Friday, August 09, 2013

This is 31


I turn thirty-one today. Inspired by S, who was inspired by Lindsay, here is a time capsule of sorts, meant to capture life at this moment. 

* * * 

Thirty-one is feeling fulfilled and inspired by my MFA program, waking up every morning grateful for the opportunity to focus on my writing, and thrilled to be in a place that feels so right. 

Thirty-one is being happy in the present moment, but nervous about the future - will we find good jobs, will we pay off our debt, will it all be downhill from here? Thirty-one is trying not to think too much, and instead enjoying what we have, while we have it. 

Thirty-one is writing my first novel, the thrill of setting down a story and watching as it does things and goes places I never expected.  Thirty-one is wondering if I'll ever publish this book, or any book

Thirty-one is full of wonderful friends, the community of writers with whom I spend my days, all my friends in other places, the knowledge that I am lucky to love so many people, and the heartache of seeing only a few of them on a regular basis. 

Thirty-one is communing daily with other creatures - two giant dogs, eight chickens, and one beehive - and the simple pleasure of watching them grow and be their creature-selves. 

Thirty-one is feeling stronger than ever, swinging kettlebells and practicing yoga and running through neighborhoods that have become so familiar in just two short years. Thirty-one is letting go of impossible standards and celebrating my body for what it does, instead of how it looks. Thirty-one is confidence and comfort. 

Thirty-one is love and marriage and a partnership that continues to challenge and inspire me. Thirty-one is eleven years later, knowing how lucky I am to share so much of the past with one person, and how excited I am to face the future together. 

Thirty-one is a hot summer days at the beach, Settlers of Catan, rejections from literary journals, massive credit card debt, too many student loans, and living in a house I don't like. Thirty-one is real estate fever, kayaking to Masonboro Island, box wine, fried eggs, guilt that I don't call my mother often enough, teaching college students, wondering if I will ever publish a book, and hoping we get our first jar of honey this summer. Thirty-one is library books, morning walks with the dogs, the YMCA, baking sourdough bread, Thursday night trivia, and a garden that won't grow. Thirty-one is happy days, hard work, and - above all - hope. 

Hello, thirty-one. I'm glad you're here. 

11 comments:

  1. What a beautifl list! I loved reading this! 31 sounds pretty good even with the uncertainty and the financial worry that seems to accompany it. There's a lot of uncertainty for me too at thirty, mostly having to do with work/career stuff. It's nice to know that early 30s isn't when people have it all figured out yet. :)

    S.

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    1. Hopefully having it all figured out (or the financial side of it, at least) will happen by 40. ;) And thanks again for the inspiration - I enjoyed this little exercise and hope to make it a yearly tradition.

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  2. And I'm glad YOU are here :) Happiest of birthdays!!!

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  3. I've been reading your blog for a while and thought this was an exceptionally lovely post. As I close in on 30, I'm in a lot of the same places you are.

    I struggled with trying decide whether or not to apply to MFA programs a few years ago. I chose not too, because I love teaching middle school too much. I started a YA novel about a month ago, and it's tough, and I worry I won't be able to write when school starts back, but like you, I'm feeling very fulfilled lately. Even if I never get published, if I can just finish the dang thing, I think I'll be quite happy with myself.

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    1. Thanks for this comment, Amy! MFA programs are a great way to write AND escape an unfulfilling career. If you love your job, then it sounds like you made the right decision. Plus writing YA while surrounded by middle schoolers sounds perfect! Good luck with your novel and keeping progress going even when school starts up. I like to aim for 500-1000 words a day, and that helps a lot with momentum. :)

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  4. Happy birthday, dear Chrissy, happy birthday to you! Enjoy your 31: I have a feeling it's going to be a great one :-)

    The longer I do this adult career thing, the more convinced I am that we never have all our questions answered. Jobs come and go, and we have to roll with it. I wish there were an easy way to soothe job-related anxiety, but it's like our generation's albatross. I'm starting to believe that a lot of us will be better off by CREATING our own jobs and not relying on the system to give us jobs. The system is deeply broken.

    PS I loved S.'s birthday list too.

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    1. I love the idea of creating our own jobs, though the albatross metaphor is also very apt. And you're right about the system being broken - I need to let go of societal expectations and find a way to make a living that lets me live. A good goal to work on!

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  5. Happy birthday, Chrissy! Thirties are the best!

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  6. Really great. None of this idiotic mourning so many people do every birthday as if getting older has no advantages. You go, goddess!

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    1. I love getting older. I earned these years! :)

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