Friday, April 17, 2009


Fifteen years ago today I celebrated my "golden birthday".

Being the tad bit of a dork that I am, I thought it was pretty cool to turn 17 on the 17th.

Seventeen just sounded old and sophisticated. By that point I had been driving for a year (a car that was half a Nissan and half a Mitsubishi, none the less), I was deep in the throws of high school, I had an actual social calander...I was an adult, my friend.

Isn't chilhood ignorance such bliss?

Well, last night I smeared the moisturizer on a bit thicker, carefully making sure it went deep into the slight wrinkles by the edges of my eyes. I took an extra few minutes after brushing my teeth to examine my forehead, looking for signs that my age is beginning to settle on my face.

Yesterday was my last day as a 31 year old. This morning I welcomed in year 32 of my life. My Golden Birthday feels like eons ago.

I joke a bit about age, but honestly at this point in life it does not seem to be a big deal (ask me again in few years when that annual wrinkle check has me googling "non-scary botox procedures"). I am happy to be in my 30's, glad to have settled on an even number for the next 365 days (For whatever reasons, I could never remember to say I was "31" all last year. I blame it on being an odd number and not on me being a bit scatter-brained at times.), and feel pretty comfortable in my own skin.

Unlike the day of my 17th birthday (which I spent at Chuck E. Cheese because my friends and I were all "retro" like that. Again, childhood ignorance.), this morning has been spent with my two children laying around the house accomplishing quite a bit of nothing. We have eaten breakfast in the living room, constructued a massive GeoTrax city, colored, and watched a movie. Pretty good morning. The thunderstorms have kept everything dark outside, which makes for excellent napping weather.

32 has been pretty uneventful so far, just the way I prefer it.

I tend to be a pretty reflective person who loves rehashing all past experiences so my birthday each year provides the perfect chance to think about where I have come from and where I am going. Today as I think back about my golden birthday, I thought I would share some things I wish I could have told my 17 year old self...some things that would have scared her, some things that would have encouraged her, and some advice from the older version of the girl she is.

Here goes:

1. At the age of 32, your hair will be the same length (if not longer) than it was at 17. You will have cut it many times, highlighted it on a few occasions (STOP that immediately!), permed it once for a trip to Africa (again...rethink that "temporary" perm that ends up lasting nine months), watched it fall out in clumps after two pregnancies, and moaned about it more times that you can imagine. You will love it and hate it all at once but that half-straight, half-wavy, much too thick red hair is still hanging in there. It has been pulled up for proms and weddings, frizzed up in England and braided in Kenya, pulled on by eager babies, brushed at night after the busiest of days, and seen more hair stylists than could ever be listed. Embrace that hair, girl.

2. You leave that small town in a little over a year from your 17th birthday and it is the smartest move of your life....not because the small town was bad, but because the stirrings inside of you needed to be explored. You have not returned back to live there by the age of 32 and your mama still misses you everyday. Fortunately, free long distance is a common feature on most phone plans.

3. You will enter the field of Education...the one career choice you swore you would never make. It's not the traditional educational job, but you love it despite the craziness of the class you teach (unfortunately, that craziness is literal. You'll see.). Just remember to duck when that one kid comes up to you in the gym your second year of teaching. He packs a pretty mean punch for a second grader and can leave a shiny black eye on his young teacher.

4. Two words about the high school boys: FORGET THEM. You'll meet a brown haired boy in about three years that is beyond wonderful, whom you will eventually marry and have two charming kids with. It's pretty awesome.

5. One day, you'll really miss cruising the main drag (which becomes illegal two years after you graduate high school, as hard as this is to fathom) and hanging out on the steps of the Rialto on a Friday night. What seemed trivial and meaningless back then begins to take on a very real nostalgic feeling in your "adult" years.

6. All the uber-popular kids from high school who seemed so together back then will eventually become your friend on Facebook. You'll try really hard not to notice whose super-perfect life is not actually so super-perfect anymore.

Thirty-two years old. I wonder what this year will hold, what truths it will reveal, and if my hair will survive my children's preschool years without greying prematurely.

I suppose only time will tell.

**As my birthday present, I am going on what I am calling a "Mom-cation." It should be heavenly. More details on that to come...***


Robin said...

Happy, happy birthday!! You've come a long way, baby! Loved the reflective post. Have a wonderful time being 32 years old. I know you will be stellar at it.


Erika said...

Welcome to 32 friend!
Great post! I know what you mean about cruizing race. I got a bit nostalgic just reading about it.
Hope it's a great 365 days!

jannykay said...

Amen to #2--Happy Birthday!!!Love, your mama

Kelli said...

I always think of you as 3 years younger than you are b/c of our school grade difference... so Happy 29th!

Shelley said...

Happy Birthday!!

Anonymous said...

And amen to #4. We're so thankful to have you in our lives!

Love, Mom of the Brown-Haired, Non-High School Boy

Amy said...

I fondly recall when we started cruising (in Joel's blazer since it was "recognized") so we could make fun of everyone else that cruised, but then we were hooked:-)

Prom and speaking of hair, I have a great pic we took in your room of my hair after all the bobby pins came out -- I still laugh at it.

And I also could not remember for the life of me that I've been 31 (and not 30) this whole time, but I chocked it up to losing brain cells from having babies. Glad to know it probably was because it's rather insignificant and "odd" :-)

Happy birthday, friend. I hope you have enjoyed your momcation!

DCVol said...

Happy birthday!!! Have a blast on your momcation as well :).