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Describe your life at the time of your 30th birthday…

10-year-old E:

At the age of 30, I’ll be all grown up. I’ll have a husband and two kids, a boy and a girl (the girl will be named Samantha), and like ten cats. I will work as a veterinarian — or maybe a pediatrician — and we’ll have a house in New York City and take the subway everywhere. I will also take ballet lessons and watch a lot of Broadway shows.

I will have watched Madonna’s “Like a Virgin” concert without my mom fast-forwarding through the bad parts. No one will have ever found out about that homework page I didn’t finish in first grade and threw out instead of getting my mom to sign it. I’ll have my own Prodigy account and Aly and I will send each other hundreds of emails each month and IM everyday. And I hope my husband can cook, because I can’t.

15-year-old E:

Marriage? No way! Kids? Hell no! Everything society expects me to do, I’m gonna do the opposite.

18-year-old E:

My accounting professor says some accounting majors start at $80,000 right out of college! $80,000!!! Who needs a husband when I can make a ton of money working on my own. I’m gonna have the coolest apartment in New York City and I’ll drive a baby blue Mustang convertible. I know it’s hard to park in NYC, but I’ll be making so much that I’ll just pay for my own spot.

My English teacher keeps saying I’m gonna end up an English teacher or writer. Pssssh! They don’t make any money. Just wait and see.

I definitely won’t have any kids. They are such a pain in the ass. Constantly crying and moaning for things.

21-year-old E:

If I work my arse off, I can make partner in ten years.

Oh, and I met someone; I think he could be the one. [blush] He is so cute with an adorable smirk and that just got out of bed hairstyle that really takes him 20 minutes to perfect. Oh, and he’s British. He sounds just like Hugh Grant. Actually he kind looks and acts like him too. They both have narrow faces, stretchy skin and are kind of awkward.

Where would we live? I don’t know. I would love to live in London, but he loves NY. Maybe well have a house in both places. Did I tell you how cute he is? Let me show you a photo!

23-year-old E:

If I am still working as an auditor when I am 30, please shoot me.

Now, go away it’s busy season and I need to add a 2,546th column to my spreadsheet and decide between a kosher burger and a bologna sandwich for dinner.

I’m serious. Bugger off!

25-year-old E:

Published. The next Sophie Kinsella. No, no! Bill Bryson. If I work as a travel writer I could get paid to travel. How cool would that be? I could give up having an apt, and just live out of my backpack. I’d be one with the earth, bartering the clothes I sew on long train rides to pass the time for food and travel tours. I could find a land I adore and build roots there as an animal activist or offer accounting advice for third-world communities.

Whatever I do, I WILL publish a book by the time I am 30. I will HATE myself if I dont.

The boy? Eh, things with the boy aren’t too great right now.

29-year-old E:

Where will I be when I’m 30?

Well, I am a writer, but not yet a published author. However, I don’t hate myself. I work in NYC but have lost the desire to leave my backyard in the suburbs. One cat, not ten. No idea how to sew clothes, or barter for that matter; I can’t even use eBay.

I run half marathon(s), can put my legs behind my head in yoga class and ride black diamond trails on my snowboard. I drove across the US and walked across England. I haven’t been to a dance class in years, I rarely indulge in broadway shows and I’ve jumped out of a plane 25 times. I’ve learned to cook — and bake — and I work in an industry that would make 10-year-old-“I only eat foods that come covered in ketchup or tomato sauce” E wrinkle her nose. I’m obsessed with cheese. I’ve see Madonna in concert four times — but have still not watched her “Like a Virgin” tour.

I’ve fallen in love, and back out again. I’ve tested my morals, and been deceived and trampled on. I fight for what I want but I never ignore my intuition. I have surrounded myself with supportive girlfriends who constantly inspire me to achieve more. My family has stood by throughout 29 years of irrational decisions and picked me up when Ive fallen. My friends and family tolerate and love me; I will forever feel indebted to them. I’m single. I’m fulfilled. But I still wonder about my Hugh Grant.

I put way too much pressure on myself but love myself too much to change. I am a control freak who gave up control; everything I’ve experienced in my life was at some point unexpected. And I am absolutely loving the ride.

Oh, and I DO send Aly hundreds of emails a month, and we iMessage almost everyday.

Happy 30th Birthday to me! In true tradition, my girls honored my big day with a few of our favorite things… cheese, cured meats, pesto, bruschetta, crackers, lime tostitos, cava, wine, vodka, Reese PB cupcakes and a trip to my favorite restaurant for mojitos and empanadas. Couldn’t have been more perfect… and the celebration will continue next month when we all head to CANCUUUUUN!

I am excited for this new decade and feel confident that there are many experiences and lessons waiting to help me grow.

Happy Birthday to me!

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K and I pre pig-out!

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Last week my girlfriend sent me an article by Rene Syler, journalist and editor of goodenoughmother.com, posted on the The Huffington Post. Syler had received a Happy Birthday Tweet asking her what she ‘would have told her 28-year-old self knowing what she knows now.’ See her response here: Happy Birthday to Me!

Partying hard for my 24th birthday at the Lizard Lounge in Nottingham, England

This year I turn 29, about the age of Syler’s young-recipient. Reading her letter points out to me how little I know and how much I have still to grow. At the same time, it reminds me how much I have learned. My life has not only evolved since I turned 18, but it has taken a number of unexpected hairpin turns. I decided to copy follow her lead and reflect on what I would have told myself.

