Better Late Than Never

When I started my blog, I included a page describing the blog. But I never included an about me page. I know this is really late, over two years late, but I finally wrote an about me page.

I realized early that life is short. Yet that didn’t stop me from wasting many years focusing on the negative instead of the positive. I spent way too much time studying in college instead of having fun. I regret that now. Then in my mid-twenties I found out I had Graves’ Disease, a treatable illness, but with no cure. After years of battling the illness I went into remission and there’s a possibility of lifelong remission. Learning that I had a disease that wanted to kill me put life into perspective. Slowly I started to make changes—mainly I stopped being a fuddy-duddy who didn’t chase my dreams. I stopped driving my car to work and rode my bike. Do you know how much more you see and enjoy whilst riding a bike? I went hiking more. Read more. I spent more time with friends going to dinner and to the movies. My life became peaceful. I felt wonderful. Then I fell in love with someone I let slip away six years before. My illness taught me not to have regrets so I held on this time.

In 2011, I began my 50 Year Project in hopes that writing about and sharing my progress would help keep me focused on what’s important, living life to the fullest and having fun doing it. I’m blessed with the love and support from my partner, friends, and family.

So why did I choose traveling, reading, and movies for my project?

Many may think I’m crazy wanting to travel to 192 countries before I kick the bucket. I’ve had this dream since I was a child. And when I told people that’s what I wanted to do, many said that it wasn’t possible. This encouraged me. I love proving people wrong. And I can be quite stubborn.

As a kid I spent many hours in my favorite rocking chair reading. This passion never vanished. Unfortunately the rocking chair did. That hasn’t stopped me. I read everywhere. If you were at the post office today and saw a woman reading in line, that may have been me. I always have a book with me. If I don’t, I feel naked and incomplete. If you know where my rocking chair is, please let me know.

For the life of me, I can’t remember the first movie that I saw. And I can’t remember a time when I didn’t love movies.

All three of these activities make me feel alive and give me immense joy.

Being diagnosed with Graves’ Disease may have been the best thing that’s ever happened to me. If it wasn’t for that I may still be a person who has dreams but doesn’t chase them. I’m completely aware that I may not reach all of my goals, but heck I’m going to give it my all. There’s no reason not to.

Many ask for personal details about me. Here’s the gist. I was born in California. Moved to Colorado when I was a teenager. Then I headed to Massachusetts to be with the love of my life when I was 30. Eight years later we moved to London, England. I have one adorable dog and a cranky, but lovable cat. We travel as often as possible, which means we eat a lot of rice and beans to save money. I don’t own a cell phone or a car. Sometimes I miss having a phone. No one misses my driving, especially the Better Half.

About TBM

TB Markinson is an American who's recently returned to the US after a seven-year stint in the UK and Ireland. When she isn't writing, she's traveling the world, watching sports on the telly, visiting pubs in New England, or reading. Not necessarily in that order. Her novels have hit Amazon bestseller lists for lesbian fiction and lesbian romance. She cohosts the Lesbians Who Write Podcast ( with Clare Lydon. TB also runs I Heart Lesfic (, a place for authors and fans of lesfic to come together to celebrate lesbian fiction.
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94 Responses to Better Late Than Never

  1. lazybill says:

    Ha! Brilliant stuff…inspiring even!

  2. bulldog says:

    Now we know so much more about you… love it… will have to look up this Graves disease as I’ve never heard of it before…

    • TBM says:

      I hadn’t either until the doctors started watching my thyroid numbers. I never knew how much the thyroid did until mine went haywire.

  3. Aha! I enjoyed the low-down…
    I’m hoping those rice and beans are regularly interspersed with cake. It’s the only way.

  4. Just lovely ~ thanks for sharing your journey, THUS far. You’ve lead such an interesting life. You’re leading such an inspirational life. And you’re surely destined to accomplish that list of yours.
    It looks like you will achieve whatever it is you put your mind to.
    This was a great share. Better late than never indeed.

  5. Vishy says:

    Beautiful post, TBM! Thanks for sharing your inspiring story. I enjoy reading your book reviews and your travel posts and photos. I hope that you are able to travel to all the 192 countries and read all the 1001 books. I can’t wait to see the pictures! It is interesting that you can’t remember the first movie you watched (I can’t too. But I think I can remember the first book I read.) Happy travelling, reading, movie watching and blogging! Looking forward to following your adventures.

    • TBM says:

      I have a very clear image of a movie theater when I was younger and I sense it was my first time in a theater. But I have no memory of the actual film. As children we always begged to go to the movies. And I remember so many birthday parties held at a movie theater. Movies are magic, especially for the young. And they still make me feel that way.

