Thursday, August 10, 2017

This Is 35

All I wanted for my birthday was a dramatic portrait of me and the ocean.

My birthday was yesterday. As usual, I celebrated a few days early with my annual backyard birthday bash, which featured a cornhole tournament (I won) and some light gambling (I lost). Last night after work (because as it turns out my birthday is not the national holiday that I imagine it to be) Nathan and I went out to dinner and drank fancy cocktails, which seemed like a very ~ thirty-five ~ thing to do. 

Per tradition, I will now attempt to capture life as a brand new 35 year old in my version of a digital time capsule. Here goes nothing. 

Thirty-five is a whole lot of existential crisis about my career, and what it means to have a job that doesn't, in the end, mean much. It's wondering whether I should have climbed the corporate ladder when I was younger, because my current rung feels so low. It's the slow realization that I put all my eggs in one basket, and then promptly dropped that basket down a flight of stairs. (Thirty-five is more dramatic than I anticipated.) Finally, it's reminding myself that it's not too late to start again, in work, in life, in anything, and starting. Again. 

Thirty-five is a crazy, mixed-up world. It's fear that my country's leaders do not have my best interests at heart, and waking every day wondering what political twist will be revealed next. It's anxiety and uncertainty and frustration in a broken system I am powerless to fix. It's abandoning national politics (with the exception of Twitter) and keeping my energy local. There's enough to fix here in Wilmington, and I stand a much better chance of being heard and helpful. It's organizing my precinct and meeting my neighbors and buying water because I can't even trust the river. It's kind of bleak, to be honest. 

Thirty-five is looking back on the last year of my literary career, and feeling... pretty good about it, actually. It's working on the same novel, still, while being pulled in another direction. It's short stories that are beginning to pile up into something that feels like something. It's writing slowly, publishing rarely, but making work that matters to me. It's creating in stolen moments - mornings, lunch breaks, right this very second - and wishing, always, for more time. 

Thirty-five is nearly five years of marriage, and fifteen together. It's a relationship with ups and downs, peaks and valleys, and good times that far outweigh the bad. It's doing our best to appreciate each other - it is frighteningly easy to take someone for granted, especially when your lives are so seamlessly entwined. It's loving nothing better than sitting on the couch at night with a box of wine and a Netflix original series, holding hands while the dog sleeps beside us. 

Thirty-five is friendships that have grown deep and wide and comfortable. It's cheering one other on, in person and from afar, and watching as we each transform into new versions of ourselves. Thirty-five is acceptance and appreciation and gratitude for the long and layered relationships that have and continue to push me and help me grow. 

Thirty-five is still mourning the loss of my dog, an on-going obsession with personal finance, and freelancing on the side because #sidehustle. It's a renewed passion for this blog and a disillusionment with social media. It's more library books and less breweries, more student loans and less consumer debt, more delegation and less grunt work. It's learning to be a better manager, asking for what I'm worth, and standing up for myself. It's reaching a turning point without realizing it, keeping my focus on what matters, and cutting out the bullshit. I'm thirty-five, and I simply don't have time for it. 


This was 31.
This was 32.
This was 33
This was 34


  1. Chrissy, I love this and every single year's recap. I just read them all and was surprised to see a shout out to me and my old blog on "this is 31." I completely forgot (but then remembered!) that I did a post like this when I turned 30. I have no idea whether I can dig up those words from anywhere (I regrettably didn't save much when I took down the blog) because I would love to see what I thought 30 looked like nearly five years ago.

    We've come full circle. I inspired this tradition then promptly forgot about it. Now you've inspired me to take it up again. I'm going to write my own list come November and even if I don't have a place to post it publicly, I will save it for future years. Seeing your own process and evolution over the years is so beautiful. There is something so comforting in knowing that each year ebbs and flows and that every birthday is another gift - another year with struggles but also with so much love and joy.

    Wishing you a beautiful year ahead, my friend!

    1. I love that this has come full circle! Have you ever tried Future Me? ( You can write an email to yourself and it will be delivered on whatever day your choose. I sent one to myself for my 30th birthday back when I was like 24, and it was such a surreal experience. (Mostly because I'd totally forgotten about it.) I'm pretty sure I have one set to arrive when I turn 40, and I can't wait to see what it says.

      Thanks, also and always, for the lovely comment and friendship. You make the internet a brighter place!

    2. You do too!!

      And I love the futureme recommendation - ha, I would love to hear what my 24 year old self would have written! I should do this for 40. Thanks for the idea!

  2. I love this! I turned 35 in December (just realized 36 is in less than 4 months - wow!) and so much of this resonates with me. I like this age; I feel like I'm really coming into my own even if the world sometimes seems to be crashing around me and I'm not where I thought I would be. Then again, are we ever? I'll definitely be writing up one of these come 36.