25 Things: Nothing Changes

It’s funny how little things actually change from year to year. Often, the things we notice are those that show a physical change: children getting taller, hair getting longer, wrinkles forming around eyes. Other parts of life, however, appear the same from year to year. Just today, I came across a list I wrote three years ago—you know the kind—“25 Things” about me shared with friends on Facebook. When I read the list, I was so surprised to see that much hasn’t changed.

I’ve decided to update the list to see how my life three years ago compares to my life today.

  1. This is the second time I wrote this list tonight. [Today: I still find myself spending possibly too much time writing. The main difference is that I now do it in a blog.]
  2. I find parenting a child (age 3-4) to be one of the most challenging tests of self-control—they have no concept of consequences, and “If” clauses mean nothing to them. [Today: My son is almost seven, and I am unbelievably happy to be past that age.]
  3. I speak Turkish fluently. [Today: The word “fluently” should probably be used loosely—I don’t speak it often enough. However, recently I found myself speaking with an elderly Turkish woman at my son’s taekwondo class. It’s still there—I think I just need to go spend some time in Turkey to help it come back.]
  4. I like to relieve stress when I get home from work by blasting music and dancing with my children. [Today: I now work from home, so I “get home” from work about an hour earlier than I used to, and my stress-level is much lower. That being said, most days as soon as I am done working, I have to take my children to at least one after-school activity—so no time for dancing.]
  5. My left arm is much stronger than my right because I unwillingly carry my son around and he weighs 45 pounds. [Today: My son now weighs 65 pounds, and I no longer carry him around. Although, I must admit that when he first wakes up in the morning, and he’s climbing down the ladder from his top bunk, I can’t help but grab him and hug him—and maybe carry him to the living room.]
  6. I met my husband on my second day in Istanbul—12 years ago today. [Today: Although it’s not the exact same date, the count is now up to 15 years, and tomorrow is our 12th wedding anniversary. You can read about how we met here.]
  7. My son’s middle name is Rohat which means “sunrise” in Kurdish. [Today: His middle name hasn’t changed, however he has recently adopted a nickname that more and more people seem to be using. It’s only happened a couple of times, but it’s very strange to refer to my son as something other than the name we gave him.]
  8. I have been driving the same car for 10 years, and I will drive it until it drives no more. [Today: The car is three years older, and still going strong.]
  9. Before children, I would read a book or two a week, now I read a book once a year (if you don’t count the nightly ritual of reading “Where the Wild Things Are”). [Today: I do spend more time reading, however my new distraction is writing, and reading others’ blogs—but that counts as reading, right?]
  10. My biggest pet-peeve is not closing cabinets or drawers (it makes my skin crawl, like that scene in “The Sixth Sense”). [Today: This hasn’t changed, but my husband and children have gotten somewhat better at making sure to close them.]
  11. My house caught fire when I was four (with the 4 of us kids still inside), and my older sister—who was five years-old—called the fire department. [Today: This is the house that I wrote about in “Looking for Home.” I just learned that it’s for sale, and I’m tempted to go to an Open House just so I can see if the inside is as I remember it.]
  12. I graduated from college with a degree in English and Art, and I specialized in painting and photography. [Today: The one thing about the past is that it can’t change, it is part of what makes us who we are.]
  13. I went to Paris and didn’t go to the top of the Eiffel Tower. [Today: I am afraid of heights, and I don’t know whether or not I will ever be able to go to the top.]
  14. A friend and I were kicked off of a train in Italy, and taken off of a subway in Berlin. [Today: I alluded this to in my post “My Journey Continued: Moving to Istanbul.”]
  15. When I graduated from college, I told my parents that there was no way that I was getting a job. I wanted to waitress, save money, then travel the world—which is what I did. [Today: I just realized that there are many topics in this list that are identical to the topics I used in my earlier blog posts. I either have a finite number of interesting facts about my life OR these are just the things that have had the biggest impact. I prefer to think the latter.]
After going through the first half of this list, I now see that it’s much longer than I had originally anticipated. For this reason, I’ve decided to split it up over two posts—the second half to be delivered in a couple of days, along with my advice for my daughter.
Until then, I’d love to know at least one important—lesser-known—fact about you, so please leave a comment.

Published by Erin Rehill

A few years ago, my then eight-year-old daughter told me that she wished I could write down all the things I told her so that she wouldn’t forget them when she got older. In that moment, my daughter gave me such a sense of validation, something I hadn’t really experienced in that way. As parents, we don’t often receive confirmation from our children that we are doing a good job, or that we even know what we are talking about. Since that time, I’ve started to pay more attention to the things I tell her, often thinking to myself “Will she remember this when she is older?” So, this is for her, my words of advice to be read, thought about, laughed at, and maybe even used, when she is older.

Join the Conversation


  1. I once read Lady McBeth’s sleepwalking scene, inserting different sounds for the punctuation on stage in front of about 400 people and brought the house down! It was one of the most fun things I’ve ever done! I was a teacher at the time, and performed the stunt in a school variety show.

    1. It’s kind of funny. When my husband became a citizen, he legally changed his name to Adam. Even though our son’s name is the Turkish equivalent, he has decided to call himself A.J. for Adam, Jr. I have to admit, it’s kind of cute.

  2. HI Erin! Love this post and how 3 years later you can see where you have gone or been since then. wonderful Idea. If I think back three years from today.. ( thinking) I was newly engaged and I am sure still on cloud 9 because the actual planning part of the wedding had not started yet. =)

  3. I love your son’s middle name… and its meaning of “sonrise” oh, wait, “sunrise”… I frequently write haiku of the sunrise. My friends fuss at me if I miss a few days… and I find my deepening relationship with sunrise has also deepened my relationship with myself.

    I also somehow missed (even though you don’t mention it here!) you live in New Jersey? I grew up in Glen Ridge and one of my latest wishes is to go back and visit the home I grew up in so reading of you possibly attending an open house… well, I say a hearty – DO IT!

    Looking forward to tonight’s CommentHour!

  4. I love that you speak FLUENT TURKISH (how cool and wonderful is that?!) AND number 15 – YES! I hope my children do the same when they graduate college. No better time to roam the world, free and unencumbered!

  5. What a good idea! I think I did that 25 Things About Me list, too. I’ll have to find it! Your life sounds like it’s been filled with adventure!

    (Oh, and I’d definitely go to that Open House. I’ve never been in something as dramatic as a fire, but I still sometimes have dreams about the house I grew up in. You know, wandering through old rooms, finding an unexpected hallway, etc. There’s just something sort of romantic and mysterious about houses you no longer live in, you know?)

  6. great idea and i love istanbul – although i was only able to spend a few days there it made a great impact on me! three years ago i had just moved home from europe and was newly pregnant… what a change a few years makes. 🙂

  7. I love #5. My son isn’t as big as yours, but I too can’t resist carrying him out of bed in the morning 🙂 I feel like I’d probably still do this when he’s 45 if I could.

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