Happy First Birthday, O-HI-30!
Thanks to everyone who made today (OK – really, the past five) special. The fun started Thursday evening over chips and guac at Nada with some of the best girlfriends a girl could ask for – Jackie even made an amazing chocolate peanut butter cake! The next morning, I hopped on a plane to NYC, where my parents and I met up with the New Yorkers – bro, bro’s gf, and cousin (details to come in a separate post soon!). And of course, today, my actual birthday, spent at work with some very fun and thoughtful co-workers – my ex-boss even read aloud a poem he wrote about me at lunch (a VERY thoughtful poem – I almost cried!). I ate 1/8 of a piece of chocolate cake that was the size of my head (from the cheesecake factory – ‘nuf said) and then worked it off during my birthday spin class (all of my favorite songs – call me maybe included!), where I received birthday cards from Lindsey, Carolyn, and Aaron (I know I’ve made it as a spin instructor when my students give me bday cards!). And then finally, I enjoyed a low-key dinner on Northstar’s patio with Ash, Johnny, and Jackie. And bonus – when ordering, I told the woman it was my birthday, and she gave me my dinner on the house! It really was a very nice day.
But O-HI-30 is all about honesty – of telling it like it actually is. So it’s in that spirit that I share with you that while I certainly have felt feelings of joy and happiness today, those aren’t the only feelings I’ve experienced. In fact, when I woke up this morning, I felt rather blue. In my update post, I shared that I’m going through a bit of a difficult time, as anyone does post-breakup. And part of what is bringing me down are feelings of “same-ness”. Same job, same apartment, same non-love life. It’s easy to feel like I’m the same person at 31 than I was at 30, or even 29 (a particularly rough year for me). I was sharing this sentiment with Ashley, and she quickly squashed it – “you’re not the same person you were a year ago!”. And you know what? She’s right.
In the past year, I ran my first Olympic distance triathlon, discovered the joys of strength training, placed second in the swim portion of an indoor triathlon, and scaled a vertical wall. I visited Spain with dear friends, DC to visit Allison, NYC this past weekend, and took more work trips than I can count. I maintained dear friendships, fostered new ones, and celebrated family. I tackled my summer anxiety head on, met new people, and contemplated expectations. I dated online, experienced some rejection, and managed not to become jaded in the process. All the dating paid off when I finally met someone, and he was everything I had been looking for and more. I grew quiet on the blogging front in favor of enjoying my new non-single status. I learned I was capable of loving someone, of taking care of someone, of being in a true partnership with someone. I got my heart broken. And I shared all of that – and much more – with all of you, right here, on my very own blog.
The point is – a lot happened in year #30. It can be tempting to view our life as a series of check boxes: love, career, home ownership, children, etc. And if you don’t check off more boxes every year, you feel like you’re not moving ahead. But that’s far from the truth. Because really, growth isn’t about reaching major milestones. Real growth comes from self-reflection, from acting with intention, from gratitude. It shows itself in the day-to-day, in holding our heads a bit higher, in laughing a bit easier, in communicating a bit more thoughtfully, in being a bit kinder. When I look at year #30 through this lens instead of the checkboxes, that’s when I see real growth.
Thanks, everyone, for participating in my adventures as a Midwestern 30-something! If something I’ve written over the past year has rung true even for just one of you, then it’s all been worth it. 69 posts down, many more to go. Here’s to 31!