13, 2014 9:51 am

    What fun! Happy Birthday! I’d have to start now to do this sort of post for my birthday in May. Too many years! Enjoy many more trips around the sun.

  2. November 13, 2014 4:45 pm

    Loved this!
    Ok ISTJ – I am an ISFJ — I have a book for you ~ Susan Cain’s, “Quiet.”

    As an introvert, bring a pen and a highlighter, it’s that spot-on.

    Too much to comment on … but I loved “getting to know you” better.

    Happy birthday beautiful!
    MJ

  3. Michele Ruth Brown permalink
    November 13, 2014 6:57 pm

    Love this Leah, and I so admire your courage and tenacity in striking out on your own professionally and being a success! And sharing your sweet daughter and husband through your writing.

  4. November 13, 2014 7:11 pm

    Leah–I love this piece. I hope you will consider trying to share it more widely. It has such heart. There were things I discovered about you that so resonate with my own journey. I will enjoy getting to know you better. Have a wonderful 39th year. Best, Lesley

  5. November 14, 2014 7:42 am

    Loved this, Leah! I’m a nail biter, too, and I only own three pair of shoes and one purse. I drank Zima in college, too (do they even still make it?)… Like you, I loved living in the dorms (and later lived there, working as an assoc. dir. of PR and as the Resident Director, in charge of all the RAs, and a building filled with young women). Here’s to writing books and guitar playing!

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