Sunday, March 14, 2010

Twenty eleven

My third birthday, of which I remember some vague images and feelings, was at a local Chuck E Cheese. My mom made a cake in the shape of a butterfly, and a few friends (and their parents) were in attendance. Here you can see me with my mom (pregnant with my sister, born 4 months later) and dad.

My mom made me a new pink skirt with suspenders and two matching hair barrettes. I loved them. It was my fifth birthday, and we went roller skating. 3 out of the 5 people in this photo are still in my life - Scarlett, Oldest Friend, and Brian Foster, all of whom (like me) still look like they did in this photo. Brian's hair is a little darker. Also pictured are Kristina and Megan, preschool friends of mine.

I had a big party for my 16th birthday, and, in going through the photos I have, I found quite a few of all my friends and hardly any of me. Which was just as well, because my face looked like a pizza. I had a great time, though. The shorts in this photo were a size 2, and I sewed the blouse myself. Also pictured are my friend Julia with a mouthful of cake and Laurel, who was about 8. I think I'd just opened a gift, which was a necklace from one of my friends that tragically broke after only a few wearings, but I liked it so much I saved the beads.

Here's Joey with me on my 21st birthday. I had a big party for the first time since my 16th, and I had an amazing time. I think it was potluck; people brought or made all kinds of food and drinks, and my college ex made my chocolate-raspberry birthday cake. I only have a few photos from the evening, and this one was the best of them. So many of the people I was closest to came to help me celebrate, and I couldn't have asked for a better 21st. (Also: Holy shit was I skinny.)

Today is my 31st birthday. It was both good and bad: good, because I went to the gym and had a tasty breakfast and a tasty lunch and expect to have a tasty dinner. I've found a new drink I enjoy (whiskey sour!) and I have 2 kitties. And Dan's making me a birthday pie. Bad, because I'm so far away from most of my friends and family, and I'm so far from where I want to be in life. I think I'm hardest on myself during times when I reflect on how much potential I once had. I was 3, and 5, and 16, and 21. Now it's 10 years later than the last photo, and the only difference between then and now is where I live and who I live with. Sometimes I feel like my relationship with Dan is the only thing I have going for me. I don't own a house, or a graduate degree; I've not gone on nearly as many trips as I expected and I want to be something completely different in my career and I'm still practicing my parenting skills on small felines.

Here's hoping that, sometime during this next year, the things I want to help move my life forward happen. And that I somehow contract the serenity I need to look back at 3-year-old me and 5-year-old me and 16-year-old me and 21-year-old me and realize that where I am at age 31 really isn't so bad.


Emily SW said...

Oh, what a great post! (and happy birthday!) I too often feel that I have very little going for me in life: no house or graduate degree or nearly enough travel and not even any kitties to practice parenting on. But my life is very good as well, and I think you summed up that feeling quite nicely.

Leah said...

Dude, there is NO WAY that, save Dan and Colorado, you're the same person you were ten years ago. That would be impossible (and sad) (and worth doing something about IMMEDIATELY).

That said, try not to focus on all those outward have-nots, and let this birthday be a celebration of who you are, not what you do/have. We think you're pretty neat, and can't wait to celebrate MLE's Birthday Observed with you in a few weeks.

sid said...

Ha. Just looked at the pic of you as a 21 year old. Thought the same thing, "Holy hell she's skinny." Hmmm I turned 27 recently and totally freaked out. I was all, "I'm going to die alone."

Here's hoping you travel more often and achieve everything you've always dreamed of.

Yank In Texas said...

I feel the same way at times. I have a house but that's about it. We can't afford to do much else because of the damn house. It ain't all sunshine and roses. But sometimes you need to focus on the positives and see that you have a pretty darn good life after all. (and sometime come to Austin for SXSW and do all the free fun stuff!)

Anonymous said...

I fail to see how - when your birthday included the discovery of whiskey sours - there could be ANY bad involved.

Those benchmarks of where you think you "should" be in life will all fall into place exactly when and where they're supposed to, and it will be all the sweeter when it happens.

And then you will come to Pittsburgh and I will make you whiskey sours. The end.

Oh - and HAPPY BIRTHDAY!!!(a day late)

EEK! said...

Happy birthday, Em. I think you're even cuter now than you were at 21, anyway.

Hillary said...

Happy birthday :)
(a day late - sorry!)