20 votes

What are you most proud of in your life?

Someone asked me this recently, and I wasn't sure how to answer. Not because I can't self-identify things I've accomplished, but because it can seem boastful to openly express them.

For this thread, I want to remove any and all social restrictions on boasting. Talk yourself up! Be loud and proud! Navel-gazing is not only allowed, but encouraged!

I chose the title based off how the question was phrased to me, but I'm really interested in what you consider to be your most positive achievements and characteristics. As such, consider the following series of questions as a jumping off point:

  • What are you most proud of in your life?
  • What are your biggest accomplishments/successes in life?
  • What are you good at?
  • What are your unique talents and skills?
  • What makes you individually awesome and stand out from others?
  • What significant hardships have you overcome?
  • How you have you changed your life, others' lives, or the world for the better?

19 comments

  1. [2]
    patience_limited
    (edited )
    Link
    I'm responding to this as self-imposed therapy, because pride was a punishable offense when I was growing up, and shame was the propulsion for much of what followed. In my overly-accomplished...

    I'm responding to this as self-imposed therapy, because pride was a punishable offense when I was growing up, and shame was the propulsion for much of what followed.

    In my overly-accomplished family, no one was more contemptible than a braggart. It was simply expected that if you had a talent, you used it to the fullest extent possible, in service to others, and then you shut up about it.

    So here we go...

    1. What am I most proud of/greatest accomplishments?

    Over the last few years, I designed and built the computing infrastructure for about 100+ medical practices around the U.S. Not totally by myself, but as the principal architect, project manager, system integrator, server engineer, and often, service desk, DBA, network engineer, security analyst, documentation writer, EMR implementor, business analyst.

    In a many respects, it was a gruesome slog requiring the demolition of self-respect, a job no one else ever really wanted to do. I'm glad it's over, but I look back and realize the work was a real accomplishment.

    I've been in the right place at the right time to make a few useful suggestions that led others to do better.

    1. "Good at", skills/talents/awesomeness:

    I'm good at synthesis. I've accumulated a broad array of knowledge domains, professions, experiences, and identities, and can come up with answers that narrower specialists often miss.

    I don't have any one great talent other than this - it's simply the summation and exercise of multiple very small talents.

    1. What great hardships have you overcome?

    I got drastically ill and dropped out of medical school. I know that sounds like an awfully privileged "hardship", but there were some other obstacles that would be more recognizable. Things like being too poor to eat regularly, mental health, sexuality/gender issues, drug and eating problems.

    Still, the med school dropout was the biggest one, the loss of a deeply desired identity. Wanted to be a doctor starting at around age 3, with heavy familial encouragement, got there, and didn't finish. It's not 'til 25 years later that I'm actually done grieving that life.

    The truth is, not having a great talent or calling is one of the greatest hardships for many - the recognition that no matter how hard you work, you're not likely to do anything significant, worthy of great praise, fame or note, outside of the people closest to you.

    It's taken me a long time to understand that the only knowable worth is in the effort. You may never grasp the true magnitude of your achievements, what's important is that something got a little better for what you did, even if you're the only one who knows about it.

    1. How have you changed your life, others' lives, or the world for the better?

    I've survived and generally, prospered, far longer and better than I expected to.

    I've made useful suggestions here and there that avoided costly, dangerous mistakes, or improved systems and institutions.

    There are a couple of Recordings for the Blind math and science textbooks I read aloud that may still be in use.

    I've talked a couple of people through bouts of panic or suicidal ideation. I've tutored and taught a handful of subjects to a few dozen people.

    I've written legal briefs that got injured people some money, and may have changed some bad laws.

    I baked very tasty pastries and cakes that made thousands of people briefly happy, and created jewelry that let a couple of dozen people feel better about themselves. There are hundreds of thousands of patients whose electronic medical records and diagnostic imaging are accessible through systems I helped build and maintain.

    Cumulatively, I've given about 10% of my earnings to various charities and institutions, and donated my time and effort, marched, protested and written, to unknown effect.

    So that's my humblebrag.

    12 votes
    1. kfwyre
      Link Parent
      What a rich, full, wonderful story! You're a hero!

      What a rich, full, wonderful story! You're a hero!

  2. [3]
    CALICO
    Link
    Once, I authored a memo to a Senior Executive that resulted in a National Policy impact. I don't get to brag about that very much. After this had happened, I asked my lead if I could put that on...

    Once, I authored a memo to a Senior Executive that resulted in a National Policy impact.

