31 turns

It’s my birthday. 31. Hello.

A lot of people asked me what I was doing today. What I had planned. And really, I didn’t have a good answer.

I thought about this more, as I took a shower, did my make up, wrangled my hair. Here I was, 31, and I had no plans. And as I reflected further, I realized that, when I was younger, I had no plans as to what 31 looked like. No picket-fence/kids/career outline to map my experiences to.

Sure, when I was younger, I had a clear idea of what 16 looked like- driver’s license and a car.  Well, that was false. I secured my learner’s permit at 17, and got my first car when I was 28.

But when I really drill down to it, I cannot pinpoint one thing that measured my life plan and charted back to 31. Or 30 or 25 or 40. My life has been kind of crazy. Just like yours has been, and will continue to be, dear reader. I think that my most succinct learning is that there is no plan. Just today and tomorrow, and whatever learning came from yesterday.

Life has always been a big surprise for me. I could never have dreamed that the lanky sailor I met in passing at age 16, in the midst of the blackout, would marry me when I was 27. Six months ago, I couldn’t have told you that today, I’d own my own company, have a roster of clients, and be hanging out in a coffee shop as part of “work.” All the stamps in my passport? Not part of the “life plan,” just the more immediate “travel plans.”

I definitely don’t have a six pack. But I also don’t drink a six pack as part of my weekend. I run slower, but I also approach life with more purpose and intention. I have had amazing relationships- friends, family, loves- that certainly all have their place for a season, reason or life. I treasure those human connections, and am grateful for those teachers, even those that have moved on.

I have lost a lot of people, gaining experience and perspective that sometimes, makes me feel much older than 31. I live in a rental apartment downtown, am really happy with my partner in crime, and invest more in my summer plans than my retirement accounts. I’ve got dreams and wild ideas, that each day become more real but I’m always open to whatever comes next.

I’m really proud of the life I’ve cultivated. It is something that is always tipping the scales of balance, inviting in a shit ton more self love than I have ever known. I feel like a fucking adult, more days than not. I stay curious and human, retreating to kindness and self care when necessary.

There really is no wisdom to impart here, other than that sometimes, no plans are the best plans. A lack of plans opens up life to boundless opportunity, even if that looks like leopard print pants/a Lauryn Hill soundtrack/coffee shop/biz ownership. Riffing off of The Crossroads of Should and Must, I’ve loved focusing on what I must do for balance and happiness, not the shoulds of a plan.

And with that, happy birthday to me.