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Reevaluation of My Last Decade

By Tami Brothers

This time ten years ago I was standing at the open door of a cargo plane waiting my turn to jump out into the crisp cool Colorado sky.  Unlike here in Georgia, the mountains in the Midwest are cold and unpredictable.  This particular day the clouds were blowing in and a storm was brewing.

When my turn finally came, the weather made it impossible to go up as high as the jump school normally takes their clients.  I was given the choice to jump from the lower altitude or return to base, get my money back and try again another day.

You better believe I jumped and it was the most exhilarating experience of my life.  The wind was rigid and ice crystals stung the exposed skin of my face when we dropped through the clouds.  After pulling the cord, my tandem instructor kept us floating in the sky far longer than the others in our group.  Where I had expected a roaring of the wind, instead it was calm and peaceful.  At that moment, I had an epiphany that has since stuck with me.

I was turning twenty-nine that year.  As with most twenty-somethings, I felt like I needed an over-the-top act to commemorate the dawning of a decade.  Hence the skydiving.  Because my twenties were much better than my teens, I bought into the myth that the twenties were the ultimate in life and I was certain that anything later would never compare.

Of course I was wrong.  This month I’ll be thirty-nine and I can say without a shadow of a doubt that the last decade was nothing like the previous one.  In fact, it has been better than anything I could have ever imagined.

My epiphany that day was that no matter what I wanted to do in life, I had to try it to achieve it.  I was attached to a parachute thousands of feet in the air, snow falling all around me, a silence I’d never dreamed was possible.  That’s when it hit me that this over-the-top act had been all about me.  I had planned this from start to finish.  I had defied those who thought I was nuts for trying it.  I had ignored the naysayers who felt I was selfish for putting my life in danger when I had a small child at home.  My husband completely refused to try this with me.  Because I had dreamed of it for so long, I pushed beyond my comfort zone, took the lead in my own life, and made jumping a reality.

Yes.  It is easy to let others dictate our next move.  All the risk is put on someone else and if we fail, it isn’t really our fault.  But I realized that day that if I truly wanted something in my life, I had to make it happen.

Since then, I’ve used this philosophy on many other things.  I had to bring my dream of writing out into the light of day.  I had to drag my butt out of my nice comfy home and face Atlanta traffic to attend the GRW meetings.  I had to make the decision to apply for that dream job.  And in doing so, over the course of ten years, I’ve found myself acting braver and more in tune with what I want from my life.

For our Year of Reevaluation, my family has made a lot of changes.  But what I’ve discovered most of all from this process is that if I am not willing to change certain things in myself along the way, then the changes we implement in our physical lives will not stick.  The goals we are achieving now will not last.  Hubby and The Kid are seeing small bits of this with themselves, but I don’t think they’ve had as big of an AHA moment as I have.  That’s okay.  We are well on our way to achieving a better balance and hopefully, it will carry over when needed most.

I try to do something each month that reflects our goal of change, so with this month focusing on my personal growth and looking toward the future, I decided to update my bucket list.  In looking back, I realized just how superficial I have been and have decided to add some depth to the list.  A few additions have been to take in the whole experience of the things I already have listed.  Instead of just going to the beach, I want to follow in Marilyn Baron’s shoes and see baby turtles migrate to the water.  I want to follow in Susan Carlisle’s shoes and instead of just seeing the Grand Canyon, I want to hike down inside (or ride a mule J ).  Instead of just living each day til the next birthday, I want to follow in Pam Asberry’s shoes and celebrate each day for what it is and allow the little experiences to impact my life.  These and many others have been added and although I still have a year before I turn forty, I look forward to the coming decade with hope and excitement.  After all, as experience has shown, life just keeps getting better and better.

To see some of the other changes my family has made this year, check out the following links as we’ve turned our lives upside down as we search for balance.

1) The too big house (see post about the beginning of our reevaluation process)

2) The nonexistent budget

3) The clutter that has invaded our lives and home

4) Our diet habits and exercise routines (or lack of)

5) Our attempts to reconnect as a family

6) My Career and Job Choices

7) My attempt at taking back my Time

8) My search for Inner Peace

What about you?  What were your thoughts as you entered a new decade of your life?  Did you stress about getting older or did you look forward to the changes life had in store for you?  Leave a comment and I’ll share a $10 Starbucks gift card with one lucky commenter.