    I don't get to brag about that very much. After this had happened, I asked my lead if I could put that on my resume. They told me I could say what the memo regarded, or that it resulted in a change of policy, but absolutely not both. I decided to go with the latter. In and of itself the subject was not something anyone could appreciate, but every hiring manager understands results. But mostly, I chose it because I am proud of what my efforts proved capable of.

    I am nobody of consequence. Outside of friends and family, maybe a dozen people know my name. But I wear that resume bullet as a badge of pride, and as a reminder that yes, I can make a difference. For every hellish thing on this chaotic world I could never hope to control, I made a difference once. And I could make a difference again.

    10 votes
    1. [2]
      Nexu
      Link Parent
      Why would your lead oppose including both items on your resume?

      Why would your lead oppose including both items on your resume?

      2 votes
      1. CALICO
        Link Parent
        I work for the (US) Government—not as a Federal employee, but on a contract basis—and frequently that involves matters and materials of a sensitive or classified nature. This means that I have to...

        I work for the (US) Government—not as a Federal employee, but on a contract basis—and frequently that involves matters and materials of a sensitive or classified nature. This means that I have to constantly monitor myself, and take careful consideration of what I choose to say and how I choose to say it. If I don't, I may say something that's not public knowledge. That happens and the best-case is I get blacklisted & lose my career. Worst-case, people die. I've gotten pretty good at knowing what I can say; often that means speaking in a very vague and frustrating manner about things, especially in a context like this one where my affiliation and online persona are correlated.

        In a case like this, if the subject of my memo and its result (especially combined with a time-frame [you'll notice I've omitted that]) were publicly known then an adversary could potentially gain insight into a great many things the USG would much rather they do not know. On their own, it's entirely harmless information I could shout from the rooftops. Combined, it's very serious information indeed.

        5 votes
  3. [4]
    gordie_freeman
    Link
    I went from being a foul-mouthed, cocaine and opiate addicted cook to an engineering manager at one of the most prestigious companies in America in about 10 years.

    I went from being a foul-mouthed, cocaine and opiate addicted cook to an engineering manager at one of the most prestigious companies in America in about 10 years.

    9 votes
    1. [2]
      doug3465
      Link Parent
      Write a book, mate. I wanna learn more about this story.

      Write a book, mate. I wanna learn more about this story.

      1 vote
      1. kfwyre
        Link Parent
        I too would love to hear more, if you're willing to share @gordie_freeman.

        I too would love to hear more, if you're willing to share @gordie_freeman.

        1 vote
    2. patience_limited
      Link Parent
      That's an enormous achievement, and I'd love it if you can expand the story of your journey.

      That's an enormous achievement, and I'd love it if you can expand the story of your journey.

      1 vote
  4. gpl
    Link
    I graduated from a top 5 uni in the US majoring in physics and math. It was extremely challenging (and my grades reflect it lol) but I made it.

    I graduated from a top 5 uni in the US majoring in physics and math. It was extremely challenging (and my grades reflect it lol) but I made it.

    8 votes
  5. [3]
    Algernon_Asimov
    Link
    I wrote, produced, and co-directed a play once. I went from "I've got some money in the bank and there's an art festival coming up soon. I wonder if I should put something on?" to opening night in...

    I wrote, produced, and co-directed a play once.

    I went from "I've got some money in the bank and there's an art festival coming up soon. I wonder if I should put something on?" to opening night in less than 4 months. I wrote the script from scratch in about 6 weeks. I auditioned actors and cast the roles. I co-directed it, as a total novice to directing. I funded it all myself. I produced the whole show. I had a friend helping out as co-director for the musical aspects of the show, and providing general support and assistance, but I still did about 80% of the work myself.

    And we sold tickets! We got bums on seats, and most of those people enjoyed what they saw. I was receiving sporadic positive feedback from people for the next couple of years.

    Also, the actors enjoyed themselves (except maybe the one who had a psychotic breakdown between performances one day).

    I didn't make money. I didn't even break even. But I never intended to. I consider the $1,500 I lost overall to be money well spent. Some people spend that much on a 2-week holiday. I spent it on a 4-month experience which I will always remember fondly.

    8 votes
    1. [2]
      kfwyre
      Link Parent
      This warmed my heart. Did you have theater experience prior to this? Also, if you're willing to share, what was the play about?

      This warmed my heart. Did you have theater experience prior to this? Also, if you're willing to share, what was the play about?

      1. Algernon_Asimov
        Link Parent
        I'd been acting for about 12 years before this. I'd be very foolish to take on something like this with no theatre experience! It was a rom-com with a tragic twist (in the Greek sense, where a...

