My birthday, sadly, comes but once per year on January 31. And on it I do feel obligated to post something profound, or sentimental, or funny. Something reflective. Something hopeful. It’s the one day during the year when I can, sheepishly, with four words justify anything I want to without looking like a narcissist or a glutton. “Well, it’s my birthday…” So yes, I’m having cake, a second cocktail, a long lunch, and I’m going buy myself something.
Allow me to say, as my Christmas and New Year Posts may have let on, that I am so happy to leave 28 behind. My husband and close friends have said that they feel I have aged (though they kindly say “grown up”) more in that single year than the 27 preceding it. So there you have it. However, blog readers aren’t paid therapists, so that’s all you get to hear about.
There were lots of really great things last year. So in no particular order…28 reflections on a year of being 28-years-old, and one on being 29.
1) Complain all you want about Facebook birthday wishes being cheap. No one on Facebook should ever get to whine “everyone forgot my birthday.” Even if your mother, boyfriend, and co-workers do…your third grade babysitter and 2nd cousin from Iowa who you met for the first time last year, did not. I think we are a more celebratory culture for it. Thank you FB for acknowledging the importance of birthdays.
2) I wish life was an Aaron Sorkin ensemble drama. If he’s living in a fantasy world, which he is, I want to live there with him. The Newsroom made my summer and The West Wing coming to Netflix made my winter.
3) My last meal as a 28 year old was the most amazing bbq I’ve ever eaten. We had flights of craft beers, the best brisket known to man, and Texas Toast with bacon-drippings butter. UNREAL. My first meal as a 29 year old: a grapefruit.
4) Best discovery of the year: Birchbox. It’s helped me decide to start taking moisturizing and sun protection seriously. I think my 40-year-old self will thank my 28-year-old self for this.
5) All year I tried to mitigate the effects of sedentary desk work by getting up every twenty minutes (I work from home). Inevitably so much time would go by, and I’d forget to get up and walk around. Then we got a puppy. Problem solved.
6) Best books I’ve read this year: Cutting for Stone, The Shadow of the Wind, The Death and Life of Great American Cities
7) Writing for the Rivard Report may be the best thing that has happened to me outside of getting married. And maybe living abroad.
8) I actually really like grapefruit, and all these years I had thought I didn’t. Good thing, I guess.
9) It’s a shame about me and science. I think, had a few things gone differently in high school, we could have had a long and loving relationship. I’m too late in the game to make a career of it, but thankfully the MacDonald Observatory and the Galapagos are open to the public.
10) I agree. Everyone should be in counseling.
11) There is nothing like working as an underling in ministry to make someone pro-union.
12) Balmorhea State Park is the greatest thing to happen to Texas.
13) I like running…I like hiking. But they should be kept separate.
14) Sometimes a side effect of something going incredibly right is the feeling that something has gone entirely wrong.
15) Non-New Yorkers have a really strong reaction against New York City because they feel like it’s elitist. Like the city has the personality of a sophomore English major with a design minor. Everyone I know in and from Manhattan is lovely and not the slightest bit elitist. But if they were, I think it would have something to do with their superior transit system, unlimited access to cultural institutions, walkable city layout, and the gold standard of public parks…times two.
16) Biggest mystery of the year: why people are not flocking to the Lakes District in Chile.
17) Pets, plural, entered my life in full force this year, and I find myself enjoying caring for them. Whoever that girl was who didn’t want to be tied down…she’s long gone, and replaced with a snugglier, more motherly version who gets choked up watching “Love, Actually”
18) It’s just not worth it to drink too much anymore. Who am I kidding? I’m not mourning some wild season of life gone by. I never liked drinking too much. I did it, but I never liked it.
19) Lewis got me a bicycle for Christmas. I was scared about traffic, but before my year was up I navigated the Lasoya roundabout (which I avoid even in my car) on two wheels. I love my bicycle.
20) Liz Lambert is my design idol. The diva’s in the details.
21) The meaning of Christmas hit me full force when I heard the San Antonio Symphony playing at Haven for Hope this year.
22) It’s worth it to pay for a tour guide. When we were younger, and backpacking, getting lost was a luxury we could afford. We had all time and no money. Now that our time is money and vacations aren’t 40 days long, hiring a guide keeps the vacation in the “wow, that’s fascinating” zone and out of the “I told you the buses don’t operate on Sundays”
23) I have two age spots on my cheek. They will never go away. If you hold out long enough, your don’t need to get a tattoo. Your body will start marking itself up on its own.
24) I finally like fancy dark chocolate better than M&Ms. Lewis has won.
25) Having a beer or a glass of Pinot Grigio while watching the Colbert Report is a perfect way to end stressful days. This is a downgrade from tequila and Mad Men, which was how I was ending most days 6 months ago.
26) Prospect and refuge. It explains so much, and is perfectly illustrated by our puppy, who hides under the coffee table waiting to attack our shoes and steal Wiley’s toys.
27) The fact that semi-automatics, high-capacity magazines, and other guns designed to kill people are allowed to be bought or sold in any way completely baffles me. Completely. And I don’t really want anyone to explain it to me.
28) My husband loves me very much.
29) Everyday I am waiting for the answer to strike, as though God will throw it down like lightening, rather than unfolding it slowly like the way the sky looks before it it rains.