I love birthdays. If there’s anything you should know about me, it’s that I love birthdays. I LOVE them – I don’t understand people who take them lightly. When you reach a milestone as big as living another year and getting to kickstart the next, you should celebrate. You deserve it – life isn’t always easy and it’s almost always too short – CELEBRATE!

Anyway, one of my favorite people is turning 31 this week (hey, Jen, heeeey!), so of course I had to see about her birthday plans – because contrary to popular belief, your birthday isn’t a day, it’s a week. I’ve known Jen for 11(ish) years, we are college roommates turned best friends and haven’t missed a beat. Despite the distance – she’s in Chicago and I’m in Omaha – we pretty much stay up-to-date on each other’s day-to-day. As we chatted about her birthday plans, I was genuinely curious which year she considered her best. Not surprisingly, she said it’s been this year – her 30th. Now that I have kids, I live vicariously through Jen, we used the be adventure buddies but now that my days of traveling on a whim are behind me, she’s been adventuring on her own. She’s specifically made traveling a priority this year – she went to Austin, London, Scotland, Arizona, Denver, Iowa City, Omaha and next week she leaves for Europe (rough, right?). She’s been living by the “treat yo’self” mantra and glitzing up the #thisis30 hashtag – and obviously, she’s killing it.

It's almost Jen's birthday!

Here Jen and I are in the first picture we ever took together – c., 2004. It was taken with a plastic “digital” camera (which explains the inability to actually see us) in the hallway of our dorm and we were clearly having the time of our lives in our hoodies.

So, then she asked what mine was. It’s tough to pinpoint. But I think it was 27.

At 27 I had just landed a great opportunity in Omaha after being completely unsatisfied in my career, moved out on my own after being in a totally absurd and unhealthy relationship and made new friends that I adored (and still do), as well as reunited with old friends. That year was full of firsts as I got to know the city, settled in at my job and experienced what it was to be independent again. It was full of laughs, friendships, family, adventures and a whole lot of whiskey – pretty much everything that matters.

I’d never be where I am now had I not taken a leap of faith that year. I’m so thankful I played those cards. It’s hard to say, though, how long 27 will top the list. I have a feeling a few years down the road when the boys are a bit older, one of these sleeper years that’s been a blur and feels overwhelmingly insignificant might actually sneak up on me – they’ve been a special sort of challenging and if I survive them with some sanity, they’re going to hold a really quaint spot in my heart.

Oh God, I can feel the tears forming…change of subject!

What’s been your best year?! Take some time to mull it over and give thanks – it’s healthy for you!

 

And before I go, let me dedicate a lil’ Lionel to all the birthday babes, especially you, Niffer!