Ten things I have stopped doing

message in a bottle

Someone on Quora asked for a list of ten things I’ve stopped doing in life. This is mine. Yes, there are ten. I can count.

The world is in turmoil (May the turmoil cause long-lasting change for the better!), my editing is dragging along (May the editing also cause change for the better!), and it’s kinda cold (So, log fire, yay!).

Also, I’m getting older. Don’t be smug–you’re getting older too.

I didn’t have a topic to blog about today, so I thought I’d go to Quora and answer some questions. The first question I found was so good I reduced “questions” to “question”.

Here it is: What 10 things have you stopped doing in your life?

Wearing a school uniform

Is this even a thing in the US? I don’t know.

In New Zealand, we had to wear a school uniform until our last year of high school.

For girls at my school, that meant in summer a short-sleeved white shirt or polo shirt and a lightweight skirt with two pleats in the front. (No shorter than two inches above the knee!) In winter, a long-sleeved white shirt and ankle-length woolen kilt (scratchy and not that warm). Plus any time an ugly v-neck jersey.

I looked on Pixabay for a picture of school uniforms, but Pixabay seems to think the only uniforms are sports uniforms and sexy costumes that (I hope) are not intended for school.

We’ll skip the picture.

The upsides of a uniform were that you didn’t have to think about what to wear, everyone looked equally stupid, and you stretched your creative muscles coming up with ways to express yourself without going (too far) outside the rules.

I fastened my shoes using rubber bands tied to the laces that went under the arch of the sole. Come to think of it, rubber bands held up my kilt.

You might have guessed I had a thing for rubber bands.

Since I finished school, I stopped wearing a school uniform. I feel so grown up.

See? So grown up.

Thinking anyone would notice me for being “good”

As a kid, I was a rule-follower. It seemed like the thing to do. I went out of my way to follow all the rules, including ones I’d imagined.

At school I tried to be good because I was shy and that seemed like the best way to get attention without having to do anything scary (like talk).

Did it work?

Not even close.

Being an observant type (not really), I eventually noticed that it was the kids who finished their maths problems first who got to play with the blocks. However good I was, I never got to play with the blocks (and I REALLY wanted to).

So I decided to be good at maths instead. You can see how that worked out.

Giving my characters special eyes

Everyone loves fantasy heros (of any gender) with special eyes. Purple, grass-green, red, slit like a cat’s.

You see a person with eyes like that and you know they’re Special.

Purple eyes! You can’t tell me she’s not Special.

I have zero problem with this, until eye colour stands in for actual characterisation.

When I wrote as a kid, my process for coming up with a new main character went like this.

It’ll be a girl, obviously, because girls are better than boys.

What colour hair should she have? I like red hair, but my last MC had red hair and I have to make this one different. The MC before that had black hair. I guess this one’s blond.

I know! I’ll make her really different. I’ll give her curly hair. (My hair is straight, so straight is the default.)

Next, eye colour. It can’t be a boring colour, meaning a colour that could really happen.

So, purple, black, red, orange, or yellow.

Black, red, orange, and yellow are out. They’re only for bad guys and poultry.

I have orange eyes. Now are we going to kidnap this princess or what?

So, purple? But my last character had purple eyes, and remember this one has to be different.

I know! What if they were blue or green, but not ordinary blue or green? Bright blue or green that couldn’t possibly be natural.

Problem solved.

Also, her two eyes could be different colours (one bright blue and one bright green) or her eyes could change colour, like when she does magic.

This story’s gonna be so cool!

Fun though it was, I eventually used up all the hair and eye colours, so I don’t do this any more.

Judging all houses by whether they have cool places to sit on the roof

You know what’s almost as good to climb as a tree?

A house.

Before I was ten, I spent a lot of time playing on the roof. It was steep (exciting but also scary) with lots of inny and outy bits. (And no, I never fell off or even came close.)

But you can only explore your own roof for so long before you start looking at other people’s roofs. (If this sounds like innuendo, I promise it’s not.)

So as I drove through the suburbs I’d look for the houses with the best roofs. Most were boring, some were spectacular.

Is that a ledge at the bottom of the steep sloping part? I think it is. I need this roof (I just hope the house isn’t haunted).

When I was ten we moved to a house with a less exciting (and flatter) roof.

Sadly, when we bought our current house the coolness (or lack) of the roof didn’t even feature in my decision.

If you’ve been paying attention, you might protest this isn’t ten things. But it’s my blog, and if I say this is a list of ten then it is.

So there.

How about you? What have you stopped doing?

Did you know you can get my posts in your inbox? No creepy-eyed poultry will get in, I promise.

Author: A.S. Akkalon

By day, A.S. Akkalon works in an office where the computers outnumber the suits of armour more than two-to-one. By night, she puts dreams of medieval castles, swords, and dragons onto paper.

22 thoughts on “Ten things I have stopped doing”

  1. I stopped letting people tell me what is good for me. I stopped caring what people think of me. I stopped wearing purple (even though I still secretly love it – yep even my hair was purple at one time). Since the confinement, I decided that sweatpants is the new suit. So now I “sweatpants” up everyday. Make up is optional unless I have a video conference and even then, it depends who’s in front of me. At work, I have cats for colleagues. They mainly watch me though and remind me when it’s lunch time. Who needs alarm clocks? ๐Ÿ™‚ I serve as cushion or bed at times too.

