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I’m a big believer in marking significant moments with a photo… and often, a selfie. Especially a goofy one.

last class ever

I admit it. I take lots of selfies. I suppose for a gal who lives alone and documents her DIY life on the internet, I have a good excuse. Several, in fact.

charlie snoozing
“Here, YOU hold the camera.”
  • Charlie has no thumbs, so there’s usually no one else to take them.
  • Try as he might when he visits, Dad is still learning how not to turn the iPhone from camera to video (every. time.)
  • The rareness of great hair days are pretty convincing photo-wise; I’m usually covered in some type of dust, dirt, or sweat.
summer branches
I look and smell like Pig-pen, but at least those branches are gone.

So when milestones come, like graduation, I make sure that there is a photo. More than one. Something that makes me feel more “official”.

officially delicious
officially delicious

Graduation was held  this week on a Wednesday at 2pm. Which is incredibly inconvenient for someone with a full time day job. And since the ceremony was going to basically lump me in with undergrads and folks from other graduate programs (as in, no walking-across-the-stage action because the graduation ceremony was too large), I chose not to do the cap and gown thing. I still took the morning to go to a special graduate program brunch (in which I did get to walk across the stage). The cap and gown would have been nice, but I just hated the idea of it feeling so impersonal.


But the point of this post:  It’s easy to justify not celebrating big moments these days. To run right over them and move on. Despite the end of school, I’m still busy with the holidays, wanting to see friends (yay, freedom!), blogging, finishing DIY projects, my new web design business, and general catching-up-ery. Lots of sleeping, too (I think I’m simply in recovery mode; every other student I’ve spoken to lately is confessing to hibernating like I am).

I may be tired, but I’m choosing not to take Mom’s advice and do nothing but rest. It’s just not in me. Don’t get me wrong – I’m still sleeping a good bit. But the wheels still turn, and being idle just makes me anxious. Instead, I want to make sure that it really feels, without a doubt, like there is an ending. That means a new beginning… in a tingly-in-the-toes sort of way. I know none of them will be extended celebrations; taking a vacation right now would probably cause me more stress than actually help ease my mind. But there are still ways I can celebrate, even if it’s just for a moment or two.

Tips to Make Smooth Transitions from One BIG Project to the Next:

1. Don’t pretend as if you’re not finishing one thing and starting another. Don’t treat it as a speed bump. Give plenty of thought to the feeling of completion. Even if you only meditate on it for a few minutes each day, try to focus and relish in your accomplishment for a little while.

2. Mark the moments by taking a few photos. I love social media specifically for this reason. Yes, it’s a little self-centered to be all “look at me”, but do it anyway and let others congratulate you. Especially if they’ve had to hear you whine for two whole years and love you despite all of it. It’s a completion of sorts for them, too.

3. Drink some champagne. And then do it again. Special days call for special cocktails.

officially delicious
officially delicious

4. Cross that mother off a list. If you don’t already have an actual list written down somewhere, write one up just for the sake of ceremony. Then cross that mother off the list.

5. Add new goals to your list. Part of ending one chapter is beginning another!

Now that I’ve crossed off “MBA by 30” from my list, it’s time to move some of the other things up:

My big “to do” list:

  • MBA by 30

Like I said: it’s on here just for the opportunity to draw that line. Dunzo.

  • That house versus home thing? Yeah. Get on that.

I’ve been working on home projects, but not to the extent I’d really like to. Now that school is over, I really want to have a home I can have regular get-togethers and dinner in. Not just a house undergoing constant change and Netflix re-runs. In my mind, there’s a big distinction between the two. I want both, but the space I live in should really be a space for living in and not just working on. I think the laundry room is actually a step in the right direction by giving myself a place that is more functional and home-y. And turning my attention to the fireplace in the living room, finishing the kitchen, and then the dining room (in the new year) will go a long way toward accomplishing this goal.

  • Get out of the house and go on a date, for God’s sake.