  6. frizztext says:

    thank you for this “about me”-page; I read every single word with interest…

  7. Kate Kresse says:

    oh how i loved this post, my dear! I could so relate to you having a book in hand everywhere. I did that too, and still do. My friends and I would walk to the library together, and on our way home we would read to each other out loud from our books all at the same time! And despite the fact that we were reading and walking, we never walked into a lamp post or into oncoming traffic. Oh I hope you can find your rocking chair, or one just like it1 maybe on amazon? Have a great day—-cheers from Arizona!

    • TBM says:

      Howday Kate! My friends and I used to ride our bikes everywhere when I was a kid, including the local bookshop and the library. Actually the road to the library (a busy 4 lane road in California) always scared me some, but I still went. I’m amazed you never walked into anything. I do that now when I’m not reading a book. If there is something within five feet odds are I’ll bump right into it. I would love to find my rocking chair. I need to wait until I get a bigger place since I don’t have room for it and all the piles of books that will be around it.

  8. This is an awesome post my friend!! Not that I would ever want you to be sick because I wouldn’t, but I am really glad that Graves’ made you see what is really important and that you are now living life to its fullest. Growing older really doesn’t bother me and I truly don’t feel much different now than I did when I was 20, but I must say that lately I have been thinking about my age more as I hear about people not that much older than me dying, so I have started forcing myself to not worry so much about the little stuff like keeping my house clean, and I am allowing myself to do more of what I enjoy. Like you, I can’t remember a time when I wasn’t surrounded by books, and there is absolutely nothing that gives me more pleasure than losing myself in a good story. I remember as a child getting in trouble for coming to the dinner table with my nose buried in a book and my mom would have to tell me to put it away. Not much has changed because I still do that, and everyone here just shakes their heads at me. They just don’t know what they’re missing! Thanks for sharing your story with us – it’s great to get to know you better :).

    • TBM says:

      I’m not allowed to read at the dinner table, mainly because we don’t have one. Actually we do, but I use it as a desk. So each night, we picnic on the couch. But it’s too hard to read, balancing my plate, keeping the utensils on the plate, keeping Miles and Att off my plate and holding my beverage. One day, when I grow up, maybe I can read at the table. I might aspire to that.

      • LOL!! You are too funny :). We ate on the deck last night and then after dinner I just had to move over a few feet to my lounge chair and pick up my book once again. It was heavenly and hot as hell, and I was a happy happy girl :).

      • TBM says:

        I could go for some hot as hell weather. did you have iced tea?

      • Come on over! I don’t like iced tea, but I will get some for you and lots if chocolate, and we will have a reading marathon – no book hating dumb males allowed LOL :).

      • TBM says:

        Can I bring Miles and Att? How do you not like iced tea? We need to have a serious chat.

      • I don’t like any type of coffee or tea. I know, I’m weird :$. As for Miles and Att, you can bring them but Att would have to stay outside because of my allergies. I’m sorry :(.

      • TBM says:

        And Att has really long hair so your allergies would go crazy! I’ll just bring Miles then. Att will want to sleep on your pillow.

      • Ya, that would not be good :(. And don’t forget to bring your Kindle, and I will load it up with hundreds of free books :).

      • TBM says:

        How many books will my Kindle hold, exactly?

      • “The Kindle Fire tablet has a 7-inch multi-touch colour display running at a resolution of 1,024 by 600 pixels. Of its 8GB of storage, 5.5GB are available for user content. Taking the average estimated e-book size inferred by Amazon for both the Kindle and the Kindle Paperwhite (a little over 1MB), this would hold 5,478 e-books if no other content (such as apps or movies) were loaded onto the device.”

        Oh boy oh boy, that’s a ton of books. The thought just makes me giddy with happiness :). My Nook HD has 8GB as well, but I have apps and stuff on there too. The thing I like about the Nook is that it also has a memory card slot, so my possibilities are endless. Wahooooo!!!! Oh man, now all I want to do is go home and read. Why do I have to work?? Oh ya, to afford all the damn books I buy all the time LOL!

      • TBM says:

        5,478! Um, how many years would that take me? Does the Kindle Fire site have a calculator for that? And you really do love to do research, don’t you! I’m impressed.

      • Why thank you (bows). Yes, I do love to research :). All I know is that it gives me a warm, fuzzy feeling inside to know that I will never run out of books!!

      • TBM says:

        Run out of books. Impossible!

  9. Alastair says:

    Good to read 🙂

  10. That was beautiful and inspiring, I’m sorry to read about the bad stuff but happy to read about your love, your hopes and your dreams…and I’m happy too that we’re able to share a ltitle of your journey 🙂

    • TBM says:

      If it wasn’t for the bad, I wouldn’t appreciate the good. I am glad that the illness is under control now. Oh boy, it was a rough 2-3 years trying to get doctors to take me seriously. And all that time I felt like crap. Now, though, all is good.

