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Posts Tagged ‘birthday egotism’

Level 40!

I think I’m officially middle-aged today.

Which is a weird thing to type, because I sure as hell don’t feel middle-aged. And of course in our youth-obsessed culture, we find all kinds of ways to reassure people that it’s fine, they’re not old yet, because being old is assumed to be a terrible thing we all want to put off as long as possible. We also have lost anything resembling coherent transitions between stages of life. Our childhoods are absurdly extended — and when do they even end? Are you an adult at puberty? Eighteen? Twenty-one? Graduation from high school? Graduation from college? People in their mid-twenties often don’t really feel like “adults” yet. So when the heck do you count as “middle-aged”?

I think I probably am; I just need to wrap my brain around it. I’m forty. To somebody who’s eighty, sure, I’m a “young person,” but not in general. I’m about halfway through my statistical life expectancy, which is pretty much the definition of “middle.”

Right now I don’t particularly anticipate having a mid-life crisis, because I’m lucky enough to have a job, a husband, and a home I love. But there may be a little bit of an identity crisis as I try to redefine my sense of where I fit into the general shape of society. Obviously 40 is an arbitrary threshold for that, but any number would be arbitrary, and the whole point of a threshold is to clearly signal that you have left where you were before and entered somewhere else. Thresholds have a purpose.

As does the rest of this post. Years ago — seventeen of them, I believe — I was, for reasons I no longer recall, having kind of a downer day on my birthday. The sort that led me to think (in full awareness of how people might smack me for it) “I’m twenty-three today. What do I have to show for it?” In order to stave off that gloom, I sat down and wrote up an egotism post, listing off everything cool I’d ever done, all my accomplishments, with a strict rule that I wasn’t allowed to downplay or “yes, but” any of them. I continued that tradition sporadically over subsequent years, though I just checked and apparently I haven’t done this since 2016.

Level 40 seems like a good time to revisit that, especially given how much of 2020 seems determined to get me down. In its original form, even: not just what I’ve done since the previous post, but the whole shebang. So buckle in, y’all — and remember, the point of this is egotism. If you don’t want to see me patting myself on the back for my life, don’t read onward, because this is a modesty-free zone.

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Birthday Egotism

It looks like I didn’t do a birthday egotism post last year.

For those of you new to this blog (and by new, I mean you’ve been here for less than two years), this is a sporadic tradition of mine for the last decade plus, wherein I step back and reflect on the awesome things I’ve done in the last year (or two or however many it’s been since I did the last post of this kind). It started one year when I was feeling down on my birthday; I decided to counteract that by making myself list my achievements, with no disclaimers, caveats, or modesty allowed. It turns out this is a useful thing to do every so often, and so I shall ask again the traditional question:

I’m thirty-six. What do I have to show for it?

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It’s been ten years! Let’s celebrate.

It’s been ten years since my first short story was published. If Amazon is to be believed, Summoned to Destiny, the anthology containing “White Shadow”, came out on September 1st, 2004. Which, as it so happens, is my birthday.

They say it takes ten years to get good at something, don’t they? That’s one of the random metrics, anyway. Ten years from my first published story to a World Fantasy nomination; not bad. ๐Ÿ˜› Of course, I was writing long before “White Shadow” came out. I got what I consider to be my first mature novel ideas when I was seventeen — ideas that ultimately became Lies and Prophecy and Doppelganger — and ten years later I was writing Midnight Never Come, which I view as one of the benchmarks of me leveling up as an author. I have no idea what I’ll be writing in 2017, since I’ll draft the last of the Memoirs next year, and (probably) The Changing Sea the year after that. But I bet it’ll be fun. ๐Ÿ™‚

Anyway! Long-time readers of this blog may recall I have a tradition — not observed every year, but going on more years than not for the last decade and more — of a “birthday egotism” post. Back in 2003, I was having kind of a blah time of it on my birthday, and decided to counteract that with a post wherein I listed awesome things about myself, with no disclaimers, caveats, or moderating language allowed. The idea is that, like many people, I am good at downplaying my own achievements, and it’s valuable to have one day where I get to just bask in the happy — especially because I can go back and look at it later, when I need a pick-me-up. So behind the cut you will find a listing of what I’ve done that I’m proud of since 2012 (that being the last time I made a birthday egotism post). It begins with the traditional phrasing:

I’m thirty-four today. What have I got to show for it?

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Birthday Egotism, 2012 Edition

I have a tradition, dating back to 2003, of . . . well, rampant egotism on my birthday.

It’s an antidote to feelings of blah-ness (which were plaguing me on that day in 2003, and have been known to do so since). I make a post where I am only allowed to brag about the cool things I’ve done lately: no qualifications, no disclaimers, no undercutting myself. The last two years, for various reasons, I haven’t done the post in the usual manner (I’ve done other kinds of egotism-related things instead), so this time around, we’re gonna rack up three years’ worth of achievements.

I’m thirty-two today. What do I have to show for it?

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Birthday Egotism, Level 31 edition

Long-time readers of this journal know I have a tradition of “birthday egotism” posts, wherein I stave off any birthday-related depression by making myself post, without deprecation or qualification, about the awesome things I’ve done in the last year.

This year, I find myself less in the mood for that — though not for any depressive reason. (I am, for example, damn proud of the fact that one of this year’s achievements was the completion of the Onyx Court series, ridiculous levels of research and all.) Instead, I think I’ll indulge in a different kind of egotism, and make this an Ask Me a Question post.

