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22 Things // A Birthday Reflection

It’s my birthday today. I’ve only posted once before about my birthday (the 18 Things Learned in 2019 post) but this year I wanted to do a sort of reflection on how far I’ve come in the past year. This post, by the way, was inspired by Roseanna M. White’s post 40 Things—things learned, discovered, loved, and hated. And I would also like to underline that any accomplishments I’ve reached are solely because of the Lord but adding “praise the Lord” after every one was a little tedious so I’m praising Him here and specifying in the following list. ;P

1. New Love: Journaling.

I’ve been trying to journal “properly” for years but 1) I never stayed consistent for very long and 2) I never wrote very much because I got tired/bored so quickly. I realized the other day that since January 1st, 2023, I’ve been journaling not every single day, but at least 3-4 times a week, and I’ve journaled at length. I’ve fond pleasure in recording even the mundane things, because they’re not mundane after all—they’re the bits and pieces that make up life and that I will want to remember, after all.

2. New Accomplishment: Eating Properly.

In November, if you recall, I went on a very strict diet. December was a complete crash and I dropped back into my usual way. But in January, I’ve struck a balance. I have a diet and I stick to it, but there’s a little more leeway, which helps. More importantly though, I’m doing well in breaking the power food has over me. I didn’t realize until recently how much control it had over me—I truly couldn’t say no to it. But I’ve discover how to control the impulse, and what creates real eating pleasure. I even eat foods I dislike like quinoa and string beans. I don’t have heartburn anymore, I get full faster and stay full faster, and I can’t eat as much as I used to. 🙂

And just to tack on: since December 24, I’ve been drinking 64oz of water almost every day. It’s made a huge difference!

3. New discovery: Air Filters.

In the last first weeks of January, I had incredible difficulties with breathing and sleep. I woke up at 2:30 or 3 AM every morning stiflingly hot and unable to breath properly. I couldn’t fall back asleep until 4 or 5 AM, either, which wrecked my early mornings. I took my inhaler consistently every evening and often in the wee hours of the morning when I woke, and sometimes during the day as well, because I spent the whole day struggling to breathe as well. We then bought an air filter and oh, the difference it makes! Since it’s been in my room for 5 minutes, I have never used my inhaler in spite of having a cold. I don’t need to wash and change my sheets and pillowcase every day; we don’t need a dusty fan going all night to give me air; I don’t have nightmares; I sleep unbroken sleep; I can sit on my bed without problems; I can clean my room and my desk; I can exercise; I can rearrange my bookshelf; I can LIVE! I can breathe!! It’s a whole life changer.

4. New Love: Redwall.

I know this doesn’t fit in with all the serious things on this list, but it’s real. I discovered the Redwall TV series last year, and this year I am reading the book series, and oh—my—heart. It’s amazing. I love it. The characters, the stories, the settings, the connections!!! Argh it has my heart and I absolutely need all these books on my shelf. <33

5. New Accomplishment: A Bookshelf.

Speaking of bookshelves, I have a whole bookshelf now. In fact, I have too many books for my bookshelf. And not because of notebooks or anythings—just because I have BOOKS. This is a real dream come true. 14-year-old me would weep tears of joy. ;P I take it for granted most of the time, but I try to remember frequently how much a blessing it is.

And along those lines—I have a whole bunch of old books, ranging from 1970s to 1890s. And I AM SO HAPPY ABOUT THAT. I am 100% committed to growing that collection but a good start is wonderful. ❤

6. New discovery: Podcasting.

I’ve thought of podcasting for a while, and now I am doing it with my cohost at Gibson Girl Review. (I know, I never made an official announcement here, but it’s coming). And while I’m not sure what I think of it, I also believe I could really enjoy it and I am interested in learning more. 🙂

7. New Love: Films

I used to say I was a TV show girl because films were too long. Since then I’ve discovered a lot of good films, and I’ve discovered why people love Disney + Pixar so much. ;P

8. New Accomplishment: Anthologies

I’ve been in five anthologies now—two poetry ones, and three short story ones. It’s something very special to me 🙂 and I aim to enter 2 more this year at least!

9. New discovery: Confidence

I’ve grown a lot in self-confidence and self-appreciation in the past year. While I still have some shyness and self-deprecation, I am much better than I was and can do far more. It’s very encouraging and very helpful, haha.

