Friday, January 3, 2014

This Is Thirty-One

Today is my birthday. I am thirty-one.

A few months ago I wrote a post all about what it felt like to be thirty. And the truth is, reading that post back now, I realize that thirty didn't feel all that much different than twenty-nine. But for some reason, thirty-one is different. It feels significant in a way that thirty did not. Thirty gets a lot of fanfare, and thirty-one does not, but for me, this birthday is big. 

This is thirty-one.

Thirty-one is getting a blizzard and a foot of snow for my birthday, and loving every minute of it. It is drinking coffee on my couch while I watch the last flakes fall and being thrilled that I get both sun and snow on this day. It is being as excited for a snow day as I was when I was ten years old, and it is waiting for the streets to get cleared so I can head out for a snowy birthday run.

Thirty-one is celebrating my birthday with only my nearest and dearest. Thirty-one doesn't need a lot of fanfare. It just wants dinner in Manhattan, an amazing dessert, a fun drink or two, and my very best friends all sitting around the same table. It is realizing for what feels like the millionth time that these people I call friends are really my family, and that this path I walk would be impassable without them. 

Thirty-one is becoming a published author for the very first time. It is a feeling of incredible pride, having my essay in a book alongside those of writers and bloggers that I have admired for years. It is the honor of knowing that the hardest and saddest blog post I have ever written turned out to be one that is utterly relatable. It is learning that there will always be people who are critical of what I write, but understanding that this blog of mine is a place where I am safe to explore my most complicated thoughts and feelings and to be vulnerable. It is knowing that as long as I am being real and sensitive and truthful, it matters less and less what others think of me.

Thirty-one is being handed the toughest challenge of my adult life and making the decision to put my head down and forge straight ahead, rather than dwell on the "what-ifs" and the uncertainty of it all. It is knowing that I am doing the very best that I can, and that at some point you just have to let go and leap and trust that there will be a soft landing down there somewhere. Thirty-one is learning, over and over again, that sometimes the biggest choices are out of our hands and learning to be ok with that.

Thirty-one is missing my sisters every day now that they both live far away. It is having an amazing week with them at my house in New York and being confident that, despite the distance, we are just as close as we always have been. It is knowing with absolute certainty that they understand me better than anyone in the world, and that time with them is the cure for whatever ails me.

Thirty-one is walking the delicate line between appreciating what I have now and anticipating all that is still to come. It is trying hard to be present in these days and these moments, knowing that change is inevitable as time marches on.

Thirty-one is a home I love and a husband I love. It is friends and family and a life of meaning and purpose. It is struggle, but also happiness. It is reading and running, and doing the things that make me feel good. It is relishing the fact that life can still surprise in the most wonderful of ways.

This is thirty-one.

Today, I am thirty-one.

The Very Best Birthday Present


  1. Happy birthday!! I just turned 31 a few weeks ago, and you captured the feeling spot on...except without any snow. ;)

  2. I thought maybe 31 was a year of uncertainty for me because it was my first year as a mother, but I see now that what I was feeling was probably a lot more universal than I thought at the time. Happy birthday!

  3. What a beautiful, beautiful post. Happy birthday!

  4. Happy Birthday. Enjoyed the blog on 31, I guess I need to start a post of crashing into 60. I'm 57 but time speeds up the older you get.

  5. Happy Birthday! I just realized that I'm technically old enough to be your mother. Don't tell. Shhh.

  6. Happy birthday, Samantha! 31… you are a spring chicken, my friend. Hope you had an awesome time celebrating.

  7. So, so, lovely my friend. What a wonderful tribute to you. Sending big hugs and love. xo