Accounting is boring: Stop listening to your high school professors talk about how much money accountants make. He’s gonna win the lotto in a few years and, rumor has it, he quits his job. Find a career you’d still want to be a part of if you ever win the lotto. You’ll learn quickly that money isn’t your motivator.

Believe in your strength: Over the next few years you will be face with adversity that will at time feel crippling. You’ll feel weak, tired and ready to give up some days. This does not mean you are not strong; rather it means you are human. In ten years, you will have not only made it through, but you will have learned countless life-defining lessons — that is your strength. If you were weak, I wouldn’t be writing this.

Learn to listen: You invite and keep so many amazing people in your life. They all play a role, and a very important one at that. Cherish them, respect them, support them and listen to them. Everyone has something to teach you, and if you don’t stop and listen, you’re relationships will never grow.

Cut yourself some slack: You live a great life — wonderful family and friends; you find a career path you love and you live everyday to the fullest. When things aren’t 100% you focus on the positive and think, “Things aren’t so bad, it could be worse.” Allow yourself some self pity, occasionally — and react positively. Feeling down about an aspect of your life is the kind of motivation you need to further develop yourself in that area. Don’t feel bad about feeling bad.

Trust your intuition: Hindsight is 20/20 (but you don’t know what that means yet, and you’ll look up the word ‘hindsight’ a few more times before it sticks; it’s just one of those words). Over the years you’ll start to recognize an innate ability to understand situations and people without analyzing them, and you’ll get mad at yourself for not trusting your instincts in earlier situations. Don’t get mad. Part of intuition is letting it lead you through the good and the bad. Let the anger go and learn to listen and trust yourself. Everything happens for a reason.

Stop planning: After you graduate college you are going to tell your boyfriend that you plan on making partner in an accounting firm in XX years. Less than 6 months later you are going to apply to grad school. Two years after that you break up with said boy. Stop trying to plan, NOW! Just enjoy the ride. There is no much more to see when you aren’t focused on the road. (So cliche, but ehhhh.)

Slow down: Your to-do list is always going to be longer than most spoiled brats’ letters to Santa; the rush of work, projects and social events is what keeps you pumped. You live your life at the same speed you snowboard — fast. But when you do slow down, you take so much more in and learn a lot about yourself. Make a point to slow down and relax. Try really hard; you’ll still be struggling with it in ten years.

There are so many more things I want to say to you, but I am going to end with this one, possibly because its the most important:

Tell people how you feel: I don’t say (write) this with a dreary it-may-be-your-last-chance tone, I say it with a tearful smile. Knowing you have people in your life who care about you will bring more fulfillment than any trip, activity or amount of money. Knowing you are admired and cared for will bring you confidence. Knowing you are loved will increase your sense of self-worth. And knowing what people don’t like about you will keep you humble and striving. Give those you care about the same gift — tell them how you feel. It’s not easy for you and it’s going to be a long while before it gets easy, but keep trying, you’re worth it — and so are those you keep close.

Happy Birthday to Me! Thanks Rene Syler for offering such an inspiring column. I hope everyone takes the time to talk to themselves and give themselves a hand.

Oh, and one more thing Liz, write down everything… you’re going to need some good book fodder one day!

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Every year my birthday gets me down. I always spend weeks hyping it up, talking as if I’m a big deal, and then the day comes and my smile fades, tail stops wagging, and I shut the F up.

I have no idea why, but without fail, I fall silent at turning another year older…
Until 2010.

On Saturday I turned 28. Twenty-eight officially puts me in the late-20s range, one step closer to the what-is-supposed-to-be-dreaded number 30. Thing is, I’m kinda looking forward to 30. I’m not looking forward to aging for the obvious reasons of progressively more violent and intolerable hangovers, and slower response time and less agility when throwing myself down a mountain… but I’ll fight it… mind over matter, eh?

I’m looking forward to it because they say your 30s are the best years of your life. Who says this? You know, “they;” the collective undefined group we attribute claims to when we have no valid reason for stating whatever it is we are stating.

Well, I believe “they,” and for good reasons, too. 1) Actual people whose opinions I respect have supported this statement. 2) And my intuition says, “30. good!”

But hold on: I’m getting a bit ahead of myself here. This weekend was 28, and possibly one of the best birthdays I ever had. And again, for good reasons.

It kicked off with happy [six] hours. I once again collected those from all facets of my life that I hold near and dear to celebrate with me. The most difficult part of the night was trying to explain how everyone was connected.

Saturday I headed up to VT with the girls—JMay and Triple A.

Saturday Night: Vermont. Cherry Vodka. Brownies. Hot tub. ‘Nuff said.

(Side story to fit the NaBloPoMo theme of “strangers:” Sitting in the hot tub amidst piles of snow with drink in hand, I thanked SBing-CG for his hospitality and declared that the weekend was owning up be one of the best birthdays ever. At the time I was sitting in the hot tub with SBing-CG and two ppl who up until two hours earlier were essentially strangers. Yet, new people, new energy, all good. (And yes, since my book apparently isn’t writing itself, I’m NaBloPoMo’ing again to try to kickstart the habit.))

Sunday: Stratton. Snow. Snowboard. No more fractured bones. Good day.

Car ride home with JMay and Triple A… bringing us to up near 10 hours of road-trip QT time.

Being absolutely spoiled rotten by JMay and Triple A.

All in all, it was a great time, great weekend, fabulous company and top-choice activities. What more could a girl ask for…

Happy Birthday to me! 29 here I come!

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