      • I agree that we do sometimes need to experience the bad to appreciate the good but from the way you “speak” I don’t think you are the sort of person to take the good stuff for granted. I wish you good health and happy days!

      • TBM says:

        The experience taught me how important it is to acknowledge the good, even the small examples like a stellar sunset. I found as long as I focused on the good, the bad was easy to cope with. Negative thoughts breed faster than positive, at least in my experience.

  11. Frank says:

    Thanks for the background as it’s not too late. Cheers to your positive view of life! …. so why not celebrate with a Friday trip to a pub! …… just don’t forget (again) the ball for Miles!

    • TBM says:

      Miles now runs to the freezer, where we keep red ball since if he smells it he won’t sleep, before our walks now. He doesn’t trust me one bit! I forget it once and all of my good deeds are out the window.

  12. Caroline says:

    I had never heard of Grave’s Disease before but I rember you mentioned a symptom once.
    I fell ill quite young but recovered completely but I know what a profound impact it has and how it changes you. And also what a terrible shock it is.
    In a way it’s sad we have to fall ill before we realize what we really want and fight for it but better late than never.

    • TBM says:

      Unfortunately I think many of us take life for granted until we face something like an illness. I’m happy to hear that your illness was temporary and you have recovered. One’s health is vital and when it falters, even momentarily it’s terrifying. I still remember the feeling when my doctor said, “You have to go to the pharmacy and start the medication right now.” My illness, if untreated, can kill a person.

  13. winsomebella says:

    Thank you for sharing this. I have long admired your quest and this helps me to understand the importance of it.

  14. All that’s missing are pictures!!!! What do you look like and your better half?

  15. ilargia64 says:

    I agree with you…If one focusses on the good things it is somehow better to deal with the bad ones…
    Thanks for sharing this part of you…

  16. restlessjo says:

    Nice to meet you (properly!) TBM. So sorry about the Graves- I’d never heard of it either. The spur you needed, once in remission?
    One more thing you can do for me, and it’s probably me being very dense. What does TBM stand for? If they’re just your initials, fair enough, but I’m thinking they’re a cryptic clue that I haven’t caught on to. 🙂

  17. wolke205 says:

    Thank you for this, it feels good to know more about you 🙂

  18. vinnieh says:

    Brilliant stuff.

  19. TBM, thank you very much for sharing this personal information with us. I love your positive attitude and outlook on life. You are an inspiration to those who read your posts. Keep on doing what you’re doing…continue to prove those people wrong who say you cannot achieve your goals. You’ve got scores and scores of others who are cheering you on!

    • TBM says:

      And I really do appreciate all of you who encourage me each and every day. I never thought blogging would be this rewarding, but it truly is.

  20. Beth Ann says:

    Yay! Now I know a tiny bit more about you and am so glad that you have chosen to live life to the fullest and allow the rest of us to come along on your ride. You are the prime example of someone taking a negative and turning it into a positive—-in your case your disease has given you the motivation and desire to do more and live more. I love your goals and love reading all about your latest adventures and what you have been reading and watching!!!! Keep it up!!!!

  21. pattisj says:

    I love it! Thanks for sharing your story, giving us a peek behind the scenes, er, blog.

  22. lynnsbooks says:

    Not that I would ever wish anything bad on someone but in your case your bad news has certainly helped you focus on all the good in life not to mention setting yourself some amazing targets.
    Definitely inspirational.
    Lynn 😀

    • TBM says:

      Thanks, Lynn. I never thought I would say thanks to my illness, but I do now. In the beginning I really felt sorry for myself. I was in my mid-twenties when it all started and I thought the world was so unfair. But it’s unfair to everyone. we all have our thing we have to get past. Once I learned that, life became much easier.

  23. Great post, TBM. Now I admire you even more.

  24. Loved reading more about you. No phone… that should be a challenge I take on. 🙂

  25. samokan says:

    Kudos to you !!

  26. Dear TBM,
    Of all your wonderful photos and posts, this is my favorite one so far. Thank you for sharing your story. You are a great storyteller. I love your voice, and your story is inspiring. SO glad you are well and living your life to the fullest with the man of your dreams!

    • TBM says:

      Thank you for such a kind comment, Naomi. The blogging community has been so supportive and welcoming and all of you have encouraged me along the way.

  27. The Guat says:

    Duuuuuuuuuuuuuuude. I love this. Throughout all your posts I’ve gotten bits and pieces of your About Me page without you having to write one down, (although some things I didn’t know) but I am glad you put it all down for the rest of the blogging community to see, because you’re an inspiration! I told you that I got off my butt and launched the whole Happiness Project because of you and even though things are not spectacular for me I’m learning to squeeze the juice out of every lemon. And I love the fact that when people tell you you can’t do something, you push harder to get it done. I’m exactly the same. You are definitely awesome, my friend. I am definitely pulling for you on all fronts … movies, books and travel. 🙂 Giddy up!

