Birthday musings: a decade brought all the answers

Happy Birthday to me!

Turning 30 wasn't a big deal, it was anti-climactic. 29 was the big one for me. I looked back at my journal entries around my 29th birthday, and was quickly reminded of why I never re-read my journals. I sounded like an angst-ridden, love-lorn teenager with all my worries about finding 'the one' and waxing poetic about when I might find my true love. Feeling like so much of my life was still missing, I dreaded my birthday every year. What a difference a decade can make.

10 years ago I celebrated my 29th birthday in Florence, Italy. I had just signed a lease on a new apartment in St. Louis sight unseen. I had plans to get a dog once I returned to the states (can't believe Roxie is going to be 10 in July). I was on the verge of starting a new fellowship, with no idea of a faculty position anywhere in my head. I didn't yet know I would take a job in Kansas City and move back home. I didn't know I would finally meet 'the one' online - marry him and have two beautiful children in four short years. Those were all the unknowns that I worried and fretted about. The worry didn't stop me from living my life and it didn't paralyze me with fear. I traveled, loved and lost, had amazingly great times with friends old and new - it was a full decade to be sure. But I could have saved myself a lot of tears and frustration if I'd just had faith that it would all work out. Maybe deep down I did know it would all work out, but I worried just the same. It's what I do.

So much has transpired in 10 years and turning 39 feels so very different than turning 29. There are still so many unknowns - but instead of worrying and fretting over what may or may not be, I am excited. I am excited to see what is around the corner, what new adventures, people and opportunities will drop into my life. I never could have predicted the directions my life took over the last 10 years and I can't predict the next 10. That is the beauty of life, something I couldn't appreciate then but I can now. With all the most important cards in place - my family, my health, my happiness - I look forward to the surprise of the next card I draw.

I don't yet know what I want out of the next 10 years. I think I'll give myself this year, my last in my 30s, to figure that out. Most of the last 10 years were all about me (my journal entries prove it!) and the next 10 will be about so much more because my life is so much bigger than just me now. And I love that. As just one example of that transformation, I used to scribble down all my private thoughts late at night for no one, not even me, to read. Now I put my thoughts (not all of them, baby steps) down for everyone to see. It's scary, liberating, challenging and satisfying all at the same time. I'm still surprised by how much I enjoy it. Nothing like dogs, kids and the internet to bring you out of your shell and get you talking.

If I had a soundtrack for my 30s it would be by none other than...wait for it...

PY & PG circa 2006

Pete Yorn. I discovered his music when I lived in Italy and maybe it was the connection to home or the fact that he was my age, but I fell in love with his music (and him, too, just a little bit). He produced a new CD about every 2 years over the last decade, and listening to each one I can pinpoint the exact phase or experience in my life at the time. The songs immediately take me back. They remind me of the single girl I was and how far I've come. I listened to "Undercover" on full blast today on the way to work, windows down, sunroof open.

OK, so maybe I was a bit of a stalker...saw several shows in 2006

I have so many favorites, but this was the first. This song takes me back to Florence, back to 29 when I was waiting for life to begin, looking for the new thing...

No more waiting and looking, my life is here and now and better than I ever imagined. Happy Birthday to me!


  1. Such a great post! Re-reading journals is completely cringe-worthy (I did it recently and embarassed myself with my angst), but such a great reminder of keeping things in perspective. Time does amazing, wonderful, suprising things - it makes me a true believer in each of us having a plan and purpose.

    Happiest of birthdays! I have no doubt your next decade will be full of awesomeness. I am so blessed to have such an amazing sister-in-law. You have, and continue, to add so much to our family.

    1. Thanks K! Your friendship is one of the best new things in my life in the last 10 years. Here's to the next 10!


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