Stop back by Monday, October 3rd when I write about how making friends outside of our family circle has enriched our lives beyond anything we’ve done thus far.

Have a great September!

Linsey Lanier - September 9, 2011 - 1:33 am

Tami, I am in awe of you. I have nothing but admiration for people who skydive. Me? I think it’s risky standing on a chair…

But your words are inspiringly profound. “if I truly wanted something in my life, I had to make it happen.” That’s true even for those of us who are afraid of heights. Who knows? Maybe one day, I’ll conquer those fears.

Sandra Elzie - September 9, 2011 - 6:13 am

Tami, I really enjoyed the brief look at the past 10 years of your life.

The last decade I celebrated was entering 60s. Did it bother me? Not in the least! I’m at the best time of my life. Happy home, great kids, writing and publishing…good health and good friends…what more could I ask for?

BTW, hubby and I do almost everything together, but when I suggested skydiving (when I was 29, believe it or not) he said I was “on my own.” LOL

Sandra Elzie - September 9, 2011 - 6:15 am

I forgot to mention that I’ll be blogging about my daughter and the Ironman on the 16th of this month.

When she turned 40, she decided to start training to do the Ironman…she was 41 when she ran it…and finished.

Marilyn Baron - September 9, 2011 - 7:41 am

Tami,
All I can say is Yowie Gazowie and Cowabunga! I can’t believe you jumped out of the plane. I wouldn’t have the guts to do that but I admire you for doing it. You are a risk taker and you will achieve all your dreams. You are setting the pace for the rest of us. When I approached my last decade birthday (which one won’t be revealed) I thought about places I wanted to go. So for my _X__th birthday, my husband and I planned a trip to Israel and we’re leaving next week. I guess that’s risky too. I’ll blog about it when I get back. Anyway, I am glad to count you as my blogging sister and friend and am grateful for all of my Petit Fours sisters for making my love more fulfilling. Loved your post and you look so cute in your jumpsuit. And brave. And fearless. Go Tami!

Lindy Chaffin Start - September 9, 2011 - 7:54 am

Talk about making someone think, Tami, WOW! My bucket list has a Tami Brothers entry now that says, instead of jusr reinventing myself I’m going to do it with flair. I applaud you for making these changes so early in your life. Maybe as I turn 40, which I am looking forward to BTW, I can finally decide what I want to be when I grow up and strategically head in that direction. Lots of Love – Lindy

Elaine - September 9, 2011 - 9:00 am

Great post and links to previous posts I hadn’t read, Tami! Skydiving???? I am in awe, girl :)

Seriously though, it sounds like a great goal that you and your family have set up.

Elaine

Missy Tippens - September 9, 2011 - 9:02 am

Wow! I’d never have the courage to jump out of a plane! 8-O I’m impressed.

thanks for including the links to your journey. I’ll have to check them out! Sounds like you’ve dealt openly with issues we all face.

Sia Huff - September 9, 2011 - 9:43 am

You’re amazing, Tami. I’d love to skydive, just once, but could never get anyone to agree. I learned there are something I’ll have to do by myself for myself. That’s hard, as I was always taught to put others first.
I’m so glad you keep pushing the boundaries in your life. Maybe that’s why life just keeps getting better for you. You’re a great inspiration. Keep going — I’m rooting for you.

Nancy Northcott - September 9, 2011 - 10:46 am

Tami, you go, girl! I’ve always kinda sorta wanted to try skydiving. If I could pick any superpower, it would be flight. But there’s this whole terrified-of-heights thing I have goin’ on.

I also tend to re-evaluate at the decade marks. I’ve never been worried about getting older, though I did have some concern when I hit 30 and was still single. By the next decade, though, I had the dh and the boy, and things were rolling along.

I agree with you that we do have to put forth effort if we want to achieve anything meaningful. I’m putting forth effort on revisions this morning. *sigh* Much as I wish NY publishers would just seek me out, that seems unlikely to happen all of a sudden.

Good luck in your next decade!

