November 4, 2008 was the best. birthday. ever. I turned 30 and had a great time doing it. I felt like the day was bursting at the seams with good things. I couldn’t have fought back my ear-to-ear grin even if I had tried.
My grandmother ushered in my big day by serenading me with “happy birthday” over the phone (a beloved but somewhat painful tradition in my truly tone-deaf family). This call came while I waited in line to vote for our next president (2+ hours!). The line moved slowly but I was so inspired to be standing alongside so many fellow citizens engaged in the political process and energized about the possibilities lying ahead that I rather enjoyed my time there. I felt like I was part of something bigger than myself, larger than the middle school auditorium where we cast our ballots, larger perhaps than the country itself.
At the office I was treated by my awesome colleagues to the most scrumptious birthday cake: coffee and chocolate ice cream cake from Gifford’s (a-mazing!). That gift would have been enough to make any birthday memorable. My boss also gave me homemade salty oat cookies (a shared love that started with the goodies sold at Teaism) and a beautifully handcrafted card decorated with a photo he had taken of a graveyard in New Orleans (I’m a sucker for dark humor).
When it was quittin’ time, I headed over to one of my favorite D.C. establishments to toast my 30th year. I was surrounded (literally, in a too-small booth) by a great group of friends—and 32 oz. beers and juicy burgers, of course.
And it was those lovely people that joined me and a bar full—or rather, a city full . . . a country full, really—of people eagerly awaiting the results of the most historic election of our lifetimes. Hearing Obama’s election night speech was the cherry on top of a truly fantastic day. When I fell asleep a short while later, the head on my pillow belonged to the happiest darn 30-year old in the world.
Nearly a decade ago I began my first job out of college at a nonprofit where I worked alongside a handful of fabulous late twenty- and thirty-something women. They seemed so comfortable in their own skins, so smart and witty, and a blast to be around. I was 21 at the time and a little freaked out about contributing to a retirement plan so early in my life. 30 seemed far away then. Even so, I recall feeling—quite often, actually—that if I was going to turn out to be anywhere near as happy and fulfilled as these women at that age, then I had a lot to look forward to. So here 30 is and I’m still friends with many of those ladies, who continue to serve as role models in my life. A lot has changed in the past 9 years and one of the biggest changes came about last night. I can’t wait to see what kinds of changes and new experiences the next decade of life will bring!