For the sake of calling myself out on where I really need to put more of my time, I have neglected my love life. As in, met a couple of nice guys here and there, gave them my number, and then not texted/called them back. I even quietly pined after a guy in my grad school program that was completely unavailable (it at least made four hour classes easier to get through, which is a pretty tough task). But that kind of behavior isn’t exactly going to get me what I really want – which is creating a home and family with someone else in my life. So now that things are going to start adjusting and my “too busy” excuse has evaporated, I have to actually… you know… try. It makes me uncomfortable to put goals that depend on another person on my list (and even more uncomfortable to admit it out loud), but without acknowledging the effort I need to make in the void that is my love life, it’s pretty much going to stay that way. Like that face from when I was a kid.

  • Put on my running shoes.

For the first year of school, I was proud of myself for staying physically active. And then I let myself use my own busy schedule against me. I was working toward finally feeling happy and comfortable in my own skin – enough to actually share my progress on the internet, which was pretty damn nerve-wracking, but felt great once I finally did it. I miss the elated feeling I get after reaching a fitness goal. So, simply put: it’s time to go back to wearing yoga pants and then actually go do yoga.

  • Do something BIG.

This one’s harder to pin down. I feel like I have the knowledge and the energy to do something new and different than what I’ve been doing up to this point; I just don’t know what that is yet. “Ruler of my own planet” seems like a good choice, but I may be overreaching. I might have to let this one come to me on its own, but I’ll figure it out eventually. And I’ll be sure to keep you in the loop when I do.

just after graduation

And…. that’s it so far. Lists don’t have to be long; they just have to help you figure out what’s next. What about you? Do you have any big accomplishments coming up? If you do, leave a comment and I’ll be sure to congratulate you. And then also tell me what’s next on your list!

Have a wonderful weekend, and be sure to check back in on Monday. I decided to write out a fun holiday poem (in true UDH style). I had so much fun with it, I can’t wait to share.

P.S. A few have asked that I allow gifts to be sent for graduation, and I could not be more wowed by your generosity! I will have an address for you next week.

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  1. Selfies are REQUIRED during major life events. Here’s mine when I sat through my MBA graduation in April: http://instagram.com/p/YkrW38kXKN/#. Not nearly as pretty as yours. Haha.

    I’m all about life lists as well, and moving on to other things! My current projects: Buying a house and getting married. And kicking ass at my new job! Crazy times.

    Enjoy your freedom. It’s an AMAZING feeling to accomplish something so huge and hard. Congrats!

    1. I LOVE that picture! Congratulations on snagging your degree! Buying a house is going to feel pretty crazy – be sure to take that selfie holding that new set of keys for sure. I didn’t take a photo on my big house-buying day (it was Dec 30th so things were already kind of nutty) and I regret it a little.

  2. CONGRATULATIONS!!! You deserve those selfies and that champagne! I’m always so impressed by the way you manage to juggle school & work & DIY – thanks for sharing your life here on the internet with us and helping motivate me :)

  3. it’s such a huge, huge accomplishment to work full time while in grad school (I know, I did it too! :) ) and you really should be proud of yourself, it’s awesome. sincere congratulations!!

    I like your “house vs home” paragraph…. I sat down to look at my “13 for 2013” list and create a “14 for 2014” list and then realized- I don’t wanna! I don’t want to do that… I just want to do whatever projects I feel like when they pop up and in the meantime I want to drink wine in my kitchen and hang out with my dog in my yard.

    1. I can definitely relate to the urge to just drink wine in the kitchen ;) I’ll probably be doing that on my couch as soon as I get the TV up on top of the fireplace again!