    • TBM says:

      Thank you so much! And I’m pulling for you as well. I love your Happiness Project. and I love your posts. You have such a way of being serious, funny, and heartfelt all at once. They always make me smile and think. Keep squeezing the lemons. it isn’t always easy, but it makes life more enjoyable. We can help each other through all the bad stuff.

  28. The Hook says:

    Well done, old friend.

  29. I am shaken to the core after reading this post. i had always imagined you to be a ‘happy go lucky girl’ with abundant time, energy and cash… Graves disease, rice and beans and the rest the things you have said don’t fit the bill of the picture I had of you
    God Bless you my dear for chasing your dreams.
    Hope all your dreams come true.

    • TBM says:

      I wish I had abundant time, energy, and cash. All of my challenges would be easier. But it makes them more worthwhile when you have to sacrifice for them. good thing I like rice and beans 🙂 Thanks for the encouragement.

  30. thirdeyemom says:

    Thank you so much for sharing more of yourself with your readers! I love your take on life. I wholeheartedly agree that you’ve got to just go for it and enjoy it all. There are no guarantees or certainties with or without an illness. The older I get the more I realize that everyone has their own demon but in life it is how you handle them that makes you succeed. I have never heard of Graves’ disease either but my mother has had her thyroid removed after thyroid cancer years ago so I know what the thyroid can do. Anyway so nice to know m

  31. Thank you for sharing. Funny and inspirational, I absolutely loved reading it.

  32. Bravo! The “about me” page is hard to write, isn’t it?
    I hadn’t heard about Graves’ Disease before, so I had to do a search. I imagine it must have taken some time to get a proper diagnosis.
    Hooray for not letting love slip away again!

    • TBM says:

      The road to my diagnosis was horrible. It took over two years and many many doctors. One doctor prescribed me an inhaler since I had trouble breathing. Turned out he nearly killed me. Too many of my doctors couldn’t figure out what was wrong with me and said there was nothing wrong with me. I guess they thought it was completely normal for me to lose 20 pounds in a few weeks and to continue lose weight. And they tried to get me to believe I was anorexic. They would get mad when I said I wasn’t. Finally I found two doctors who took me seriously and figured out what was going on. I never sued since I was too exhausted.

      And one should never let love slip away. I was stupid the first time. Thank goodness I learned my lesson.

      • It sounds like you fought an uphill battle for a long time. (Not unlike your Malaysian hike. 🙂 )

        One of my co-workers has lupus and has described a similar disheartening and frustrating experience in trying to get a variety of doctors to take her seriously. She often has a quite debilitating fatigue which they just wrote off as “too much late night tv.” How awful.

      • TBM says:

        For a long time they thought I had lupus. Then when they ruled that out they told me nothing was wrong with me. I broke down crying once and a doctor asked if I wanted something to be wrong with me. I looked him in the eye and said, “There is something wrong with me, you just don’t care to figure it out.”

        I feel for your friend. I really do. Going through that and not having people take you serious is scary, frustrating, and demoralizing. At the time my partner (not the better half) was not supportive and that made it harder.

  33. I love reading your blog, and I’m happy to know more about you. How did you lose your rocking chair? 😉

    • TBM says:

      Well it wasn’t mine to begin with, been in the family and such. But we moved several times and we lost track of it. I hope a new family loves it as much as me.

  34. Fergiemoto says:

    It’s great to know more about you, TBM! Congrats on creating your “about” page, and I hope you accomplish all your dreams in your 50 year project. I know all too well the lessons of studying too hard in college and working too hard in my career. Kudos to you for being able to focus on what’s important and having fun while doing it.

    • TBM says:

      I wish I had a more balanced time in college and my early 20s. I focused too much on doing what I thought was right and not enough time enjoying life. I feel lucky now to know the difference and to have a better balanced life. I’m so much happier these days. I hope you’ve been well. Is it getting hot in Utah?

      • Fergiemoto says:

        Oh yes, very hot for this time of year! The temps in Salt Lake City have been over 100F degrees for the last few days and we have either broken, tied, or been very near record highs. It looks like the 100s will be around for a few more days, then we have a big cool down to the mid to high 90s. We also had the driest June on record with just one day with a little bit of rain. The fires and fire danger are a huge concern right now.

      • TBM says:

        We used to spend a few weeks in Salt Lake in the summers when I was a kid and I remember that heat. My grandmother had an apricot tree in the background and the heat made the smell intense. I always associate apricots with Salt Lake and my grandmother now. I really hope you get some rain and that the fire danger stays away. That area is so beautiful it breaks my heart to think of the damage. I wish I could head up to Park City today and ride the Alpine sides and then have ice cream. Those were the days.

  35. nice to meet you! thanks for all that you’ve shared along the way. i may skip some blogs when i’m pressed for time, but never yours.

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