23 Things I Learned as a 23-Year-Old

Last year, I enjoyed writing my 22 Things I Learned as a 22-Year-Old post so much that I thought I’d do a similar post again this year. Who knows, maybe it’ll become a tradition. I’m a little late this time around (my birthday was a couple weeks ago), but better late than never!

So here we go, a flying tour through the past year, focusing on new things I learned, tried, or experienced and other milestone events.

1) I was baptized.

I told about this in my Week of Transitions post last August. As you can imagine, this was a very meaningful milestone event.

2) I did a lot of research about Charleston in the 1870s, merchant ships and navigation, Harvard Law School’s early development, the geography of Germany, and more.

All for my play, The Return of Ben Morgenstern. I discovered the coolest map of Charleston in 1872, which was the exact year of my play’s setting! I had fun referencing a few real streets and buildings in the script.


3) I discovered that sometimes Southwest Airlines gives you mini Ritz cheese sandwiches as well as pretzels.

Earth-shaking, honestly. They came by with pretzels first, and I was like, “Cool, that’s normal, pretzels are nice,” and then they came by AGAIN and handed me Ritz cheese sandwiches and my week was made.

4) Through much trial and error, I learned how to create DVD menus with multiple pages.

It was a major learning curve. 😣 I won’t bore you with the details of my many failed attempts, but suffice it to say that when I finally solved the program’s secrets, I came home absolutely GLOATING in triumph over Adobe Encore.

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5) I experienced driving in Cincinnati.IMG_5851

Nuff said. It was an experience.

6) I helped construct a gingerbread ship for the first time!

Distantly inspired by the Arabian, from The Return of Ben Morgenstern.

7) I bought a car.

Her name is Margot. (All cars need names. We have an Otis, a Rex, and a Harvey in our vehicular family.)

8) I was taught the basics of how live-streaming works.

Thank you to my tech wizard uncle, who figured everything out and set it up and showed me how to run it. He made it possible to live-stream The Return of Ben Morgenstern with high quality audio and video! (Which you can still watch on Facebook…)

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9) I learned the word “misandry.”

You’ve definitely heard of misogyny, “hatred of females.” But have you ever heard someone called a “misandrist”—a male hater? Yep, it’s a real word, just not in common usage in our current social climate…

10) I attempted flaky pastry!

Last year I made bread from scratch for the first time, this year I tried pastry. Technique definitely needs perfected, but at least it turned out edible and moderately tasty.


11) I realized I could listen to audiobooks at 1.25x or 1.5x speed.

(Depending on the reader.) And the time you save adds up fast: you can get through a 10-hour book in just eight hours! (Which of course means two extra hours for reading more books.)

12) I learned how to play Axis and Allies.

Well, sort of. The teenagers in my life would probably disagree, since I didn’t actually make it through an entire game. But they tried to teach me anyway.


13) I discovered what to do with leftover clementines.

Make gluten-free chocolate clementine cake! Sounds weird, but it kinda worked. At least the gluten-free people in my life said they enjoyed it, so that was a total win.

14) I saw first-hand how beautiful the land of Greece is!

My mom took this photo on the island of Hydra when we traveled to Greece last May, and it was her favorite picture from the trip. So when we got home….

15) I tried my hand at acrylic painting.

I painted a version of my mom’s photo for her for Christmas. I’d never really attempted painting until this last year, but I’ve enjoyed trying something new!

16) I met a sneezing alpaca at the zoo in Atlanta.

I have kind of a thing for alpacas, and this only made it worse. 😍

17) I learned that I am a “Questioner.”

From Gretchen Rubin’s “The Four Tendencies.” The Tendencies describe different ways people respond to internal and external motivation or expectations, and frankly each type has plenty of good and bad potential. The Questioner is pretty responsive to internal expectations, but by nature tends to resist external expectations. 🤔 Gotta keep working on that…

18) I discovered cookie dough being sold in scoops like ice cream!

That was a good day.


19) I experienced online teaching for the first time.

Another learning curve. I’ve enjoyed and appreciated all I’ve learned, but interacting with students without being able to see or hear them has been a new challenge!

20) I finally figured out what Photoshop actions are.

And they are AMAZING. So much work done for you by a few clicks. I used a watercolor action when designing the announcements for The Return of Ben Morgenstern, and I loved what Photoshop created!


21) I found out the difference between rhotic and non-rhotic Southern accents.

I mean everyone needs to know this, right?IMG_5784

22) I learned how to custom-design ties.

My sister actually discovered the website, and then I did the designing. You can see a poor-quality image of the tie we created for my soon-to-be brother-in-law for Christmas. (The white symbol is a little person going into an MRI machine, because that’s what his graduate research focused on.)

23) HOLD UP did I just say brother-in-law?

Yes I did. 😏 My favorite thing I learned this past year is that my sister is getting married!!! I’m a little bit excited.

Oh yeah, and I mentioned having tried making bread last year and pastry this past year… If I do this type of post again at my next birthday, you know one thing that’ll be on my list? “Learned…er, attempted to make a wedding cake.” 😳 Pray for me!



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