Pam Asberry - September 9, 2011 - 10:50 am

Skydiving is on my bucket list – which I probably should revisit, too;my friend Jennifer and I are planning to go in October, just as soon as we can scrape the money together. (Sia, do you want to come with us?) So it was great reading about your experience – thank you! – and all that it symbolized for you. Thanks for the shout-out, too. You are such an inspiration, and a great cheerleader too. The world needs more people like you in it.

LD Masterson - September 9, 2011 - 11:11 am

Making great plans for the coming decades is easy (I’m really good at that), following through…not so much. Thanks for the inspiration to get back out there and do.

Marilyn Baron - September 9, 2011 - 11:54 am

Maybe we should start a Petit Fours and Hot Tamales Skydiving Group. Except I won’t be part of it since the only way I like to fly is in an airplane.

Darcy Crowder - September 9, 2011 - 12:19 pm

Tami, I’ve got goosebumps! What a great thought-provoking post! Not to mention the whole jumping out of the airplane thing….I could NEVER do that. LOL. My hat’s off to you.

I’ve found that this decade of my life has certainly been the one with the most personal growth, as far as stepping out of my comfort zone, pushing myself to be more adventurous and to follow my dreams. I’m looking forward to the next decade and all the wonderful possibilities. :)

I do wish I’d had your strength of conviction earlier on. I’m so proud of you and happy for you that you are seeking out and experiencing life on your terms. You are an inspiration to us all and a wonderful, valued friend and PFHT sister!

Katherine Bone - September 9, 2011 - 1:06 pm

Tami! Woe. You’ve really stepped out of the box. I commend you for all the wonderful things you’ve accomplished in your life but also for taking the steps to do what you want to do. That’s the biggest hurdle of all. Deciding to do something.

I’ve never jumped out of a plane but I’ve dreamed I can fly. Does that count? ;) My son is in an Airborne Unit. He does this all the time. I get to hear about jumping from him. Sometimes I don’t want to know about those who land wrong and get injured, but he tells me about them too.

We all must take the plunge in order to succeed. I loved that Nora Roberts speech a few years ago. She said, “Don’t stand on the side of the pool watching everyone else. Dive in and swim to the other side.”

Sandra Elzie - September 9, 2011 - 3:30 pm

Marilyn, You’re too funny. But, I guess there’s always a need for someone to stay on the ground and take pictures, right? lol

Debbie Kaufman - September 9, 2011 - 3:36 pm

I’m in awe of anyone who can jump out of a perfectly good airplane. I barely have the nerve to go up in one! When I turned 50, I began to blog, got serious about my writing, and made major changes in my life–just without the parachuting. :)

Susan - September 9, 2011 - 4:18 pm

Tami,
I don’t do the air thing but I’m impressed that you did. The Grand Canyon has some pretty high places but worth the trip. My goal is to get a handle on my time and use it wisely. Book writing is great but not getting heavier and spending money wisely is just as important.

Carol Burnside / Annie Rayburn - September 9, 2011 - 4:38 pm

I remember you telling me about this skydiving episode some time back, but it was great reading about it. You are definitely inspiring, Tami.

I was always taught to do for others and be a nurturer. That came naturally for me. Demanding for myself or even putting my needs out there for consideration? Not so much, but I’m willing to get in that mode, no matter my age.

Carol Burnside / Annie Rayburn - September 9, 2011 - 4:39 pm

Forgot…don’t put me in for the drawing. Gawd only knows what town I’d have to trek to in order to find a Starbucks. LOL

Maxine - September 9, 2011 - 4:41 pm

Tami,
Just hearing you on our trips to GRW, I have always been in awe of you! You are so brave and have done so many things many people would not even dream of doing! You just keep on following your dreams. They’ll come true!

As for me, I don’t mind at all getting to the next milestone! I’m anxious to see what each brings and what I can do to improve. Oh, that last part sounds good, can’t say as I spend much time on it :lol:

Tami Brothers - September 9, 2011 - 9:20 pm

Yay! I finally got in. Word Press has NOT been user friendly today. :( I’ve tried five times throughout the day to come in and leave messages but it did not like me. Apparently, it didn’t like a few other people as well. A big thank you to those who sent me messages. I totally appreciate the effort. :)

Hi Everyone! It looks like I’ve got a bunch of skydiving buddies on this loop. I agree with Marilyn that we should start a Petit Fours and Hot Tamales skydiving group. I think it would be a hoot. Maybe we could get you to jump too, Marilyn. :)

:mrgreen:

Tami Brothers - September 9, 2011 - 9:23 pm

Hey Linsey!!! You had me laughing with that chair thing. I am the world’s biggest klutz. For me, that chair would probably result in a broken leg… :)

I think if we do start that Petit Fours and Hot Tamales skydiving group, we could help you with that fear of heights…… Thanks so much for being the first commenter today! 1:33 am. Wow, you are early!!!

