Tomorrow is my 30th birthday, and as one is wont to do on the eve of milestone dates, I’ve been thinking a lot the past.  I imagine that most people make a lot of stupid mistakes in their 20s. There’s a lot of fumbling around, and perhaps a quarterlife crisis or two, though I really hate that term.  My 20s were no different, which is one reason I have no problem with the new digit at the front of my age.  Many of my friends have already turned 30 and seem no less awesome than when they were in their 20s, and I see no reason why this won’t be the case for me!

Ten years ago I was living with my boyfriend and a roommate with whom I had a long and complicated relationship.  I was about to leave for London, where I would, in short order, meet my favorite band, hang out with them in Amsterdam, fall in love with Spain, meet my favorite author, spend hundreds of dollars on film processing and phone cards, help my friend avoid ordering 3 #3 meals at McDonald’s in Paris, and dig deep into England’s history with the most charismatic teacher I’ve ever had.  I was young, very insecure, and not at all sure what I wanted to do with my life.  I remember coming back from London and writing in my journal that a huge adventure had just ended, and I didn’t know if I’d ever experience anything like that again.

In the intervening ten years, I have:

  • graduated from college (English), then after a few years completed two graduate degrees (both in LIS).
  • got married, divorced within a year and a half, fell in love, had my heart broken, suffered through various crushes and flirtations, decided to be single for a while, met someone pretty amazing, and am now engaged to be married (details forthcoming).
  • worked as: bookseller, customer service representative (banking),  online support specialist for an internet banking service, commercial teller, barista, accounts representative (healthcare), graduate assistant (instructional technology; WISE project), practical (gyne) instructor, visiting computer assisted instruction specialist, reference/technology librarian (academic library), part-time reference librarian (law library), service star (mail order food company), and digital services assistant (business library).
  • gained and lost some weight, ultimately ending up about 20 pounds lighter thanks to running, biking, lifting, yoga, swimming, and discovering how much I really like walking instead of driving when I can. (related: broke my arm, but it’s long better now)
  • bought a house, lost a house, moved 11 times, and lived in 3 states: Illinois, Virginia, and Michigan.
  • had 5 cats and 1 rabbit.
  • went through fits of crafting, accumulating a lot of supplies and a lot of crafty friends along the way.
  • traveled all over the country and back to Spain and France, including walking a portion of the Camino Portugues.
  • experienced a crisis of faith and a gradual rediscovery (or re-exploration) of what I believe.  Also went through periods of deep depression, on and off medication, and had to get serious about my mental and emotional health in order to move forward.
  • really fell in love with cooking and dramatically expanded my palate and skill set, culminating in a breakfast for 104 this fall at SELMA.  Also became deeply committed to local food, supporting farmers’ markets, and making my own attempts at growing and preserving food for my family.
  • listened to hundreds of hours of music, danced my ass off at dozens of concerts and festivals.  Also read hundreds of books and untold millions of webpages.  Also wrote a novel thanks to NaNoWriMo!
  • met so many amazing people that I can’t even begin to name them all.  If you’re reading this, you’re probably one of them.

Tomorrow I’ll celebrate #30 with Shane and new friends and a giant croquembouche that I’ll be building tonight with two friends.  I’ll hopefully sleep in and cuddle some cats.  Maybe I’ll go for a run.  I have no idea what the next few years will bring, but looking back on where I’ve been over the last ten years, I’m confident that there will be many more adventures, heartaches, changes, and surprises to come!


Birthday wish list

I wouldn’t mind finding any of the following under my birthday tree:

  • noise-canceling headphones, as my new office has several loud people who like to be loud
  • a soft and warm robe for first thing in the morning when it is very cold in our house
  • legwarmers that will fit my lower thighs, knees, and upper calves so that I can keep wearing skirts to work
  • yaktrax for safe winter walking
  • a rollerskating party with friendos
  • a postcard or letter from you!

30 things

When I was 24, I made a list of 30 things to do by age 30.  I turned 29 in January, so I have 8 months to go and quite a list up ahead of me.  Italicized items are the ones I’ve finished.

30 by 30

1. spend a summer abroad.
2. go to morocco.
3. spend a week in paris in the springtime.
4. take a vacation on each coast
5. see a show on broadway.

6. finish (or start, for that matter) graduate school.
7. read don quixote.
8. learn spanish.
9. have something published.
10. learn arabic.

Goals with tangible results:
11. finish the quilt grandma and i started when i was 10.
12. have a successful vegetable garden.
13. knit socks.
14. paint a room red.
15. develop a “signature” dish or menu.

16. go camping and keep my freaking out to a minimum.
17. follow a band on tour (again).
18. win at pub quiz.
19. stay out clubbing til the sun comes up.
20. attend a “black tie” event.

Personal ‘improvement’:
21. build a fun yet professional wardrobe.
22. get some sort of computer certification.
23. build credit.
24. learn to live on a budget.
25. join a gym (and go regularly).

Defying easy categorization:
26. fall in love.
27. win an award.
28. have a well-stocked wine cellar.
29. perform music in some sort of live setting (not karaoke).
30. have a child.