The strangest thing about getting older in life is that when I look back ten years, I am still an adult. Today I turn 32, so ten years ago, I was 22. When I used to look back ten years – say for instance, when I was 22 – I was still just a kid. I guess it’s natural with any birthday to reflect on your past birthdays. Most of them are vague, up until about ten years ago. I remember a few stand-out birthdays. When I was 8, of course, I was baptized and I remember wearing a dress with red roses on it and going to Leatherby’s for ice cream afterward. When I was 15, my friends surprised me in the morning and took me out to breakfast. They were generous enough to let me dress before leaving, but I was in such a frazzled state of mind that I put on umbro shorts, knee-high socks from my granny, and a tee-shirt. Let’s just remember that this was November. In Utah. I had to borrow a sweatshirt from my friend Kate when I was at school because I was freezing. I shared my 17th birthday with my older brother’s missionary farewell, and when I turned 19, I spent the day in New York City with an Art History day-trip from Smith. For the life of me, I have no idea about the years in between. If I had access to my old journals, though, I could figure it out because I wrote every day during those years. But the last ten? Well, let’s look at those.
- 22 – I was a missionary in Corvallis, MT. Sister Bernhoft and I went out to dinner, and I had a little surprise party with one of my favorite families, the Fosters.
- 23 – Still a missionary, although I was about to go home in just a few days. Another surprise part, this time in Havre, MT, with another of my favorite families, the Johnsons.
- 24 – This is the only one I can’t remember. I had just moved up to Logan for school at Utah State. I’m not sure I had made any friends yet, so maybe I did something with my roommates? Maybe I went home to be with my family?
- 25 – My sweet roommates, Kris and Telese, threw me a surprise party. I came home to find balloons and pictures of myself all over the place.
- 26 – I was in Austria, and our study abroad coordinator took us to a small town up in the mountains. We had the best stuffed schnitzel that I have ever tasted.
- 27 – Just started school at Purdue. My awesome friend Jenn took me out to dinner and was kind enough not to tell the restaurant so I didn’t have to wear a huge sombrero.
- 28 – Erica and Cristen took me to my one and only college football game! It was so cold. So very cold.
- 29 – You know, turning 30 wasn’t hard for me. Turning 29, for some reason, was. Although I had fun at a party my roommate, Judy, threw for me, I will always remember the many, many tears that were shed on and around this birthday more than anything else.
- 30 – Just moved to New Orleans. My sister and I celebrated with dinner at the famous Jacques-Imo’s restaurant.
- 31 – Dinner with Amanda at LA Thai on my birthday, and just the night before I had gelato with friends and went to see Camera Obscura.
- 32 – Today. Plans so far include skipping work (thanks Personal Holiday!), playing with the kids, and maybe catching a matinee of Harry Potter. But the best part of the day? Going to dinner with Amanda (it’s become quite the tradition). We’re going some place fancy with a menu that includes food you only hear about on Top Chef. The place? Stella! (The exclamation point is part of the title, although I also am excited about it.)
So I’m confident this will be a great birthday. And I enjoy that as I get older, I have more and more memories of being an adult. My life feels richer and fuller with each year as I overcome challenges and experience joy. It’s what makes life good, right?