I blinked and now it’s my 29th birthday. It may be one of the most low key I’ve had in my 29 years – a lovely day with my parents and dogs, a way I haven’t been able to spend my birthday in several years.
So, 29. It’s technically kicking off my 30th year, and society tells me I’m supposed to be freaking out about all kinds of stuff — I’m single, I’m unemployed, I live with my parents, etc, etc. Maybe I am freaking out a little bit. Mostly because I suppose a year ago I didn’t expect this to be my life, and I’m still not quite sure where it’s headed in the next few months. But instead of worrying about that too much, I’d rather be thankful for what these 29 years have given me, and what the next year can bring. If there’s anything I’ve learned in this last year, it’s that plans change, and sometimes it’s okay not to have a plan. I’ve realized that although I was driven to leave DC for a change of pace and to to forge a new path, that none of it compares to the time I’ve spent with my parents, really getting to know them, not just as parents, but as people, and letting them help me take what’s essentially “me” and craft my life around that.
When we celebrate birthdays, we’re showing appreciation for being alive, and it’s a day where others express their joy at our existence. It can be self-indulgent, and I’m the first to admit that I love birthdays, and I love being showered with love on that day (or even throughout the week). But I also want to show appreciation for the moments in my 29 years that have stuck with me, no matter how I’ve changed. The memories that move us and the experiences that nourish our souls are what bring us fulfillment, and keep us grounded and whole. Good and bad, physical and emotional, these moments make us who we are. This isn’t meant to be a collection of greatest hits, but more of the everyday experiences that resonate with us through life. Here are some of mine:
- Watching my grandmother and her sister sew one of their many quilts in the “green room.” My cousin and I would sit under the quilt rack and pick up pins from the carpet.
- The taste of my first snowball of the summer in Louisiana. Usually spearmint.
- Making macaroni & cheese with Velveeta in the kitchen with Dad. We’d use almost a whole block, Mom shaking her head in the background.
- Every night before bed, listening to a story on tape my other grandmother made for me about a guardian angel taking me to a beautiful castle.
- A reporter from The Cincinnati Enquirer visiting my class in fourth grade. I got my first reporter’s notebook and it solidified my dream of being a writer.
- Running down the hallway and jumping into my Jimmy’s (my neighbor) arms, Dirty Dancing style.
- Endless games of double solitaire with Mom and weekend trips to the grocery store.
- Walking around campus at Miami University in the fall in my hoodie (still wear it today).
- A trip to Chicago with Dad. We went to two games at Wrigley Field.
- A now infamous meal at the Red Planet Diner in Sedona where we ate way too much food, yet still got two desserts. Mom and I ran a lap around the parking lot, cracking up the whole way, Dad taking pictures.
- Late nights eating boiled seafood with the family and telling stories.
- Friday night trips to Barnes & Noble after dinner.
- White cake with lemon filling for my birthday.