    1. Yours seem like bigger achievements than mine. I let people tell me what’s good for me less than I used to and I care less about what they think, but it never entirely goes away. But I have to say your working at home (I assume) setup sound perfect.

      1. Iโ€™ve been working from home since March. My company hasnโ€™t decided to bring us back just yet. Not complaining ๐Ÿ˜‚

  2. I’ve stopped taking responsibility for others’ feelings. “Do no harm, but take no crap.” (Also, most US schools don’t have uniforms, but do tend to have horrendously sexist dress codes. It’s pretty embarrassing.)

    1. Not taking responsibility for other people’s feelings is a good one!

      Sexist school dress codes? I hate to imagine. At my school some girls resented having to wear skirts and started wearing the boys’ uniform. There was a bit of noise, then no one really cared.

      1. Last summer (I think it was as recent as last summer) when the weather got really warm some boys at a local school tried to get away with wearing shorts. This wasn’t within the uniform code so they got told off. Being enterprising little chaps they then decided that they’d wear their sisters’ skirts instead. As the skirt was part of the school uniform code this was allowed.

        1. An excellent and mutually acceptable solution. Boys at my school wore shorts in summer, but from experience skirts are actually better in really hot weather because of the air circulation.

  3. You know, school uniforms would not have been my first thought for a list of things I donโ€™t do anymore, but youโ€™re totally right. Then again, this is my fifth year out of high school.

    Great post! Subscribed โ˜บ๏ธ

    1. Thanks so much for stopping by!

      I’m rather more than five years out of high school, but some things are so traumatising they stick with you for life. ๐Ÿ™‚

  4. I agree with your decision on thinking others would notice that you were good. I am also a pleaser, and it never really went anywhere, except anxiety and exhaustion for me. As for roofs, I wonder what you would think of our tiny house – it is an A-frame cabin, so mainly one big roof. Haha!

    1. Yes! Anxiety, exhaustion, and disappointment. (I was so good! Why did no one say anything? ๐Ÿ™ )

      Sounds like you have a dull roof. Unless it has window bits sticking out the sides that you can straddle. Then it might be a fun roof. ๐Ÿ˜‰ Have you tried it out?

  5. I forget sometimes that New Zealand is in another hemisphere and that it’s winter there. Or almost winter?

    I’ve stop insisting that every single main character look completely different than the one before. They can all look the same if I want! But I totally used to do that, and I also ran out of colors.

    I stopped climbing trees. And I did fall out a couple of times. One such time happened when I was trying to talk my neighbor’s sister into climbing into the trees with us, so I climbed up to prove how easy it is and knocked the wind out of myself. Short story shorter, she did not climb the tree with us.

    That house is definitely haunted by the way.

    1. It is winter and it’s cold (for us)!

      Haha. There should so be more colours for hair and eyes! We can’t be the only two people who’ve ever had this problem. My solution was to largely stop defining what my main characters look like except where it matters for the story (and how often does eye colour really matter, unless it’s a romance?).

      I don’t like to say I stopped climbing trees, because that would mean I don’t do it any more, but I will admit to doing it less. Oops! I hope you didn’t do any worse than wind yourself falling out of the tree.

  6. Ugh, school uniform. Our school was a little odd, so you only had to wear uniform from form one to five (and I was only there for four and five, so not too much uniform wearing). However, if your parents felt it inhibited your freedom of expression or personality, you didn’t have to wear it at all. And while there was different uniform for boys and girls, if girls objected to skirts they could wear boy’s trousers or (with great practicality) white shorts. Also there was no set style, so some girls had very, very small skirts, and some had very, very long skirts, and all the shirts and jumpers were different.

    I feel it was less a uniform than a suggestion of dress code, looking back.

    I’m still working on not trying to be good all the time.

    1. That sounds like no school uniform I ever heard of. You have to wonder what they’d been taking when they came up with it. ๐Ÿ™‚

      I think learning to not be good is a lifetime pursuit for those of us who are that way inclined. Each day, a little more rebellion flowers, and one day we’ll get to the point where we don’t have to wait for the walk signal to cross a deserted street.

  7. “I think it is. I need this roof (I just hope the house isnโ€™t haunted).” Come on lass, a house like that has got to be haunted, it’s a law of nature, or something.

  8. You’re right; great question. BTW, we used to have an excellent roof with many possibilities, which my boys and their friends enjoyed to the full while growing up and luckily they all escaped mostly unscathed. Things I don’t do anymore: color my hair (silver is hip!), curl my hair (it’s too short), worry about my hair (it’s too short), spend months getting ready for Christmas, use my good china (because it has to be hand-washed), drink diet soda, watch TV news (it makes me crazy; I read news instead), wear high heels (ouch), turn somersaults for any reason, go on diets. I sort of wish I could still turn somersaults.

    1. Great to hear I’m not the only one enjoying the delight of roofs!

      It sounds like you’ve got your life in order! I still dye my hair (I have since I was sixteen), but I’ve never curled it or worried about it. I think Christmas is fun for children, but now I prefer to limit celebrations to a nice meal and a bottle of wine. I’m impressed you have good china, but propose you instead stop worrying about whether the dishwasher will hurt it. Yuck to diet soda and TV news. I never really wore heels, though I’m moderately fond of platforms – comfortable, stable, and then I don’t need to get my trousers taken up. I agree, somersaults are a nice thing to keep. Can the world be that terrible when you’ve just seen it flash upside down? ๐Ÿ™‚

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