Hopes for Another Year (birthday wishes)

Today was my 29th birthday. Gulp. That’s right, my friends, the 365-day countdown to a new decade begins right now. I feel like I should be veering towards an end-of-twenties crisis (like I did last year), but I didn’t. I kept waiting for it, for that slight tinge of panic as I have that sudden realization of my inevitable mortality- but it never came. Nope, instead I enjoyed my delicious mimosa(s), I wandered around a historic mansion (which led to some awesome new story ideas), traipsed through a shady part of town to see an old garden, and ate lots and lots of chocolate while hanging out with my fur babies listening to the rain outside.

Every year I blow out the candles and make the same wish. It is the same one I make when I see a shooting star. I have never told a soul what it is, out of some odd superstition that never really left me when I grew up. I won’t say the exact wish, because I still feel a bit of loyalty to the childhood version of me that would cross her heart and promise herself that she would never tell. But I will tell you that it had to do with happiness, with contentment, with finding that spark of strength within yourself. It was an abstract dream about a world in which I wasn’t always the person that I undoubtedly was. This year I will be retiring that old wish, putting it away in a dusty box along with the old dreams I outgrew. That’s because at 28, I finally figured out how to make my wish come true all by myself.

It’s true that my life is not at all where I expected it to be at this stage. But its also true that I’ve been through more than I could have imagined at this point in my life, I am a different person than I was when I drew up the picture of what my life would be like in my 20s. And I’m okay with that. I’ve always taken the scenic route, following the long road home; so it isn’t really a surprise that it took me this long to start figuring my life out. 28 was a big year of growth and change for me. I had to do a lot of soul searching, I had to face a lot of fears and crack my heart open over and over again to bleed out the poisons I had given sanctuary to. I had to embrace the people that lift me up, and step back from those that held me down. I had to sacrifice, I had to be selfless. I had to be a calm voice of reason when my world was upside down. I had to be brave, I had to acknowledge when I was weak. I had to invest in myself. I had to proudly claim who I am as a person and tell the world that I was worth it. I had to start living the life that I always talked about. 28 was a hard year, but it is also the year I have been most thankful for. I took root and grew towards the sun. And I’m not done yet.

29 will be no different. Changes will be constantly on the horizon, my life will continue to shift and morph into something that I may not recognize in a year. But I’m so excited for this new adventure. I have so many hopes for this coming year; perhaps that’s why it doesn’t scare me, getting older- because I see so much more waiting for me up ahead. I’m not just aging, I’m still growing.

This year I dream of finishing my first degree (at the very least I should be really close by the time I hit 30). I dream of finding a new house that I can call my own. I dream of focusing on this blog and my writing in general. I have been so scared of truly investing in my writing, and I think I need to do this for myself. I need one year of being brave and daring with my words, tossing my stories out into the world to do as they wish. I am so sick of hiding from who I am, from shrugging off my writing. I am ready to own it- like it or hate it, at least it will finally be out there. I dream of taking a trip to somewhere I have never been. I dream of being healthier with my lifestyle. I dream of perhaps finally marrying the man I’ve been in love with since I was a young, idealistic 20-year-old girl. I dream of reading more books and living more stories. I dream of another year full of growth and changes. It’s time to pull together an ‘end of 20s’ bucket list to inspire me for the next year.

Cheers to one more trip around the sun, my friends. Getting older doesn’t have to mean you are aging. Growing up doesn’t always mean growing old. The best way to remind yourself that your life is worth loving is to actually live it. I’m not going to let myself down this year.

Another Year, Another Hope

It feels like we just left the 90s, but now I hear the music of my childhood on oldies stations (gasp- Backstreet Boys are not classics, bite your tongue young heathen). I actually caught myself saying. ‘Kids today just don’t understand…’ and I think my eyes grew about three sizes larger when I realized I had become exactly what I swore I would never be. Can we do the math just one more time please, because I’m sure we did it wrong. I feel so much younger than you keep saying that I am. No, I’m sorry, I would like to return this birthday- it doesn’t fit my mental state at the moment. If I could just trade it in for a slightly smaller number, that would be truly fantastic. 

Yesterday I bid a nostalgic farewell to 27 and ushered in the beginning of my 28th trip around the sun. To be honest, it just felt like any other Saturday. Birthdays tend to lose their sparkle once you start closing in on 30 (I have been told that I get to step counting them at that point, and can be whatever age I choose for the rest of forever).

27 was a good year for me, looking back. I ushered it in with a bang on my first trip to Las Vegas where I endulged in many other brand new experiences I had never had before- like zip lining; or watching medieval  knights jousting while I ate a whole Cornish game hen, tiny potatoes and steamed broccoli with my fingers. Little did I know at the time that 27 would be a year of change for me. It was a year I embraced bravery and stepped outside of my comfort zone. I took a chance and jumped for something better at work- and managed to land on my feet. I started taking my writing seriously and began this blog. I became far more politically involved and put myself out there more than I have ever been comfortable with (I have never been one to make waves, but alas, some issues are worth making a splash about). I worked hard. And even when I stumbled- which I did a lot of at times, I always managed to get back up and keep on pushing. Yes, when all was said and done- 27 was one hell of a year for me. And I think I am going to miss it.

I don’t know what the coming year will have in store for me. I don’t know if it will be another year of change and transition, if it will be the year that things start clicking into place, or if it will be the year that I fall apart and allow myself to rebuild from the ground up. I won’t know until I write this same post a year from now.

I do know what I hope for, what I strive for, what I want to find in the coming year. I want to dig deep and work harder. I want to discover this illusive balance that has forever evaded me. I want to actually finish an editing project and submit one of my pieces for possible publishing. I want good food and grand adventures. I want to drink delicious concoctions with lovely people. I want to put myself out there and embrace bravery just one more time. I want to keep striving for the girl I’ve always worked to become. I want to put my health first- emotional as well as physical. I want to be forgiving. I want to be kind. I want to remember what it feels like to fully live in the moment. I want another beautiful year in this amazing life. No matter how messy it may get, no matter how far I stray from the path- I wouldn’t trade for anything. So cheers, my lovely friends; may we all enjoy many more trips around that beautiful sun.