Tami :mrgreen:

Tami Brothers - September 9, 2011 - 9:29 pm

Hey Sandy!!! You are truly inspiring. I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again, I hope that I can be half as active and adventurous as you are. I watched Oprah a few years ago and she said that her fifties were the best years of her life. She also said that she has felt that way for each decade she has entered and that life just kept getting better and better. After that show, I came away with a better outlook on life. It was around that time that I really started to think about how much better life was the older I got. Even though I knew it internally, I hadn’t actually named it until that moment.

That is incredible about the 29 thing. Seriously, if you are interested in going just say the word. I would love to go again. In fact, I took my father-in-law with me to celebrate his 60th birthday and he is hooked. He’s ready for us to go get our diving certificate. As soon as a I get a bit richer, I think I’ll take him up on it.

I can’t wait to read about your daughter. I had not known she started training when she was 40. I’ve been looking at a marathon that is held here in middle Georgia in January. Although I’ve ran a few smaller 5K and 10K races lately, I think I’m going to take the plunge and just do it.

Thanks a ton for stopping by! Greatly appreciated.

Tami :mrgreen:

Tami Brothers - September 9, 2011 - 9:33 pm

LOVE those XXX’s Marilyn. I’m sure I would not guess whatever the age you are referring to because I really can’t see you as being old enough to have daughters at the ages they are. Seriously.

I think that Israel trip is incredibly brave. I have wanted to take one for a while myself but I don’t know anyone else who would be willing to go and I am definitely not brave enough to attempt it without friends. I can’t wait to read about this new adventure for you.

I couldn’t agree more with out about how fulfilling my life has been with this group of wonderful women. You all rock! Thanks about that jumpsuit. I will admit that it was NOT comfortable.

Tami :mrgreen:

Tami Brothers - September 9, 2011 - 9:36 pm

Hey Lindy!!!! LOL on that Tami Brothers entry. I think you are doing a wonderful job. I LOVE reading your blogs and about all the things you’ve been doing. Talk about brave. I applaud you for everything you do.

Good luck on that finding out what you want to be when you grow up. I’m still not quite there. I have moments where I feel like a little kid playing grown-up. I’ll look around a conference room and see the faces looking at me to provide them information and I’ll wonder who in the heck put me in charge of this project.

I think you are doing a great job and I can’t wait to read some of your bucket list entries.

Hugs!

Tami :mrgreen:

Tami Brothers - September 9, 2011 - 9:39 pm

Hi Elaine! This has definitely been an eye-opening year. Fun and sometimes stressful. But enlightening none the less. Thanks a ton for stopping by.

Tami :mrgreen:

Tami Brothers - September 9, 2011 - 9:41 pm

Hi Missy!!!! I am definitely working on those issues. Hopefully I’m headed in the right direction. Either way, it has been a journey that I hope stays with The Kid when he goes out into the world on his own. Maybe by addressing some of our faults now, he won’t make those same mistakes. Maybe. :)

Thanks a ton for stopping by. I hope you enjoy the other posts!

Tami :mrgreen:

Tami Brothers - September 9, 2011 - 9:43 pm

Hey Sia!!!! Let’s go!!! I have no problem going again. I haven’t done it here in Georgia but I have been looking for a place and checking out some of the prices to complete my certificate. They have a bunch of opportunities in this area.

Thank you so much for encouragement. I totally need it. I’m right there for you, too. Thanks for stopping by!

Hugs!

Tami :mrgreen:

Missy Tippens - September 9, 2011 - 9:43 pm

Tami, I think we all want our kids to learn from our mistakes. Although I still hate to admit to some of mine :wink:

Tami Brothers - September 9, 2011 - 9:55 pm

Hey Nancy!!!!!! That is so cool. I never even thought about picking a superpower. You are right. If I had to choose one, I think that would definitely be it.

