Celebrating 45

A few posts back I wrote about how I have no intention of fading away as I move into the future. Yet, I’m the first to admit that I am the hardest on myself–unable to see my own successes when I’m not quite where or who I thought I’d be. However, my journey into memory through pictures made me decide that I should celebrate the interesting life I have lived. I should acknowledge the things I have done, that make me unique. I should, basically, celebrate myself. Please bear with me as I toot my own horn, because sometimes doing things like this is necessary.

I plan to make a list of 45 (wonderful) things that make me who I am, in no particular order, with details provided if explanation helps. However, I will spread it across several posts because A) I don’t want to bore you and B) It’s really, really difficult for me to do this.

Here I go:

  1.  I was born backwards (breach) which says a lot for who I am now. 😉 In some ways, being breach saved me from a car birth. My Dad used to say that he dropped Mom off (after getting stopped by a policeman as he sped to the hospital) and went to park the car. When he got back, someone congratulated him on the birth of his daughter. A woman, waiting for her daughter to give birth, turned to him and said “How did you do that?” Way to make an entrance.



  2. I started reading when I was very young (like 3 or 4 or something). Mom says it was in competition with my older brother Steve (who you might know from his many blogs, such as this wonderful post about helping others). I’d like to think my love for words simply insisted on making an early appearance. I vaguely recall people handing me newspapers and asking me to read out loud. I didn’t necessarily understand the words, but I could read them. Sounding out words, and finding meaning in those sounds, or finding interesting ways of putting those sounds together, has become the passion of my life.
  3. That leads to my love of learning languages. All languages. While I’ve lost my fluency in most (including English sometimes) in my life I have studied (and in some cases spoken to some degree): Hebrew, French, Spanish, Japanese, Russian (for a very short time when I was supposed to go on a trip), Slovak (again in preparation for a trip) and a few words in Chinese.  I believe that, if you want to travel, the best way to learn about people is to learn their language. It is the height of ego to expect others to learn English, and make no effort to communicate with the words that represent the culture.
  4. I have visited 8 countries. Now, that’s not a lot, for a girl who dreamed of seeing the world. My list of countries that I still want to go to is large. However, when I travel, I rarely do it just as a tourist. I try to see the country beyond the tourist image. I lived and worked in Japan for three years, and hope someday to be able to live and work somewhere else, even for a short time. My travels have not ended, I just have to find new ways and means to go. Even though I haven’t been to many of the places I’d love to go, I have friends from countries all over the world, many of whom I have actually met in person.

    Red: Where I've lived (although HI has disappeared)Blue: Where I've been
Green: Where I want to go

    Red: Where I’ve lived (although HI has disappeared)
    Blue: Where I’ve been
    Green: Where I want to go

  5. I’ve lived in 9 states and visited 44. I would like to get to all 50, and there are a few I might want to live in.
  6. I have earned three degrees: a BA from Smith College with a double major in English Language & Literature and Theatre; an MFA from the University of Hawaii, Manoa in Theatre (Directing); and a Ph.D from Arizona State University in Theatre (Theatre for Youth)
  7. I have directed 25+ plays at all levels (from beginning actors to professional).While this is one of the areas where I feel like I somehow have failed, I always wanted to direct, and at least I can say I have directed some truly wonderful and challenging pieces.

    The opening scene of CLOUD 9, another play I loved directing, especially because it pushed buttons and promoted discussion.

    The opening scene of CLOUD 9, another play I loved directing, especially because it pushed buttons and promoted discussion.

  8. I have taught hundreds if not thousands of students in subjects ranging from English conversation to writing, from Introduction to Theatre to Special Studies in Drama. I’ve taught at colleges, universities, language schools, after school programs and special programs for adults. I’ve lost track of the types of courses I’ve taught, but they include classes in theatre, writing, honors, and education.
  9. I saved two wonderful dogs from the humane society and they have enriched my life immensely. Even with the begging, the poop, and the constant dog hair.Lizzy & Jasper, 1-1
  10. I found a wonderful partner in life, Nathan, who for whatever reason puts up with my craziness and stands by me even when I don’t want to stand by myself.
  11. We gave birth to an amazing, talented, and beautiful daughter, who surprises me every day.

I think that’s my list for today, as now I’m entering the part where I think “I did this but .  . ” You know, where I start undervaluing everything I’ve ever done.

This isn’t easy, that’s for sure.

Do you ever have a difficult time celebrating yourself and your accomplishments?

19 Comments (+add yours?)

  1. joannevalentinesimson
    Mar 06, 2013 @ 11:32:38

    Lisa, This is wonderful!! You are such a talented, accomplished person! Just keep on keeping on! And I’m glad you’re giving yourself credit for all the great things in your life’s experience.
    I especially identify with your love of languages and your urge to travel. I, too, have tried to learn the language of any country I’ve visited – or at least a language that most of its citizens speak. Not only does it help make connections with those who live there, but it helps in the practical everyday operations in an unfamiliar culture. This is one of the reasons I’ve seldom been to Central or South America; I didn’t want to learn Spanish. Some “old-soul” remembrance of a very bad experience at the hands of the Spanish Inquisition, perhaps?
    By now I’ve lived in or visited almost every country that I’ve wanted to see/experience (I’m a decade and a half short of twice your age). Turning 50 was my liberation point!
    I loved the map of the places you’ve lived, where you’ve visited, and where you want to go. Where did you find it and how did you manage to fill it in with multiple colors? I should do that for my grandchildren. The children are pretty blase about it all – they were either there or heard about it first-hand)


    • Lisa Wields Words
      Mar 06, 2013 @ 11:44:55

      I hope that 50 is my point of liberation, but I would love it if it came at 45. 😉

      The map is sort of through Facebook. Here’s the link http://www.whereivebeen.com/

      Spanish is not my favorite, either, and I’ve only recently become interested in visiting South America, although there are many other places that are higher on my list. My South American interests have only come because some people I truly admire love it there.


  2. awriterweavesatale
    Mar 06, 2013 @ 12:20:38

    I didn’t used to have a difficult time with my accomplishments, but I do since having children…doesn’t seem room for them anymore:(


  3. Andra Watkins
    Mar 06, 2013 @ 21:12:44

    You did this. Period. And, you are going to do more with the coming year you have. Happy Birthday Month. Day 6.


  4. Victoria-writes
    Mar 07, 2013 @ 06:14:00

    This is a great idea – you should definitely celebrate your achievements!


  5. Trackback: Continuing the Celebration | Woman Wielding Words
  6. youngamericanwisdom.com
    Mar 07, 2013 @ 15:15:47

    Happy Birthday, Lisa! March is a great month to be born. Some of my favorite people have been born in March…Will, my mom and my best friend!

    You have done some amazing things with your life so far! I’m impressed. Celebrate all that you have accomplished!


  7. Trackback: Celebrating Friendship | Woman Wielding Words
  8. Trackback: Celebrating Projects | Woman Wielding Words
  9. Trackback: Celebrating Fears Faced | Woman Wielding Words
  10. Trackback: Celebrating Words | Woman Wielding Words
  11. CMSmith
    Mar 15, 2013 @ 10:40:47

    It’s an impressive list so far. The traveling and languages is particularly interesting. When I read about your education and experience in theater it makes me truly hope you will eventually land in the perfect challenging and fulfilling job.


  12. Trackback: Celebrating the Craziness | Woman Wielding Words

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