by ann

Usually I celebrate my birthdays with more fanfare. Cake! Gifts! Ply me with shots and cocktails because I have lived another year!

I ushered 29 in with a quick dinner at a pop-up market. There was one frozen pina colada consumed and I may have slept before midnight.

I find I’m still wrapping my mind around this whole “almost thirty” thing. I think my mind is still stuck in the mid-twenties. At the most.

See, last weekend, I journeyed with my mom from Texas to North Carolina through the wee hours of the morning, red-eyed as we maneuvered her wide-bellied SUV on the road. When we got to Chapel Hill, Amy was waiting with cardboard boxes my mom had shipped earlier. As I helped sort, I found a bag with old notes from high school- seven page epistles that stressed about a hard final, quick scribbles updating about a recent crush.

This is all to say has it really been that long?

I still see that kid who likes to read hiding in the corner bordered by the two living room couches. (Yep, I was a weird one.) Yet after twenty nine years of living, I like to think I’ve learned something. So some things I’ve learned and need to remind myself of:

Stop saying maybe. Just say yes or no.

When you do commit, don’t flake. You don’t like it and no one else does either.

Sometimes you just need to eat the cake. Calories and nutritional value be damned.

Making assumptions about people only closes you off.

But be suspicious of people who don’t have friends of the same sex. Red flag.

Realize nobody knows what they are doing. We are all still figuring it out. It’s both terrifying and comforting.

Keep learning. Yes, you’re not in school anymore. It’s not about the grades. It’s about staying present.

Take a break. Productivity is awesome. But it’s not everything.

If a friend doesn’t respect you, he/she is not your friend. Also, just because a person is interesting, doesn’t mean he/she will be a good friend. Get rid of the toxic.

On the flip side, you have some amazing people in your life. Don’t neglect them!

You make mistakes. Sometimes they are deliberate. Sometimes they are accidents. Stop reliving them. Learn from them. Then let them go.