a small reflection & a small request [on my 23rd birthday.]

guys.

GUYS.

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It’s true. Today marks my 23rd year, and I don’t even care if that sounds old OR young to you.

I just know I’m too old to sing that Taylor Swift song (honey badger don’t care), and too young to be a real person. That’s what I keep telling myself, anyway.

On this day last year, my room mate and I woke up earrrly for breakfast. Because French toast is totally a must for birthdays. I remembered a few days ago that she asked me what I was most excited about in my twenty-second year.

I couldn’t answer her. I held back tears in the middle of IHOP and it wasn’t because I finally learned what goes into their omelets. [[spoiler for my gfree friends– it’s pancake batter.]]

I had just graduated college, which didn’t even feel like much of an accomplishment because WHATWASIDOINGWITHMYLIFE. Never mind that a good chunk of friends who graduated with me also were a little lost at sea. [sometimes you only see yourself.] And I also had no idea where I was going to go from there. I had a vague sense that I wanted to keep going to school (BECAUSE I AM CRAZY), but the place I wanted to go to seemed a. out of my league and b. totally impractical because what do you even do with a theology degree? ESPECIALLY AS A LADY? [truth be told, I still feel this way most of the time. but I’m cool with it.]

I was just learning how to be a person, and I didn’t know who I was without a class schedule in one hand and a syllabus in the other. Lost.

I cried a lot that summer.

Don’t worry. This story has a happy ending, as much as there is an ending.

22 was probably the year I learned the most about myself and real life, and as crazy and ridiculous and at times downright depressing and lonely as it was, it was one of the greatest gifts.

That’s right. I was happy, free, confused and lonely at the same time. It was miserable and magical oh yeah.

I (kinda) learned how to dress myself like a grownup. I lived in my first apartment. I started wearing lipstick. I learned the freedom of making my own schedule. I got sassier (so my friends tell me). I avoided a lot of questions about my love life, and got a little better at explaining why they bother me. I started to use more swears (jury’s out on that one). I decided that even if my plans didn’t work out, it would be OK. And I was accepted to Duke Divinity after all [PLEASE do not read that as a cause-and-effect statement]. I worked at keeping friends, after four years of learning how to make friends. And I also made friends on the interwebs, which is different but pretty dern great. I joined a ragtag lovey-dovey peace-passing sacramental stonecold pack of weirdos [called Episcopalians], and I’m so proud.

I decided I’m on the road to being comfortable in my own skin. Which is, I think, a big part of this whole grownup thing.

[[also, when did this become a Thought Catalog article? whatevs.]]

anyway.

22 was pretty slammin’.

Cheers to 23.

….

…..

BUT WAIT I WANT A PRESENT.

listen. this is a little blog. especially compared to a bunch of the cool kids I talk to.

[[when people say they’ve ‘read my blog,’ Robin Williams shows up in my head and says “oh, so you’re the one.”]]

BUT I also know that there is a contingent of readers I don’t interact with on a regular basis, or like ever.

so basically, I’m just asking you to say “hello.”
if you’re new here or not, if I know you or not, basically, if you’re reading this, drop in the comments and answer a few questions (I really want to know!):

Tell me:

  1. Your name. {mine’s at the top of this page}
  2. Where you’re from. {me: split between Waco/Dallas/NM.}
  3. Your happiness-in-a-pinch fix. {me: a small bunch of flowers, a walk by the river, an episode of 30rock. for real.}
  4. A moment/memory of becoming yourself. {me: that first swipe of fushia lipstick, that night I left the cool kids’ party. because I’m cool enough, thanks.}
  5. What you are looking forward to most in the next year? {me: geeking out at Div School, being surprised by life all over again this time next year.}

so, your turn. I want to know you a little.

[[if you must give me a present, link me a great gif. too lazy to make a gif/gift pun right now.]]

if you do, I’ll be all like,

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and

https://i2.wp.com/media.tumblr.com/cfd49dd579c85cc60f482fb299f36835/tumblr_inline_mm5isksl0N1rbnfwj.gif

it’s almost as good as giving me cookies:

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I’ll high-five you, but because internet, it’ll be like this:

https://i1.wp.com/24.media.tumblr.com/e2bc5115ad1c3711d301bd2c032c9f09/tumblr_mo1fhrvLTN1s2mzr3o1_500.gif

Looking forward to it as I eat lots of cake.