10. New Love: My Writing

I always loved what I wrote, but I never was confident that it was really loveable. Until this year, when I wanted to read The Colour of Nativity so badly I pulled it up on my phone and lay for two hours reading the whole thing unable to put it down and it was perfect and made me so happy. Idc if no one else feels that way. It’s enough that I do. I think others do, so that’s good. ❤

11. New Accomplishment: Freedom From Depression & Anxiety.

I have been depression-free for months. While I still have moments of self-dislike and guilt, I don’t have that passionate self-loathing or complete depression about myself and my future. I am no longer battling crippling anxiety, although I still have some stress and a little worry. I never thought I’d make it so far. ❤

(Also, I haven’t really mentioned this on my blog often, but I’d like to clarify it is not my family/parents/church’s fault that I struggled with depression and anxiety. They helped me get all the tools and they told me all the truths I needed. I was just stubborn and listened to my emotions instead of the facts, and all that fun jazz. Everything that I realized the past two years had been taught to me—I just didn’t believe it.)

12. New discovery: Geography & Times Tables.

Two topics I never mastered in school because of how bad I was at them. I am now studying them and I am happy to say I know most of my times tables—if not by heart, I at least know how to get the answer and that relatively quickly—and I know North America pretty well. (I keep getting Honduras and Nicaragua mixed up.)

13. New Love: Buying Books.

I didn’t buy books very much before because of lack of funds. Since that huge Thriftbooks haul I discovered I am slightly addicted to buying books and swelling my shelves and getting packages in the mail. ;P It is intoxicatingly enjoyable!

14. New Accomplishment: Peace About My Future

I still want marriage and I still hope for an officer, but I no longer battle the worry of not having these on the daily. I have let go/am letting go of most or all of my preconceptions and non-essential “musts” for Mr. Right as well. it’s very freeing. But it’s become a happy, wishful dream instead of a painful, fear-filled obsession.

15. New discovery: Netgalley.

Again, a bit non-important, but for real. I dreamed of being part of something like this for years. ;P Still haven’t gotten anything off it except Hannah Linder’s books but we’re getting there!

16. New Love: Cooking.

Admittedly, I have more problems cooking now because of the new diet. But. I did discover I loved cooking earlier last year, and I want to get back to that. Even if I have to adjust things or find replacements. It’s a joy I want ti rediscover!

17. New Accomplishment: Walking In High Heels.

I was the kid who split my forehead open on high heels (most traumatic memory of my life) and had the scar for years. I am the girl with broad feet, bad ankles, and terrible balance. I was the kid who dreamed of heels, and the teenager who doubted I’d ever wear it but dreamed anyways. And now I’m the woman who walks just fine in heels, thanks. Small win. But a dream come true for me.

18. New discovery: Church Family.

Spent my life in church but it was always a change and people didn’t commit. My siblings and I have a lot of trusting issues and skepticism tied to this. We weren’t over-kind to our new church family in consequence, but they stayed and they loved us like their own selves and we’ve learned so much. We’ve been blessed and we are blessed and we’ve learned how to trust and let go much better. ❤

19. New Love: Clothes.

My whole life I wore what was practical instead of what was pretty, and my pretty clothes were destroyed because I am hard on everything. Somehow. I don’t know. I’m a destroying machine purely by accident. (I come by it honestly. My father and his brothers were like that. My father still is and so are my siblings). Anyways, I always dreamed of a pretty, stylish wardrobe and never really thought I’d get it. And now I am in the process of building it! And I finally got a cameo necklace ❤

20. New Accomplishment: A Pretty Room.

Along the same lines—always dreamed of a pretty room but never was much good at putting it together. I am very happy with mine now and I continue to add to it. 🙂

21. New discovery: In Real Life Friends.

I had neighbour kids to play with for a brief while as a child, but no longterm in real life friendships. I am thrilled to be finally pursuing some now with sweet church friends. ❤

22. New Hatred: noise.

I decided I should finish up with a hatred instead of going over the three usual categories. But boy did I ever have difficulty coming up with this! The only new hatred I could think of is that I am way more intolerant to noise while working than I used to. ;P

After celebrating these accomplishments the Lord has brought me to, I’d like to outline a few goals for my 22nd year.

Goal #1: Try more foods.

