Wednesday, February 22, 2012

Thirty Plus One Candles

I blew out the candles so quickly, you don't get to see them lit. Wonder what I wished for?? Right now, it's more pie!

Thirty-one snuck up on me. The flip of the calendar was gentle and painless. It wasn't a thing like turning thirty. The countdown began the moment I turned 29; I was on the precipice of real adulthood (or so I told myself). For at least half a year in advance I referred to myself as thirty, in preparation for the shock to my system, I suppose. And it was shocking to leave my twenties behind. However, life did not change. I felt rather the same after the big day had passed. Maybe I was a little more nervous about the idea of being single and childless.

This time around, I'm used to being in a new category - my thirties. I am yet a little more nervous about the idea of being single and childless, but in general I feel good. In fact, I felt younger and more energetic on my birthday than I have in a long time. Last year, I decided it was just about time to make things happen for myself. I move at a slow pace, so it took me most of my thirtieth year to implement this program. I call it "Project Me," and I have posted about it. Through "Project Me" I develop the best parts of myself, stand up for my own needs and desires, live a healthier lifestyle, and pursue my goals. In the past year I have made strides - I am a little bolder, a lot stronger, a tiny bit less of a pushover, and I am seeing the benefits of these changes. For this my thirty-first year, my goals are to develop more positive self-talk (and shush that demon who lives to make me miserable), tweak my eating habits even more so my gym sessions will yield a higher pay-off, take professional risks (in a good way), and simply focus on my own happiness.

Today, appropriately enough, I spoke with an alumna of the college for which I work. She was seventy. She told me about all the exciting things she has been up to recently - including starting a business and buying her first home. In the middle of her monologue, she paused and said, "There are some advantages to getting old." I said, "Thanks for letting me know, since I just turned 31 yesterday. I was a little nervous about the whole thing." "Oh, you're so young!" she said. "Don't be nervous. The thirties are great years." And I believe her. I look around at all the young but a little older than I am actresses I admire. Once they hit their thirties, they became more beautiful, more confident, more talented, and more amazing than they ever were before. I do not think this is just a famous person phenomenon. I think at around thirty, we are finally instilled with enough self-realization, self-confidence and life experience to live honestly and to work toward self-fulfillment. The woman I spoke with said that in your thirties things that don't matter all that much to your own happiness leave your life. I like that thought. I am ready to get lighter as I grow older.
 

***

The perfect blueberry pie - made with love by my mom and sister. It tasted as good as it looked.

Ah, yeah. Look at those crumbs. You know what makes a pie crust nice and flaky, right? Butter, lots and lots of butter.

Last year, my sister threw me a surprise party. It was the big 3-0, after all, and it was really special to have everyone make such a big deal over me. I also went out to dinner with friends, celebrated with my boyfriend at the time, and had dinner at home with my family. This year was low-key. Last night, my mom made taco salad with the mashed red beans (faux refried beans - so yummy and healthy!) I so love. Instead of birthday cake, I requested blueberry pie - my mom and brother made one a couple summers ago. Big mistake! Now, it's replaced apple cake (which I had every year for about ten years) as my "birthday cake" of choice. I had a really great night with them!


The fam: My bro - so GQ, my mom cutting pie at lightning speed, my dad hamming things up, and my sister lookin' purdy.

So, how about you? What did you do for your most recent birthday? I always feel so sad when people aren't celebrated or don't want to celebrate. I hope I am never too old for birthdays! Speaking of aging, how do you feel about it? At thirty-one, I am hardly old, but I know that's where I'm headed! It's either there or... the alternative. I'm enjoying the journey so far. I look at the students I work with daily - their youth and energy and beauty inspires me. I wouldn't want to go back, though. I love the perspective I've gained on life. Sometimes I laugh a little to myself and think of what a fool I must have been when I was their age. And, of course, to a seventy year-old, I am sure I have plenty of time left for a little foolishness without redoing my most youthful years.

XO,

Alison :)

7 comments:

  1. Happy birthday, dear! Yay, more pie!! Looks yummy! Also, I love the candid photos of your family. They capture so much personality!

    Aging is a subject that I don't want to touch with a 31-foot pole these days, though it is true that sometimes I shake a stick at it, in the attitude that 30 is the new 20 and all that happy nonsense, other days I flail about, infinitely annoyed that my beauty regime requires both anti-blemish AND anti-wrinkle, in the epitome of unfairness. It's also a scary bracket to be in, in terms of dating. My fears/insecurities get so often thrown up in my face, particularly living in a college town where 80% of the population is wet behind the ears. I miss adults. I roll my eyes. On the other hand, I bring decades of experience and many, many adventures to the table. But more importantly, I bring self-knowledge and fortitude and self-confidence; I know what I want. I know what I like and don't like, I waste less time. I know who I am today, which is far more than I can say about who I was 10 years ago.

    Ah, I could go on. Thanks for your thoughtful post, I particularly liked : "in your thirties things that don't matter all that much to your own happiness leave your life." Indeed. How beautiful is that?

    Xo

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    1. Well said D.J.! (can I still call you D.J.?)

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    2. Exactly, Ms. G! Thanks for sharing your thoughts!

      <3 Alison :)

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  2. Happy Birthday Alison, and welcome to the 30+ club!

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  3. Alison, your birthday isn't over yet. We still have to celebrate on Saturday. :)

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    1. Yay! I am looking forward to Romeo & Juliet!!

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