Wednesday, September 25, 2013

On Turning 24

My last birthday was spent in the country of Georgia, eating way too much cake and being sung to like: "Happy Birrrday to youuuu....Happy Birrrday...Uh...." (and then switching into Georgian)  "bidnieri dabedebes dghes!" Thus far my birthday week, for so I deem it, has been pure New Orleans - music at the Davenport lounge at the Ritz-Carlton, complete with fried green tomatoes. Wine on my porch as we watched the sunset over the train tracks of the 9th ward. Tomorrow, local Vietnamese food and Friday over to Tipatina's for a "James Brown Get Down" funk/groove/jazz/bounce dance party.  Life is sweet.

I wrote the above on my birthday eve, and I was correct in thinking that my birthday week would be "pure New Orleans" - it was, but not exactly in the way I had imagined. In fact, it was so intensely ridiculous and exhausting of a week that it took me awhile to get back to this post. I'd like to preface this by quoting something a friend said to me once: " a lot of things seem to happen to you."

Yes, yes they do. Not big things, but the things do seem to find a way of piling up.

On my birthday I got a flat tire while driving in the Bywater, a trendy hipster neighborhood. A man popped out of an unmarked door in the wall and offered his hidden, classy bar as a shady respite. He then said he was sending a friend of his to help me, a friend who was "kinda crackedy, but a good guy". The crackedy friend was either completely drunk or coming off something but he did get my tire changed.

The next day my car died in the middle of the street in the 9th ward. I stood there, in my cute little high waist skirt, desperately calling a friend, when a nice young man stopped to help. He then snatched my wallet and ran away. I spent the day in auto shops and talking to Anthony at the Bank to cancel my card. I ate my Vietnamese birthday lunch left overs while sitting in Advanced Auto.

Instead of Tipatina's on Friday all I could muster was some quiet drinks with some girlfriends.  I felt a bit beat up. But Saturday night was the Hi Ho Lounge, with the famous DJ Soul Sister residing, and it was a wonderful break-it-down, dance-your-heart-out mix of ages and jams and people having a good time.

My 23rd year was insane. Hospitals and heartbreaks and Caribbean Island and snow-capped mountains insane. This year I feel like I have a little more space to breath, at least when I'm not battling car troubles and sneaky robbers. Perhaps here I can find a little stability to let me sort out some priorities.

So I've made some goals, 25 of them in fact, 25 before 25. I won't tell you all of them and they are flexible as I find new things to love or realize my priorities shift. Still, having goals is fun - I am consistently amazed by how blessed I am to complete goals. At age eight I wanted to go to Machu Picchu. And I did. Twice. I wanted to go to England, to act in Shakespeare, to work for the Smithsonian, to see the Amazon, to dance with good-looking foreign men, and I've done it all. I can't really claim my own strength here, except for my bull-headed stubborness in believing that if I want it bad enough and ignore other things enough (like, you know, budgeting and practical people) it's going to happen.

Here are a few of my goals I believe won't change:

1. Spanish.
Yeah, I can hold a conversation, but I'm no where near where I want to be!

2. Reading the classics.
Reading is a priority in my life. And finally accepting that as an ok thing is good.  I'm part of a New Orleans book club and we meet at coffee shops and delight in our love of words!

3. 5k
Running is not my thing. It is hard. It is boring. It is not dancing. You cannot stop running when your favorite Beyonce song comes on and start dancing. At least, not when you are on busy track in a city park. But I will learn to persevere and do some running!

4. Publish online
I love to write, but I never seem to do anything with my stuff...

5. Travel somewhere new OR return to my roots.
Being practical here - I spend a lot of time planning fake trips, most recently to Alaska or back to the DR or to Haiti. But I haven't been back to South Carolina in ages...I haven't hiked the Appalachians... I haven't fished with my Grandpa. So that would be awesome too.

Some of the most liberating advice I've read on one of the million "advice for 20somethings" articles that I've read (SERIOUSLY - EVERYONE has advice for 20somethings. Even other 20somethings.) was "be ok with spending time and money on what you love and what makes you a better person". I can be pretty frugal and don't like to spend money on stuff that could do me good - but now I'm prioritizing more, and for me that's zumba and books. I'm buying some books I've always meant to read and I signed up for local zumba classes to get me happy and healthy!

23 was good, in its own crazy way. 24 will be good too. But I still feel the pain of time passing. I remember being around eight years old and feeling it then, realizing one afternoon that my parents would die one day, that my pets have such short life spans, that my body wouldn't always allow me to play tag and climb trees. It's the feeling of the sunset on a Sunday, the sudden realization of done-ness. How do we humans cope? So many babies that aren't babies any more. So many small moments that are so precious, lost and forgotten. So many that have gone.

Not to end it on a downer, but contemplations must be contemplated, and where else to air them but on a silly little blog? 


  1. I can relate to a lot of what you have said. I too feel the pangs of time passing me by. What I have learned though is that a meaningful life is one where one follows his/her heart's desires, while working under the framework of the mind. Follow the passions that make your life meaningful.

    You and I have a lot in common and there are times when I read you blog (I must admit that I am a loyal reader) and I tell myself "Gesh, there is someone who you should emanate. She has a strong head on her shoulders and a heart whose passion runs wild." In a small way, you give me inspiration for me "to chose the path least taken" and for me to define my life as the action-packed journey I know it can be.

    1. It means so much to me that someone such as yourself appreciates my blog! Thank you so much for reading and commenting! (And I'm so glad you can relate to my sorta sappiness...)

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