One Day In

by - 6:42 AM

I aged. Peacefully, healthfully, happily.
This sounds silly, I'm sure, but every year since I turned eighteen, I would get age anxiety. Like, my life was passing me by too quickly. The years were passing but nothing was happening.
It started young. I'll be blunt: when I was a kid, my parents had nothing. I have several siblings, but "rich in family" as my mother liked to say, just wasn't enough for me. I imagined my life would turn out very glamorous, and all I had to do was wait until I was a grown up.
I grew up, but it took a damn long time for my life to turn glamorous and every time the clock ticked-tocked in on a new year, I'd have a meltdown.
I'm losing time. I'm getting too old. I'm wasting my life.

I like to get seriously melodramatic sometimes.

My boyfriend would, unperturbed, pat my back and remind me: babe, you're going to college. Chill.
Then he'd resume watching TV because he's chill like that.
Not me. God, everyday is a day closer to thirty, I'd cry shrilly. Thirty!

Then this year happened and my life somehow fell into place. It became everything I imagined it would. It's not quite glamorous, but it's everything I wanted. I turned twenty-four with ease. Welcomed it, even.

I broke out my red lipstick and wore it to work. 'Cause it's my birthday.
I counted the number of sparkly shoes in my closet and grinned because I maybe I did grow up to be glamorous.
I laughed because I don't have kids and so, no matter how old I am, I get to stay out until morning and hop in my car and head to anywhereville on a complete and total whim. I could be eighty-two and without out those kids, I'm livin' like a young adult. Score!

Life is good and twenty-four is grand.

Rockstar Boyfriend, otherwise known as Ryan Hodges, sent beautiful flowers to me. At work.
That man knows I'd want everyone to see.

Dude got me a bird! In the flowers! Class, man. Class.

I wanted to eat outside and drink margaritas while a mariachi band played on the deck behind us. I like to dream big. Have the whole movie package, but it was too hot, so we skipped out on Mexico and headed to Asia for sushi.

Did you know that sushi restaurants have a very different "birthday dessert" than, say, Finleys?
So we had a very lovely server and she was perceptive enough to get that it was my birthday thanks to the five hundred "it's my birthday!" screeches I made. When we finished, she asked if I would like a complimentary birthday dessert. Expecting a scoop of vanilla with a messy dollop of hot fudge, I declined. Rockstar boyfriend refuted my decline with a smile. "She'd love a birthday dessert!"
Out came this:

A quarter of a pineapple, speared with maraschino cherries. And some kind of weird gummy ice cream. No singing, thank you!
I'm moving to Asia, friend. If this is how they celebrate birthdays, imagine Christmas dinner!
I made him go for a walk, because that's my favorite thing to do. He obliged because it's my birthday and I only get that man to walk down a trail once a year.

I know this is a sub-par, super crappy picture, but I love his unintentional mad face. That's just his face. And it's hilariously adorable.
(He's gonna be so pissed when he reads this!)

It was a good birthday.
You know, aging used to freak me out. I'd get all worried about how you 1.)get old and then you 2.) get wrinkly and then you 3.) die.

 I also used to think that when I grew up, I'd still dress cool. I had this teacher I so admired because she dressed sooo cool and stuff. Cool according to my seventh grade standards. What I've learned in the past decade is that as I age, I change.

And thank you sweet baby Jesus. That is a most blessed miracle that I don't still want to dress "cool."
Twelve-year-old-Jenn wanted to grow up to be someone who still wore too tight jeans with rhinestones on the ass. And Bonnebell lipgloss. With sparkles.
Twenty-four-year-old-Jenn laughs hysterically at the image.
Likewise, eighteen-year-old-Jenn wanted to stay young forever.
Twenty-four-year-old Jenn looks forward to becoming a mother and a wife. Getting laugh lines from a life well lived.

Hopefully twenty-four-year-old-Jenn gives up talking about herself in the third person

I'm a changer. It seems that I have the good fortune of being ready to accept things when they finally arrive. And they only arrive when they are supposed to.
It's sort of like vacations. On the first day of vacay, I'm thinking, I'll never go back. YOU CAN'T MAKE ME!
Halfway through, I'm still not ready, but when that day comes when I pack my stuff and make way for home, I am always ready. Always.
I see home and I think, finally. I missed you so.
Someday that will be me. Older, yet ready for it. Welcoming of it. Dreaming of it. Craving it.
This weekend, I'm taking the little girl who stole my seventeen-year-old-heart and made me an aunt all those years ago, up north. To our up north. She's never been and I'm dying to show her where cherries grow and what the northwest coast of giant Lake Michigan looks like when the sun sets. We'll eat ice cream and stay up past bedtime. We'll take Jack for a walk to the beach and build sand castles. We'll thank God we're alive because there is no better way to live than on the beach.
This is totally going to be us this weekend.
P.S. I stole these pics from her mother. You can thank Deanna ten Haaf for this well caught hilarity.
Her little girl's charm slays me.
Here's too a great weekend with ice cold beer, too many s'mores and the toxic mix of sunscreen and sand if every.single.crevice.

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