One of the things I thought would really scare me was the heights. I’m not terrified of them but I’m not completely comfortable either. I had that little butterfly thing going on in my stomach all the way up, but once we were falling, all that went away. Then when the shoot opened and we were floating, I can’t even explain the feeling. It was incredibly peaceful. I think you would like it. Definitely not like the ride up, but the drop is pretty cool. :)

Yay on the revisions. Now that is something I have to make myself get back to doing. I’ve found it is incredibly easy to find OTHER things to do besides all that. I know about that seeking thing. Wouldn’t that be awesome?

Thanks a ton for stopping by. I really do appreciate the support.

Tami :mrgreen:

Tami Brothers - September 9, 2011 - 9:59 pm

Hi Pam! Love, love, love your birthday blog. That is an incredible idea and I do love seeing what you do to make each day a bit different. Very inspiring. Let me know when you guys decide to go skydiving. I would LOVE to go again. I highly recommend paying the extra money for the pictures and video. Trust me when I say that you are going to want to remember it in this form. I honestly don’t remember half of the stuff that was recorded or some of the things I see in the pictures. My head was in another place with the initial worry and then the breathtaking views. I think a second jump would definitely be a lot more enjoyable knowing how the first one went.

THANK YOU for your encouragement and your compliments. I have the best friend in the world!!!

Tami :mrgreen:

Tami Brothers - September 9, 2011 - 10:04 pm

Hi LD!!! SO TRUE! It is definitely easy to make those big plans but tons of stuff have a way of stopping you. I can’t count the number of times I’ve wanted to do something, dreamed of doing it, only to let myself put it to the back of the to-do pile because other things took priority or were just easier. I hope you are able to make some of yours a reality. I’m sure you know how incredible it can be to see some of those things through. Well it’s even better when it is something that truly makes you happy. I’m rooting for you. Let me know if I can be your cheerleader. We all need those and I’ve found that without my team, I’d not be where I am today.

Hugs!

Tami :mrgreen:

Tami Brothers - September 9, 2011 - 10:06 pm

Marilyn! If we do a PF&HT team, I’m going to talk and talk and talk to try to get you to jump with us. If we can’t convince you, maybe we can get you to go up as a passenger and watch us jump out of the plane. Even that was an experience in itself. Seeing the other jump really heightened the anticipation.

Tami :mrgreen:

Tami Brothers - September 9, 2011 - 10:10 pm

Awww Darcy! Thank you. I think you have had one heck of a year and you have handled it amazingly. I think you are doing a great job and I can totally see you doing very well in the writing world. Both you and Brenna. I so can’t wait to read your story when the book comes out. I love how this publication boom is happening. Keeps me inspired.

Thank you, thank you, thank you. I look forward to working with you more this coming year.

Hugs!

Tami :mrgreen:

Tami Brothers - September 9, 2011 - 10:14 pm

Hi Katherine!!!! Dreaming of flying totally counts. Your son is amazing. Those guys who do this all the time have my deepest respect. My hat is off to all of our military men and women.

LOVE that line by Nora Roberts. I had not heard that one but I am definitely adding it to my quote wall. Nora has several in my favorites file. I love that she doesn’t try to soften the message. She is truly inspiring.

Thank you so much stopping by and commenting. I love having such wonderful friends.

Tami :mrgreen:

Tami Brothers - September 9, 2011 - 10:16 pm

LOL Sandy! I totally agree. Everyone needs that person there who is waiting for them to land. If we can’t talk her into jumping, I think having her there to share in the experience is still a great thing. Hint hint Marilyn. :)

Tami :mrgreen:

Tami Brothers - September 9, 2011 - 10:18 pm

Oh Debbie! That is exactly what my husband said. He has his pilots license and he can’t even imagine wanting to jump out of one. Your 50 goal is going great. You are well on your way to achieving so many things you’ve set out to do. You are truly inspiring.

I also love that you are doing the chef thing. The knife class sounds incredible. I can’t wait to read more about it.

Tami :mrgreen:

Tami Brothers - September 9, 2011 - 10:22 pm

Hi Susan! I am totally inspired by your Grand Canyon adventure. I had to guilt hubby into taking me and The Kid when we took a trip to Arizona one year. We were only three hours away and there was no way I was not going to see it. His mom and dad decided to come along.

