Today, or somewhere in the black hole between 11:59pm and 12am, I turn 29. A Leap Year baby who never gets a real Golden Birthday – since February 29th is obsolete this year. Not that something so silly as a missing date on the calendar could ever stop me from wearing gold sequins and celebrating anyways. (I hear Champagne for breakfast is a thing) My most exciting plans for the day: renewing my Driver’s License.
Pretty festive right? But it’s actually kind of fitting – not only because, in true fashion, am I doing it on the last day possible (It’s probably on a to-do list somewhere in my house, written weeks ago and buried under a pile of old mail) but also because it will be the first time I confidently walk into the DMV and have no shame in writing down my real weight. In years past, I have always flubbed – guesstimating 5 or 10 or 15 pounds under the reality of this curvaceous bod. But Year 28 was a turning point for me. A lesson in self love and self awareness.
It was a year that looked Fear in the face and laughed, a year that sought contentment over yearning for more, a year that allowed me to look in the mirror and find happiness. Though I continue to fall victim to the comparison game and too often allow myself to feel less than – It’s a work in progress. But Year 28 also brought a new found confidence. It brought an understanding that my time here is too precious to worry about how I look or how I match up against others around me, instead bringing clarity to an idea of community. Focusing on how I am making people feel, raising up, cheering on, supporting – not tearing down, validating others, being a voice for the voiceless, staying transparent and honest and unapologetically being myself. My flawed, imperfect, unique self. And filling my days with actions that create change, not just should haves and would haves. It was a year of Jumping Right In. (Even when sometimes I should have waited and put on the floaties and just hung out in the shallow end) But was a year of No Regrets.
Year 28 also brought a handsome, bearded fellow in front of me on one knee, asking if I would be his forever adventure buddy. Luckily, I know the guy. (And Cooper approved)
It brought all sorts of new experiences and life lessons. I tried Fondu for the first time – and wondered why I hadn’t had it in my life sooner. I fell in love with Sour beers and bite sized anything and something called coffee. I realized that losing weight isn’t as important as being healthy. Tiny, small, seemingly insignificant changes always lead to big results. Salad dressing on the side is surprisingly awesome. Couponing is strangely addictive and extremely satisfying. Weekends are made for Northwoods adventures with my two dudes and staying up late means making it to the 10 o’clock news. Wrinkles are a blessing, a sign of years passed – something I promise to never take for granted. And the idea of spending the rest of my life with Andrew Spilde is an excitement I can’t describe, but can attempt to with limitless double chin smiles.
But overall it was 366 days of challenges and failures and utmost joy. (And you bet I am counting that Leap Day we had last year!) I learned to be completely and wildly in love with my life, every imperfect chaotic moment, deeply grateful for each new day I am given. Each breathe I get to take. If this year showed me anything, it was that life is not to be taken for granted and our time here is so sacred. So why not make the best of it? Do more, Be more, Connect more. The rest just falls into place.
But another year couldn’t be celebrated without some really important humans that said Yes and gave me life. // Happy Birth Day Momma, I sure am glad God chose you for me. I couldn’t have asked for more incredible, caring parents to teach me what honest love looks like, every day. I’m so gfateful for the years we’ve had so far, just us three, and all the years ahead we have yet to uncover together.
Year 29, I’m coming for ya.
Photo of my double chin grin by our incredibly talented friend + beer lover, Bailey Aro Photography // www.baileyaro.com