thirty-one

Hand over heart: I love getting older, and birthdays are my jam. 

Me speaking at my sister's wedding, which is an accurate representation of hand motions inherited from my mother (photo credit)

Me speaking at my sister's wedding, which is an accurate representation of hand motions inherited from my mother (photo credit)

It doesn't matter if it is my birthday or someone else's—I just appreciate having one day to celebrate yourself or another person, and feeling the love. People who say they hate aging (especially those who moan and groan about turning 30), and don't care about birthdays? That's fine, but I am the exact opposite.

I feel like I'm in my early thirties, and I like it. A lot. It feels right. I value being in that sweet spot of wisdom and curiosity, which I hope never goes away. I know more about who I am, what I like, what doesn't work for me, and I'm less willing to cave on my opinions and gut feelings. I understand the importance of compassion and kindness a little more every year, and I am reminded how many different types of people and places and perspectives exist in the world. I've learned about heartache and betrayal and forgiveness and that oh-so-lonely experience of being in your twenties, when you just want to figure it all out but you can't seem to turn the corner. 

For me, turning 30 was that corner. So was getting married and having a baby, life events that truly changed me for the better. Much of my life is steadier than ever, and yet, I anticipate the brink of new adventures all the time. I realize I'd rather have one really excellent glass of wine than five Bud Lights. I am figuring out how to get more sleep and wake up early (work in progress). I feel at peace with my body, despite the weirdness and wonder of pregnancy and postpartum. I know that I prefer yoga over running, though a good long run can be the salve to almost any anxiety. I would rather buy a plane ticket than a pair of shoes. I'm growing SO much in my career across the board, thanks to a host of incredible mentors and a solid sense of hustle on my end.

I've eased into parenthood, and accepted that it is still HARD lots of days, as it is still a transition. I've embraced my selfish habits and given myself grace. I know how it feels to stop doing something you love, in order to do something you love more. I've learned balance isn't real. I've learned to be a better listener. I've run up against vanity (which will happen when you get a crooked tooth, ha). I've come to respect the multitude of friendships in my life, because there's no one-size-fits-all, and eventually, you need every type. I know the pain of not being able to do it all, and the joy of realizing you don't have to.

I'm grateful to see another year, and all it will bring. More writing, hopefully in the national/print category. More travel, to Santa Monica, Charleston, Raleigh, New York City, Minneapolis and Lake of the Ozarks to see friends and family. More moments of staring my gorgeous son in the face as he learns new words and takes steps to explore. More dates with my husband, whether at Target getting diapers or over a fancy sushi dinner with sake. More taking care of a home and yard that is finally ours. More hearing my mom say, "HIIII!" over FaceTime and laughing until I cry with my dad. I like growing older because it means more, more, more of the good stuff, though I don't doubt the hard times, grief and challenges will arise as well. 

In the spirit of my thirty-first, today I woke up early and went to a yoga class taught by one of my favorite teachers and friends. (And she gave me extra adjustments, which, yoga friends, YOU KNOW THAT IS THE BEST. Hallelujah.) I picked up coffee from my favorite local shop. I came home to my little family, to enjoy the flexibility of working from home on a Friday. I was able to do some writing and tackle some work projects during morning naptime, and eat avocado toast with eggs and berries. Tonight, we are having friends over to grill and blow bubbles and run around in the backyard, and you can bet I'll be having an ice cold glass or two (or as my friend Elyssa says, or ten) of Sauv Blanc like the grown-ass thirty-one-year-old I am. 

Also, I always listen to two songs on my birthday: "A Life That's Good" by Lennon & Maisy and "Past Lives" by Borns. One reminds me to not take anything for granted, and the other suggests the abundance of change that occurs in a single life.

Cheers to the weekend, friends!