101 reasons why Joce is awesome (Joce)

When my mom was growing up she wanted to be an oceanographer. Rather than encourage her in her educational pursuits, the adults around her made her believe that women could only be two things: nurses or teachers. So, when she went to college, she studied to be a teacher. To this day she regrets that she didn’t have the nerve to stand up to those around her and really go for what she wanted.

When I was growing up, she told me this story as a warning: you can be whatever you want to be! Don’t let anyone convince you that you can’t accomplish whatever you set your mind to. My dad did, too. He would feed me stories of Olympic athletes, pioneers and young entrepreneurs making headlines in the Wall Street Journal. At school it was the same thing. You could be President of the United States – any American kid could be President of the United States! We would sit in a circle and talk about how everyone was different but equal and wonderful and how we kids could change the world, one save the rainforest campaign and Amnesty International letter writing session at a time. I dressed up as Nellie Bly for Halloween.

I grew up in the age of self-esteem. Add in a couple of afternoons of Oprah a week and I was thoroughly convinced that my future held success in spades. Champion ice skater! Millionaire by 21! First woman president? Very probable. I bought it all, hook, line and sinker.

I guess I don’t need to tell you that reality hit hard and fast. I couldn’t get the funding to go to my college of choice, so I floundered at state college and spent 7 years working full time at Rite Aid and Pizza Hut to pay my tuition. When I graduated, I realized that my Art/English/Anthropology degree was worthless in the job field. So, I went to grad school, which promptly put me $50,000 in debt and qualified me for an entry level job that paid $22,500 a year. So much for millionaire by 21.

I should mention that I also grew up under the spell of Disney romance, Seventeen magazine and Anne of Green Gables. True love will come to you, even if you are a high-spirited, red-headed orphan or a girl with a fish tail instead of legs. AND, not only will true love come to you, but he’ll probably be super hot and a prince, to boot. Just be yourself. That’s all it takes.

Yeah. So, that didn’t happen. And it’s been pretty damn depressing to realize, in writing this blog, that I’m the common denominator in all this failure. Predictably, my self-esteem, once so buoyant, has hit a new low. I know, with all the sitcom pseudo-psychology and Cosmo magazine that I’ve consumed, that no man is going to like me if I don’t like myself. Walk into a room with confidence in your stride and you’ll be handing out your phone number; believe in yourself and others will believe in you, too.

In honor of that, I’ve taken a page from the Oprah archive and I’ve made a list: 101 reasons why Joce is awesome. And, you know what? As corny as it is, this exercise has actually improved my attitude and made me more hopeful about the future. Maybe you should try it.

101 reasons why Joce is awesome

  1. I seek out interesting things, people and places and love to share them
  2. I’m capable
  3. I’m not afraid of a challenge
  4. I’m organized
  5. I’m competitive but I’m not a sore loser
  6. I’m tidy
  7. I’m a great friend
  8. I’m funny
  9. I’m willing to admit my faults
  10. I’m a good listener
  11. I give good advice
  12. I’m just as happy with a hot dog on the grill as a fancy restaurant
  13. I’m not afraid of hard work
  14. I’m healthy
  15. I’m game
  16. I’m hospitable
  17. I believe in being a unique individual and appreciate differences in others
  18. I’m a great cook
  19. I don’t have a very good sense of smell, so if your place/car/office stinks, I probably won’t notice
  20. I’m not vain
  21. It doesn’t take me long to get ready in the morning
  22. I have high standards, but hold myself to the highest standard
  23. I am kind and compassionate
  24. I’m empathetic and sympathetic
  25. I’m clever and witty
  26. I’m not afraid to laugh at myself
  27. I’m a good writer
  28. I’m a good editor
  29. I’m book smart and street smart
  30. I have a great family
  31. I love to travel
  32. I’m adventurous
  33. I’m an open book
  34. Good teeth
  35. I’ll never let you leave in the morning without your coffee and something to eat
  36. I’d be a good mom
  37. I’m a good gift giver
  38. I am constantly striving to improve myself
  39. I’m adaptable
  40. I’m flexible
  41. I think it's okay to ask for help and to help others; go team!
  42. Free wine!
  43. I’m entrepreneurial
  44. I’m well-educated
  45. I’m not religious
  46. I have your back
  47. I think it's okay to make mistakes, we're all humans with sparkles and flaws
  48. I’m dependable, never flaky and I always follow through
  49. I have a good eye for design
  50. I love animals
  51. I root for the underdog
  52. I’m discerning, not picky
  53. I can take direction, I’m a good team member
  54. I like making other people look good
  55. I’m not afraid to take the reins
  56. I have an opinion but I pick my battles
  57. I like problem solving
  58. I’m nurturing
  59. I’m mostly practical
  60. I’m a quick study
  61. I’m supportive
  62. I’m artistic/creative
  63. I’m better than average looking
  64. I believe in giving the benefit of the doubt
  65. I have an iron stomach
  66. I have beautiful big eyes and full lips
  67. I love a good deal
  68. I’m persistent
  69. I’m passionate
  70. I’m loyal
  71. I can be silly or serious
  72. Big boobs!
  73. I’ll always laugh at your jokes
  74. I’m good at my job
  75. I’m short but I have a big personality
  76. I’m not a vegetarian
  77. I’m a good correspondent
  78. I’m not average
  79. I don't care about keeping up with the Jones's
  80. I can type 80 w.p.m.
  81. I’m forgiving, I don’t hold grudges
  82. I’m affectionate
  83. I will defend my loved ones even at the risk of my own security
  84. I’m responsible
  85. Under a wimpy exterior, I’m tougher than most
  86. When the shit hits the fan, I step up to the plate
  87. I love to do outdoorsy stuff
  88. I’m a good storyteller
  89. I’m stylish
  90. I’m friendly
  91. I can sew
  92. Any place I live is automatically a home
  93. Old people find me charming (I can hold my own with bosses, parents, professors)
  94. Need a good Halloween costume? I’m your man
  95. I’m good at packing
  96. I’m complimentary
  97. I’m generous
  98. I would do anything for you
  99. I don't do drugs, smoke or drink excessively
  100. I’m hopeful
  101. I have a lot of potential