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85 thoughts on “a small reflection & a small request [on my 23rd birthday.]

  1. Your name. Jackie Lea Sommers
    Where you’re from. Kimball/Minneapolis, MN
    Your happiness-in-a-pinch fix. Barnes & Noble giftcard.
    A moment/memory of becoming yourself. When I finally realized I don’t HAVE TO listen to EVERY piece of writing advice.
    What you are looking forward to most in the next year? Starting to query agents and start grad school (MFA in Children’s and YA Writing at Vermont College of Fine Arts!).

  2. . Mikayla Dreyer
    . Kansas. I live in Columbia Missouri, for the time being
    . A nap with my cat , and yes, I know how pathetic that sounds 🙂
    . When I realized that I get to decide what certain convictions mean for me, even if others aren’t in agreement. This is too complicated for a short answer 🙂
    . I turned 22 in February and am very, very lost at sea. This year, all I’m hoping for is to see land ahead. Somewhere.

    HAPPIEST of birthdays!

    • Naps with pets are the best, even if it must be a cat 😛 I’m convinced pets can be an image of uncommon unconditional Love. I know that lost at sea feeling even now, dear. Prayers for your shore-sighting, and may your mast be strong and sails be full until you get there.

      And thank you for the birthday wishes 🙂

  3. HaPpY bIrThDaY!
    *My name is Chrissy, I live in Missouri. I follow you on Twitter 🙂
    *Happiness = coffee and a book
    *Becoming myself…the first memory that rose to the surface involves a microphone and a worship song!
    *This year may involve a huge change for me, professionally. I’m still moving through the stages of grief regarding this possible identity loss. What am I looking forward to? The fact that God is already there, in that space that is my future. 🙂

  4. Happy birthday! 🙂
    Kansas City, MO
    An episode of The Office (it’s my comfort food)
    Realizing that a lot of my 29 year old friends are still adrift at sea, like I felt!
    Being content with what I’m doing.

  5. Happy birthday Antonia! My name is Amy and I’m from Pellston Michigan (originally), Milwaukee and Ann Arbor (educationally), and Minneapolis (currently). My happiness fixes include Gchats with friends, fresh cut flowers, and wearing sparkly metallic shoes 🙂 In the next year I am looking forward to learning to play guitar (my first class was last week!) Best wishes for many more wonderful birthdays!

  6. Happy birthday! I’m a lurker. I can’t even remember how I got here, but you’re in my Google Reader. I’m trying to be better about commenting, so this is timely.

    Your name. Sarah
    Where you’re from. Columbus-ish, Ohio
    Your happiness-in-a-pinch fix. Coffee! Walking the dog. Driving around with the windows down and the stereo too loud.
    A moment/memory of becoming yourself. This is such a good question that I’ve agonized over it for too long. One that stands out is a conversation with my driver’s ed instructor about how being raised in a Christian home leads to a weird and unhealthy level of “niceness” and need to please people. I’m not actually sure if I even remember the conversation accurately this many years later but it started what is still a continual process of navigating the difference between being nice and being kind.
    What you are looking forward to most in the next year? Beginning foster care licensing classes, finally getting my house unpacked (ha).

    • What a process of discovery! I wish more people realized that niceness is not itself a virtue. It sounds like you have exciting new beginnings! Congratulations, though there is work ahead!

  7. Your name: Stephanie (Stevey for short)
    Where you’re from: Watford, UK
    Your happiness-in-a-pinch fix: double-shot soya latte/dark chocolate with sea salt
    A moment/memory of becoming yourself: The moment my tattoo had been stencilled on my arm, just before the needle and ink got involved.
    What you are looking forward to most in the next year? Applying for a BSc in midwifery. It feels like I’ve found a direction.

    Happy Birthday, love! This is an excellent idea for a present.

    Love from a long-time lurker xx
    (I’d link you to a gif, but I don’t really understand them…)

  8. Happy Birthday! I am a long-time lurker, and now is probably a good time to comment. I really enjoy your posts =] My name is Margaret, but my friends call me Maggie. I’m originally from Kentucky, but I have been moving back and forth between Sweden and Ohio for the past few years. My happiness-in-a-pinch fix is being outside (especially if it’s a really sunny day). A moment or memory of becoming myself would have to be the first time I ran a 5k. My mind was pretty much blown that I could actually do that. In the next year, I am looking forward to spending time with the kids I mentor and learning how to cook!