        I'd been acting for about 12 years before this. I'd be very foolish to take on something like this with no theatre experience!

        It was a rom-com with a tragic twist (in the Greek sense, where a character's own flaws lead to their downfall). I'm a bit cynical about movies where an anti-romance character has a change of heart in the final act and realises they really did want true love all the time. Those epiphanies aren't realistic. Most times, the anti-romance grinch keeps their heart of stone - and may not even notice the romantic opportunity that's right in front of their face.

        Most of my friends hated the ending of my rom-com, but the whole point of the play was that my central character would not suddenly turn into a romantic, even when the right person turned up.

        2 votes
  6. [3]
    The_Fad
    (edited )
    Link
    It's gonna be Kennedy, hands down. It's almost 6 years old by now and I haven't bested it since in terms of tone, feel, and pacing. The most glaring flaw of course is that it's not STRICTLY...

    It's gonna be Kennedy, hands down. It's almost 6 years old by now and I haven't bested it since in terms of tone, feel, and pacing. The most glaring flaw of course is that it's not STRICTLY SPEAKING a "story", but closer to a vignette. Unfortunately no matter how much you try to convince periodicals the distinction is arbitrary, they dont wanna listen, so the only time it's been published was "for free".

    It's sort of a monkey on my back at this point; the ominous reminder of the possibility that I peaked before I ever even really started.

    6 votes
    1. [2]
      kfwyre
      Link Parent
      Interesting piece. You definitely nailed the atmosphere, which is incredibly tough to do in something so short! Do you see this as part of a larger work or simply a standalone? Also, if you're...

      Interesting piece. You definitely nailed the atmosphere, which is incredibly tough to do in something so short! Do you see this as part of a larger work or simply a standalone? Also, if you're willing to, could you explain why you chose "Kennedy" as the title? Is it the name of the gunman?

      1 vote
      1. The_Fad
        Link Parent
        It was originally a standalone work wrote at 3AM after having drank an entire pot of coffee, lol. After finishing it I realized it was a part of something larger, which I quickly fell asleep...

        It was originally a standalone work wrote at 3AM after having drank an entire pot of coffee, lol. After finishing it I realized it was a part of something larger, which I quickly fell asleep expanding upon.

        The title is indeed the name of the gunman! This piece is the climactic scene at the end, potentially the very last scene tbh. I've tried many times to write beyond it and it never seems quite right.

        1 vote
  7. mrbig
    (edited )
    Link
    I once forgave someone who hurt me and betrayed me deeply in multiple ways, helped her overcome depression and probably prevented her suicide.

    I once forgave someone who hurt me and betrayed me deeply in multiple ways, helped her overcome depression and probably prevented her suicide.

    6 votes
  8. [2]
    Comment deleted by author
    Link
    1. kfwyre
      Link Parent
      Congratulations on being able to capitalize on your talent and live your dream! I can't imagine the amount of self-discipline you have. You're an inspiration!

      Congratulations on being able to capitalize on your talent and live your dream!

      I can't imagine the amount of self-discipline you have. You're an inspiration!

  9. mftrhu
    Link
    Hah. It'll probably take a turn for the depressed, but - why not? I'm proud of being still alive. I wasted my biggest accomplishment to get to this point - I had just turned 17 when I got into...

    Hah. It'll probably take a turn for the depressed, but - why not?

    I'm proud of being still alive. I wasted my biggest accomplishment to get to this point - I had just turned 17 when I got into university - but, nevertheless, here I am. I didn't kill myself. I transitioned. I hardly ever want to dismember myself anymore - I can aim that anger outwards now.

    I forgot most of the math I learned back then, but I didn't exactly stop learning. I am unfocused, but stubborn: it might take me years to get something, and I might get distracted dozens of times, but I will keep on returning to it, and on chipping away at it.

    I got better at programming, reading, writing, arguing. I got better at organizing information that I want to remember, so when people ask me something I usually take seconds to get back at them with an answer, or I can look it up online in minutes.

    What are your unique talents and skills?
    What makes you individually awesome and stand out from others?

    I know how to use old tools. I know how to use weird tools. I have a good memory, and better notes, and I know that those tools exist. Where other people might chug away trying to solve some problem, I'm happy to build a Rube Goldberg machine of a shell pipeline and do just 10% of the work. I also know how to write in Tengwar, how to make chainmaille, how to format a document in troff, I can jump from Python to shell to Scheme and know a dozen more languages.

    Plus, I have nothing to fear from l'esprit de l'escalier.

    1 vote