  4. WOwee CONGRATS, Lady!! You deserve to do whatever you damn well please after a year like this. Uber congratulations to you and a successful 2014 I’m sure. I recently bought a home and while it’s not my 1st ever, it’s my first real home home. So I am starting from scratch and making it my own 1 step at a time. I really want to blog about it but can’t find the time at all. I will be finishing up a 12 month yoga teacher training next month so maybe after that I will have more room to breathe! I also want to put myself out there more and see what happens. You are such an inspiration!! Keep it up, girlfriend – xoxo

    1. Wow, what you’re up to is incredible too! Congrats on both the house AND finishing up your training! Doing both of those in the same year must have been stressful! Hopefully you will get a break over the holidays and can enjoy it a little.

  5. Congrats Sarah! What an amazing accomplishment! I agree–its so important that we stop and celebrate all the accomplishments in our life! Excited to see what is next for you.

    1. You’re about to have your own BIG accomplishment soon enough love! Can’t wait to “meet” the little one!

  6. This summer, with 7 years to go, I was able to cross “Make a quilt before I turn 40” off of my list.

    Next up “Finish the bathroom”, the project I started… two years ago. Wow, I can’t believe it’s been that long!

    1. That’s awesome! I think I’d probably have several cry-fits from trying to sew a quilt. I have just never had that kind of patience. But my bathroom reno started about that long ago too. I need to get up there and finish (but after the kitchen and dining room). Just too many unfinished projects in this house!

  7. Fantastic that you were able to complete your MBA while working full-time. LOVE the look of your blog, the effortlessness of your writing, and how you relate who you are. I think the “community” aspect of blogging is so rewarding.

    You’ve accomplished some great things in your house as well. Keep it up. My wife and I have enjoyed MANY DIY projects over the years … and darn it, she has more planned for me! ;)

    All the best to you over Christmas and New Year’s. I will do my best to check in from time-to-time, new virtual friend.

  8. I really enjoy reading your posts like this. You have great advice. And it is simple and straight forward. It is so important to really take in what you have accomplished before blowing onto the next big thing. They say it is the journey, but we must savor the sweet success of accomplishment also! :) From your post I get that you are very grounded, determined (we knew that), smart, and an overall great person. I truely hope that with your new free time you are able to open yourself up more to relationships. I have always heard that when it is right it will happen, that guy will come along. I do believe that. I also think you have to be open for that. It sounds like you are getting there but this transition of no school and new ideas brewing in your head is a big time for you. You are in a new chapter of life really. Roll with it, relax, be yourself and it will come. I am so happy for you and SO stinkin’ happy you will be giving us an address to mail grad gifts to! Thank you! You deserve every gift your crazy blog followers send! :)

  9. After being utterly miserable working a job I hated for two years, I was relieved earlier this year to realize what all the trouble and heartache was for: preparing me for a position that is just absolutely perfect for me! It still sucks to have to have gone through that, but it’s somewhat pacifying to know what it was all for. Now I’m excited to go to work every day and am part of a really great team I love!

  10. Congratulations!

    Whew. What’s next? Well, that’s up to you. You have many talents and a lot to offer. Yes, sometimes you just have to seek things out. Othertimes they’ll just come to you when and where you least expect it. Either way, you’re going to do just fine. Life is good isn’t it?

  11. Thank you for this post! I will be completing my MBA this May, the day after I turn 35. My husband wants us to host a party which at my age just feels weird but he’s right and this list helps me realize that. It’s a huge accomplishment (I work full-time and have been going to school part-time for 4 years to achieve this goal) and not just for the sacrifice I have made but also for the time he’s been there to support me, we both deserve it. Plus, now he’ll have more help around our house for projects since pretty soon I won’t be stressed about schoolwork.

    1. I know it’s slightly early, but congratulations on that accomplishment! I partly picked now to complete my degree simply because I don’t face what I (hopefully likely) will in the future: husband, kids, etc. commitments. So kudos to you BOTH for getting each other through it. And yes, you deserve that opportunity to celebrate! I know how tired you’ll probably be just to be finished, but it’s still worth it to give yourself a pat on the back.

  12. Holy crap, a GSU degree. I thought those were impossible to get! At least they sure make it seem that way when you’re an undergrad haha. But on a more serious note, congratulations! :)