Real Simple readers celebrate little—but not insignificant—moments. 
Ladder leading to the sky
Credit: David Malan/Getty Images

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Ladder leading to the sky
Credit: David Malan/Getty Images

1 Ladder leading to the sky

When I took my first solo trip overseas. I recently went on a vacation to London and was surprised by how quickly I became familiar with the Tube and navigated the city on my own. I’m proud of my independence and of how I didn’t let my singleness stop me from seeing a majestic city. I’ve learned there’s so much outside the little world we call home and things much more vast to be explored. – Kristy Doherty, Shoreview, Minnesota


When I replaced my kitchen faucet all by myself! – Jacqueline Jaacks, Sioux Falls, South Dakota


When I became a mother. I never knew how much I’d be willing to sacrifice until I met my son. Although it’s been the hardest job I’ve ever had, I’m proud of myself for being the best mom I can be. – Katie Rogers, Carterville, Illinois


When I managed to do more than 25 pull-ups! Before I started exercising regularly, I couldn’t even do one, and now I can do more than my husband. – Anne Kostecki, Baltimore


When I stood up on the first try while surfing with the kids. I think my son and daughter cheering me on helped. It was the best! – Sarah Burns, Lahaina, Hawaii


I quit my job and moved to the country. I surprised myself a couple of months ago by deciding to move with my husband to a small, very rural town in Georgia. We’re building a small house and plan to have a homestead on 42 acres. I’ve never been a country girl, but at 48, I’m still young enough to enjoy the adventure! – Melissa Forward, Davisboro, Georgia


I was recently able to lift 150 pounds using a trap bar (meaning I did a squat, lifting the weight from the ground up). Surprised the heck out of me! – Lisa Aragon Gabrielson, Sonora, California


I forwent a microphone for a presentation I was giving. My soft voice is not usually one to carry, but I stood up, delivered my points, and answered questions without external amplification. It may have been a small crowd, but I’m proud of myself and feel more confident after trusting in my own voice. – Phoebe Murtagh, Chicago


I last surprised myself by discovering that making my own salad dressing is a cinch and that it’s so much more flavorful, healthy, and economical! – Jennifer Gordon, Keller, Texas


I started a garden…and it survived! For as long as I can remember, I have killed plants. A year and a half ago, that all changed when we bought our first house. It had this adorably overgrown backyard, and all of a sudden I cared more about gardening than I ever had. Last summer I began growing a garden one plant at a time, with impatiens, a lilac bush, a butterfly bush, a rosebush, a raspberry bush, and a tomato plant. My yard looks so pretty. What a surprise! – Anna Cavazos, Holland, Michigan


I’ve had long red hair for all of my adult life, but I’ve always wanted a pixie cut. For one reason or another, I always put the idea on hold. Last month I couldn’t hold back for another second. I colored my hair a fetching shade of dusty rose and scheduled a haircut that same day. I get a boost of confidence every time I look in the mirror. – Chelsie Richardson, Cedar Park, Texas