On the Eve of 30

I've always been into my birthday.  My family always put a little effort into make a birthday into "Your Special Day."  As I've gotten older, my birthday is still one of my most important days, and if you were a loved one of mine who choose to include me in your own birthday, I would do  my best to make it special.

For a while when I was little I had a beautiful canopy bed.  The sheets and the canopy itself were white and pink, and my bedroom on a sunny morning would just be so bright and cheery that it was never hard for me to wake up.  To this day I like a bright, cheery bedroom, and sunny mornings are just the most beautiful.  Anyway.  I was maybe in second grade or something, and I woke up to the brightest sunny morning.  My parents and brother brought me breakfast in bed (pancakes, of course, probably chocolate chip) and sang me the Happy Birthday song.  We use these "It's Your Special Day" dishes on your special day, be it birthday or other equally good news, and it really does make the day extra special.  I think that was the birthday I got roller skates.

Eventually May 12 became a rainy day.  I no longer wake up to the sun, no one is singing me the birthday song, there is definitely not anyone bringing me breakfast in bed, and the Special Day plate is at my parent's.  Even if I had all those things happen, it would never compare to that sunny morning and the pleasure I felt as a child.

So, 30.  It's here tomorrow.  It was bothering me quite a bit, the milestone, you know?  Then I realized that entering my 30s means I get to say "g'BYE!" to my 20s and that actually sounded pretty good, it's been time to move on for a while.  Goodbye to all those lost friendships and relationships.  Goodbye to now long-gone furniture, clothes, apartments, things.  Goodbye to lingering stress, embarrassment, shame, and guilt.  Goodbye.

Out with the old, in with the new, right?

Hello to getting my floors refinished instead of buying...stuff.  Hello to overpaying my mortgage.  Hello to simplifying, cooking at home, nurturing relationships. Hello to honesty, commitment, generosity.  Hello to parenthood and this new Laura I haven't yet met.

Hello, 30, I'm ready; Let's GO.


I've written about my birthday before here and here.

Birthday Part 1

For the past five years I've gone camping over my birthday weekend.  My mid-May birthday often falls on Mother's Day, but sometimes it'll be a Tuesday and I'll celebrate from Friday through Tuesday and I have no shame about it.

My first Birthday Camping trip, I camped alone.  I drove up to Kohler-Andrea outside Sheboygan.  I had with me the tent I received for my birthday in 4th grade.  

Side: my fourth grade birthday was fine.  I think I got a bookshelf or something and that was all well and good, but what I really wanted was a tent.  The night of my birthday, with a big sigh with a hint of disappointment for not receiving my tent, I removed myself from my typical spot on the couch and went to brush my teeth.  I came back down to join my family for our nighttime prayer and to say goodnight, and my mom asked me to fold my blanket or something.  I picked up the blanket.... and underneath was my Tent!! Joy!  We all went downstairs and set it up immediately.  I used that tent for many camping trips, often with my best friend Adrienne, whom I am fortunate enough to still be celebrating my birthday with!

I packed the sleeping bag that I had been using since memory begins.  I also packed a chair, a book, my journal, some food (about three heaping servings of campers stew/hobo dinner, whatever you call it), and two 40s of high life.  

The wood was wet.  It was cold.  I think it rained.  I slept on the ground and -surprise!- it was not comfortable!  I got drunk.  I was reading The Time Traveller's Wife and so I cried a lot.  I got really drunk.  I was so drunk that I called my mom while drunk.  (Who does that?)

Does this all sound pretty miserable?  Because this trip was truly miserable.  I was miserable.  I needed to say goodbye to part of my life that needed to be deleted and "empty trash," so when I say I was miserable, I mean actually miserable.  So I went camping.  Alone.  For my birthday.  And through all the misery, I was able to reconnect with myself.

I made a hot albeit smoky fire (granted with help over the phone from my dad and uncle who were at a different campground on my brother's bachelor camping trip).  I successfully cooked my three heaping servings of campers stew, and I ate it all.  I washed away all the bad with my tears.  A cardinal quietly visited me.  I was alone and happy.

The next year I had a new sleeping bag.

The year after that I had a new tent.

The year after that I had hiking shoes and wool socks.

The year after that I had a rain jacket.

And I'm not camping alone anymore on my birthday.  I surround myself with the best people in my life.  We hike.  We eat.  We drink.  We laugh together, and we get a little deep.

My dad isn't in this pic- he was taking a little nap!  And Adrienne and her bf Mike had already left, boo.

Every year I am grateful to have amazing people to share my time with, many of whom are not in this darling picture.