You can ask about anything: writing, reading, gaming, sewing, movies, music, travel, favorite breakfast foods, my opinion of the Cathar heresy. I’ll put the answers in new posts.

And now, I’m off to enjoy my first day of being level 31. (With thanks to yuki_onna, from whom I believe I stole the phrase.)

Sing it wth me! Second verse!

Happy Birthday to me, Happy Birthday to me . . . .

Yep, that’s right: the release date for my fifth book and the anniversary of my birth ended up back-to-back this year.

I’m going to steal a page from (I think) Cat Valente, and sink not into the WOE IS ME I’M THIRTY MY LIFE IS OOOOOOOOOVER idiocy modern pop culture insists is the proper response, but rather say, woot! I’ve reached level 30! In other words, treat this as a thing to be celebrated. I have increased in experience; I have more skills on my character sheet, and in a few days I’ll be taking a new feat that I think will be very fun indeed.

Longtime readers of this journal know I have a tradition of staving off any possible bad mood by making an “egotism post” on my birthday, listing everything cool I’ve achieved in the last year, without hedging or qualification or mention of things I didn’t quite pull off. (Sparked by a year in which my birthday was kind of a shitty day overall.) I thought about doing that again this year — maybe a “lifetime retrospective” version, rather than just the past twelve months — but you know, I think I’d rather re-purpose a meme from a while back, and solicit flattery from the internets instead. So in the comments, tell me what cool things I’ve done —

— with one condition.

I want them to be hilariously, outrageously false.

Make stuff up. The more over-the-top, the better. Remind me that I once stole the Seven Stones of Power from the Seven Dragon Guardians to re-assemble the Necklace of Immortality and save the Star-Eyed Empress from the creeping poison of the Lord of Doom. Or whatever. And because of the pairing with Book Day — not to mention the outpouring of book love on yesterday’s post; I’ll be getting back to you guys in comments there soon, but it’s been fabulous reading, keep it up — and inspired by Laura Anne Gilman’s own birthday book giveaway, I will send one random commenter, not one of my books, but one of the books I love beyond all reason. Possibly this will be Fire and Hemlock by Diana Wynne Jones, which is the book that turned me into a writer. Possibly it will be Tam Lin by Pamela Dean, which had a formative influence on the first novel I ever finished writing. Possibly it will be The Game of Kings by Dorothy Dunnett, the only author to turn me so green with envy I basically can’t write for a few hours after reading her stuff. Or something else, maybe. I haven’t decided yet; I’ll see what the winner is interested in. But I think sharing a book I adore is a dandy way to celebrate my thirtieth birthday.

Along with a tasty Japanese lunch, some light reading, a wander in the sunshine, and absolutely no work today. So I’m off to enjoy that. Ta!

Birthday egotism, 2009 edition.

There’s a tradition in my life I failed to uphold last year, because the moving truck had just shown up in California with our belongings, but I think the decision to skip it was a mistake.

See, there are some things I’m very good at — like being self-critical. Veryvery good at that one. Possibly too good. I’m not so very good at enjoying my own accomplishments without constantly dwelling on “but it didn’t turn out quite as well as I hoped” or “okay, I’ve done A, but not B, C, and D.”

Some years ago I found myself having kind of a crummy birthday, the sort where you dwell morosely on another year gone by without much to show for it. To counteract that gloom, I wrote up an LJ post listing every skill and accomplishment I possessed — and I forbade myself to qualify or belittle or play down any of them. Only good stuff, with nary a negative word. I made myself shove my ego into the spotlight, because sometimes, that’s really what your psyche needs.

I’ve done that every birthday since, except last year. So here’s what I’ve done in the last two years, that I can be proud of.

I’m twenty-nine years old today, and what do I have to show for it?

This.

an update to the egotism

Like a proper ego-stroking writer, I just went through the list of nominees (pdf) for the Hugo awards, as they have released not just the short lists of actual candidates, but all the names that were proposed. Turns out I got four nominations for the Campbell. Which isn’t a lot, and nowhere near enough to put me in the running (the lowest person on the short list got 24, the highest [Naomi Novik] got 81) — but still, it’s nice to know. If you’re one of the four, then thank you.

Kudos to everybody who got a nod.

Birthday Egotism

Every year I feel obliged to explain this post, because it’s a little bit odd.

Some time ago — four years, I think — I was having a crappy birthday. Nothing big and dramatic; just the kind of day that makes one slouch angstily in a chair and think, “I’m twenty-three years old, and what do I have to show for it?”

This was a stupid question, and so I set out to prove that to myself. You see, I’m veryverygood at being self-critical. Not so good at patting myself on the back. Ergo, I made a post about the Awesomeness of Me: all my accomplishments, all the things I had learned, all the things I could do, everything I might be proud of in my life to date. I made myself do so publicly, because the point was to toot my own horn for once. And I didn’t let myself put in any qualifications or disclaimers — which was damn hard for me. Nothing but the positives, all in one place so I could go back and re-read it if I ever sank back into that Slough of Despond.

And this has become a tradition.

Mind you, this year’s birthday has been fantabulous so far. Lunch with friends, then a road trip out to the Exotic Feline Rescue Center — in five years of living here, I’d never managed to go. It’s sunny and the perfect temperature (as far as I’m concerned), I had ice cream, I’m relaxed and happy. But this is tradition. So here is this year’s update of Birthday Egotism: everything from the last year that I’m proud of.

So. I’m twenty-seven years old. What have I got to show for it?

WARNING: Rampant Self-Aggrandizement Within