Ok so I hate most veggies. But the other day, I took a huge leap and tasted peas for the first time in about ten years. I still hate them. But I took 5 forkfuls, and I look forwards to learning to eat them and other veggies even if I hate them. And fruits, too.

Irrelevant but can I also mention I take pills just fine now? You’re welcome, 9-year-old me.

Goal #2: Exercise consistently, ideally 6x a week, at least 15 minutes.

So far, as a beginner, I have to take a lot of breaks. I want to be able to exercise a full fifteen minutes without breaks. I don’t know when, but I’m aiming for that.

Goal #3: Have 3 meetings with God a day.

My ultimate goal, of course, is constant communion, but this is the start. I’m already working on morning time (although I admit it’s very hard and I am not consistent) and my goal is to add midday and evening time as well.

Goal #4: Read 90 minutes a day + take a Sabbath.

I’ve been reading daily almost every single day since January 1, and it’s made a difference. I forgot how much reading helps me mentally and emotionally. As an addition to that goal, I’d like to take Sundays off from work and SM and just read, play games, and hang out with my family.

Goal #5: Get a consistent sleep schedule.

Sleep has never been good or easy for me, but that air filter has done a huge difference, as I mentioned. My goal is to be in bed by 9 and sleep until 5, at which point I actually get up. ;P I’d also like to be off screens for 1-2 hours before bed. I’ll probably aim for just 1 hour for now.

Goal #6: Move throughout the day.

I have a huge bad habit of sitting down and getting sucked into my work and not getting up for like 3 hours. Every 30 minutes, I want to get up, walk around, run up and down the stairs, and do some squats for about 5 minutes. (I also want to get up to go get things myself instead of asking people close by, or going without. ;P)

Goal #7: Track my food.

Sticking to the diet and tracking my food. Simple. Hard. Important.

Goal #8: Schedule daily.

I’ve always been bad about this but I know it helps so much and I really want to get into a groove of doing it!!

As you may have noticed, this year’s goals are mostly health focused since that is my priority. They may not seem very ambitious but to me they’re mountain-high and I’m grateful I can tackle them! And I’d love to hear what things you’ve learned or accomplished lately 🙂


Published by Katja L.

Hello! :) I'm Katja. I'm a Canadian bibliophile, book reviewer, writer, and child of God. I love too many things to name, but among them are chocolate, heirlooms, history, fancy handwriting, grammar & punctuation, laughter, tearjerking books, lists, organized bookshelves, pink roses, flowing skirts, hymns, and pretty much anything old-fashioned, beautiful, & classy.

26 thoughts on “22 Things // A Birthday Reflection

  1. Happy birthday, Kats!! 🤗 I loved hearing these tidbits from the last year! So many victories and positive steps – I’m super proud of you, girl, and cheering you on to more successes in this next year! I’m blessed to have you as one of my good friends!

    Reading every day is something I’ve been rediscovering too, and I totally relate to the mental and emotional boost! I like that idea of a “Sabbath”, and it’s something I’ve actually considered too, though due to some necessary life structure, I’ve thought about Saturday instead! 😉

    Liked by 1 person

  2. Happy Birthday, Katja! That’s so exciting you’re starting a podcast, and I look forward to hearing more about it in the future. Also, I’m not a huge fan of peas either (and some veggies), but my mom seasons ours, so that helps lol. Anyway, I really enjoyed this post! Praying that God will bless your year with His grace and goodness 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

  3. Happy birthday Katja!!! I love seeing everything you have accomplished this last year and all the ways you have grown! It’s amazing! I hope this I will be incredible and blessed year for you! 💛

    Liked by 1 person

  4. HAPPY LATE BIRTHDAY, LOVE! I somehow didn’t get the notification on my email for your newsletter; I’m gonna get that fixed! You are such a blessing, and I am so happy to call you one of my online besties!
    I am so happy to hear you are now free of depression and anxiety! Nearly crying, girl ! I have been praying for you for so long! We all have. Glory to God! He is so so SO faithful!
    I am so proud of you; I wish I could give you a hug! You have grown so much, and I know this year is going to be amazing for you!
    And I am thrilled you have made some real-life friends! AGGGHHH! Congrats!
    I’m probably going to be smiling for you all day now. Bless you, sweet girl! Love you! ❤

    Liked by 1 person

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