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Collecting myself

Gwen Hernandez

Some people collect cat figurines, others hoard stamps. I’m kind of anti-clutter—except for my writing desk—but I still collect. And I don’t just mean dust from lack of housekeeping (though that’s there too).

I collect experiences. Places, cultures, foods, events, skills, knowledge. I want as many and as much as I can get. Nothing death-defying need apply, but otherwise, I’m pretty open. And I like a challenge.

Travel is one of my favorite things, and I do as much as I can within my time and budget constraints. Being a military-brat-turned-spouse helps. I’ve lived in eight States and in Germany twice, visited 43 States and 16 countries. Just as an adult, I’ve had at least twenty addresses. Tucson and D.C. are the only metro areas I’ve ever moved back to after leaving.

When I can’t travel far, I explore locally, and the Washington, D.C. area provides plenty of opportunities for that.

If I’m homebound, I read, study, and research. My husband and I are learning Kung Fu, and I recently spent ten weeks attending the FCPD citizens police academy.

I’ve cross-pollinated cotton for research, helped run a gym, volunteered for a political campaign, worked in a college football office, watched live rocket launches, torn down and rebuilt a house in two weekends, toured a glass bottle plant, a bicycle manufacturer, and an FA-18 assembly line, and worked in a semi-conductor plant.

Since I got my B.S. (insert joke here), I’ve been a programmer, systems analyst, business instructor, self-employed database designer, real estate investor, graduate student, and a manufacturing engineer. My resume is longer than it should be for my age, but until I became an ME, nothing satisfied my desire for constant change and challenge.

When the hours overtook my family life, I quit to be more available for my boys, but quickly got bored while they were at school. And then I found writing. Writing provides a never-ending opportunity to learn new things, either about craft, or in my research. As soon as I start getting paid, it will be the perfect job!

Despite all my “collecting”, day-to-day I’m pretty snooze-worthy. I write, read, work out, walk the world’s laziest golden retriever, and shuttle my boys to swim practice.

This summer promises more fun though. My next big adventures include RWA National Conference in New York, and my first ever cruise!

Whether by accident or design, I’ve had plenty of fun and met a lot of great people along the way. Some of those people are right here on this blog, and I’m excited to be joining them as the First-Friday-of-the-Month Girl. Thanks, ladies!

I’ll bet if you look back over your own life you’ve collected plenty of interesting experiences too. What are some of your favorite or unique ones?

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15 Responses

  1. […] is my debut post for Everybody Needs a Little Romance. Come find out what I collect and share your own […]

  2. Wow, Gwen! Most of my interesting experiences are the ones I’ve made up in books. LOL

    My favorite experiences were climbing Mt. Katahdin in Maine and working at the National Geographic Society right after college. Beyond that, it’s all super-boring stuff!

    • Ha, Natalie. I’m a writer. I should be able to make anything sound interesting, right? 😉 Both of yours sound very cool. Somehow I doubt the rest is all super-boring. Thanks for being my debut commenter!

  3. Wow, You have done a lot of interesting things.

    My biggest accomplishment was working 40hrs, going to school part time and still trying to take care of the family at home.

    as far as adventures, I tend to leave those in the books I read. I would love to travel, just can’t afford to go very far.

    Welcome to the blog.

  4. Good for you for the group blog. I belong to two of them and love them. It is easier to share the load, too. Right now I am glad to say that I’m not much of a collector. I collect Christmas ornaments and friends. Sigh. Both are sentimental and special to me.

    • Christine, thanks so much for stopping by! I collect Christmas ornaments too. My husband and I call our tree the travel tree because almost all of the ornaments are from one of our trips. I hadn’t thought about it because we don’t display them year ’round.

      I agree that you collect friends, and I know that *you* are special to *them*! You are so great at meeting new people and making them feel welcome. I love that about you!

  5. I didn’t think about christmas ornaments either. We also add several new ornaments to the tree each year that hold some form of meaning to our family. Something we did or saw, etc. We have a 2 yr old running around so some of our older/breakable ornaments didn’t make the tree last year.

    I also collect keychains (especially hard rock cafe ones) and ink pens (don’t ask).

    I guess I do actually collect a few things.

    and yes, it is rough balancing it all. I have 1 more class and I will have my MBA by Christmas. I am ready to be done with school.

    • Congrats on the MBA. I know it’ll feel great to finish! My husband and I did grad school at the same time. Not sure what we were thinking, but at least we got it over with. 😉

      • My husband and I both went through undergrad together and took a lot of our classes together. Helped cut down on the cost of books and added to our competitive natures.

        We started grad school together but he still has 4 classes to go because of work constraints he has only been able to take 1 class when I took 2.

  6. I think I am trying to do what you do only using photos. I get bored and yearn to even just take day trips where I can find something to photograph. I love collecting “photos” and sharing.

  7. I don’t collect much…have fallen into collecting a number of angels, which I do love.

    I am envious of your anti-clutter house. I would love to have a place for everything and everything in its place. Not happening…at least not while I’m married to hubby (26 years and still going strong…So..clutter is my life)

    THRILLED to be sharing Fridays with you. Fridays are going to be the coolest day of the week.

    • Cyndi: There are definitely spots in my house where clutter gathers. It’s an ongoing war. When I lived alone, um, about 18 years ago, I had a spot for everything. Now it’s more of an ideal, especially for those spaces I don’t totally control.

      I’m happy to share Fridays with you too! It will be the coolest day of the week, but I’m pretty sure it won’t be because of me! 😉

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