Because it was New Years it was COLD and WINDY. I was scared to death that we were going to get blown off the side. Of course we did the typical tourist thing and had people take our camera and take pictures of the five of us. I know that is something crazy with the way people have a tendency to not be so trustworthy. But there is just something humbling about seeing something that magnificent.

I thought I had truly experienced the place until I read about your hiking and mule ride. I’ve been researching that and I think I might have to start working on hubby to take another trip. That sounds like a hoot.

If you figure out that time thing, please let me know. I really need to get better with that one.

Hugs!

Tami :mrgreen:

Tami Brothers - September 9, 2011 - 10:32 pm

Hey Carol!!! I can’t believe there is no STARBUCKS!!! Whatever in the world do you do??? < <>>

My husband would be the first to say that I definitely have an addiction to that place. Even though I budget my time and ration myself throughout the week, it’s enough that he hasn’t let me live it down.

I can totally see the nurturing thing with you. You are always there for all of us and I hope that we can do the same for you. Putting ones needs ahead of others is a tough concept for a lot of women to grasp. I honestly don’t know if I would even be as adamant about this myself if I hadn’t seen how much giving everything can take out of a person. I see my mom bend over backwards; sometimes giving the last dollar she has in order to help another. I love that she is such a good person, but I’ve seen how draining it is for her. I’ve learned that you have to take care of yourself first before you can be any kind of help to others.

Thanks so much for stopping by. I hope you can do these things for yourself. You definitely deserve it.

Huge cyber hugs!

Tami :mrgreen:

Tami Brothers - September 9, 2011 - 10:35 pm

Hi Brenda!!!! You are definitely my rock. I don’t thank you enough for being there for me. I hope you realize just how much I appreciate you listening to me ramble and rant. You are the very best.

LOL on the spending time on the improvement part. I think you are doing a TERRIFIC job!

Hugs, hugs, hugs!

Tami :mrgreen:

Tami Brothers - September 9, 2011 - 10:39 pm

Hey Missy! You snuck in on me while I was responding. I was thinking about that after I typed my reply to you. After contemplating more I’ve come to the decision that I hope he does learn from my experiences, but that I really hope he has the courage to go out and do some of the things I didn’t. Of course, I also know that even though I try to show him the better path, until he’s traveled it himself he probably won’t appreciate my advice as much.

Oh and I can totally agree on not wanting to admit to a few. There is a little incident with some dish soap and the town fountain that I really hope he never hears about. :)

Tami :mrgreen:

Missy Tippens - September 9, 2011 - 11:07 pm

Tami, my son (a senior in college) actually called us this summer to ask how we do our budget! So you really are setting a good example. :)

Sue Farrell - September 10, 2011 - 11:18 am

Your blog really made me think about my own life. I never worried about my age until I turned 60—but since both of my parents died in their 60
s I really got caught up in feeling old once I turned 60. I think after reading your blog that it’s time for me to quit worrying and let loose and have some fun and do some of the exploring that I’ve already wanted to do.

Tami Brothers - September 13, 2011 - 9:15 pm

Hey Missy! That is really saying something. I just talked with my sister tonight and her oldest son is learning the ways of the world, too. He actually asked her to sit down with him so he could figure out how to squeeze an extra $10 a month so he could get something on his car fixed. Crazy huh? I love it when we get to be smart again. :)

Tami :mrgreen:

Tami Brothers - September 13, 2011 - 9:18 pm

Hey Sue! I say go for it. I think sixty is a great age and I wish you all the best with your explorations. If you are interested in blogging about some of your travels, let me know. We are always looking for guests to blog for our Travel section.

Hugs!

Tami :mrgreen:

Tami Brothers - September 13, 2011 - 9:21 pm

LOL! I had the kid pick a number and guess who won? Carol/Annie… Tooo tooo funny girl. How about this. Instead of a Starbucks card, how about a Amazon gift card? Books are always a hit.

I’ll shoot you an e-mail to let you know and see which one you prefer.

Thanks everyone for coming out and supporting me and the Petit Fours and Hot Tamales. We truly appreciate it!

Tami :mrgreen:

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