    • Hello, Maggie! thank you for your kind words. sounds like quite the exercise to be stretched across the ocean like that! here’s to delicious dishes and wonderful relationships for you this next year!

  9. Happy Birthday!!
    My name is Jenn or Jennifer but not Jenny
    Where you’re from. always have been in Vancouver, Canada
    Your happiness-in-a-pinch fix: Sara Bareilles’ Brave and fresh flowers as well – but in the middle of papers it is normally a meal I don’t have to cook myself or being super woman and cooking a week’s worth of meals so I’m not living on weird GF stuff
    A moment/memory of becoming yourself: Ending my engagement (5 years ago) – which was the first step in a massive snow ball of decisions.
    What you are looking forward to most in the next year? I wish I could say school – I love it but I know it’s going to be good, beyond that a trip to Florida and who knows – I’m learning to hold the future loosely

  10. Happy Birthday! This is the first post I have read on your blog and you already seem like a really interesting person 🙂 Thanks for the heads up with the omelets at IHOP. My name is Joanne. I’m originally from Saginaw, Michigan but I now live in Cincinnati, Ohio. My happiness-in-a-pinch fix would have to be fresh flowers and music playing on my record player. I don’t have one specific memory or moment of becoming myself but since I moved to Cincy in December, I have grown tremendously in my relationship with Christ which in turn has helped me discover myself. What you are looking forward to the most in the next year? I start school at Cincinnati Christian University, It’s my 4th college but I’m more excited about going to school here than I was about any of the previous schools.

  11. Hi I’m Bethany Grace Suckrow and I live in Chicago. You and I tend to bump into each other on twitter every so often, particularly when we realize we both like the same movies. 🙂
    My happiness-in-a-pinch fix is a DIY mani-pedi, a giant glass of pinot noir and a bowl of homemade spicy thai, and a funny movie. If I had to choose which movie, it would be: It’s Complicated, When Harry Met Sally, The Family Stone, Your Sister’s Sister, or Away We Go.
    A memory of becoming myself… during my semester abroad in Salzburg, I would take a walk alone to the top of the Monchsberg (large park at the top of a mountain that can be reached by elevator) and sit there and write and pray. It’s how I learned to be independent. It’s how I learned to survive. It’s still my favorite place on earth.
    The thing I look forward to in the next year is finishing my book. I’m about to submit a final draft of my proposal for the first time, and I’m excited slash terrified.

    Happiest birthday, friend. And CONGRATS on getting into Duke Divinity. I have friends there. I’ll tell them to keep an eye out for a girl with fabulous fuchsia lips. 😉

    • Bethany! hello! so glad to see you ‘here.’ 🙂 those happy things combined sound like a near-perfect evening, and now I’m craving thai like mad. I think learning how to be alone with myself would be another one of those defining things–especially for this crazy extrovert. Thank you so much for the birthday wishes and congratulations! every prayer and hope and good wish for your book proposal– I am so thrilled about it. bring on the DDiv connections, haha.

  12. Your name: Jswog (formerly jbidd). (You are my kiddo, an also my baby Dino, and also auntie Dino).
    Where you’re from: I am from all the places and none of the places. I am from whatever place my heart longs to return to at the end of a long day. I am from wherever my husband and puppy are sprawled out waiting to greet me with kisses.
    Your happiness-in-a-pinch fix: Chocolate, climbing something, or going outside. I’m also a sucker for puppy kisses and little babies.
    A moment/memory of becoming yourself: The moment I told someone yes I was qualified and capable and took the initiative to make myself promotable. Oh boy, what a big step into adulthood. Into real life. Into assertiveness and capability.
    What you are looking forward to most in the next year? Easy, my baby girl. I can’t wait to meet this little person and welcome her into our tiny family, a precise mix of me and Colten. How nuts is that?

    Happy birthday, kiddo. You are beautiful and pretty much one of my favorite people ever.

  13. 1. Brenda
    2. From Austin, TX, currently residing in sunny SoCal for Bible school, in limbo about where to go next.
    3. A good long run in the early morning followed by a big omelette with a good friend. Followed by a nap.
    4. Spending the last few months applying for real jobs, realizing I’m a big girl with a resume and salary requirements now.
    5. Looking forward to the transition from Bible school to working life, hopefully falling in love.

  14. My name’s Emily Wilson! I’m from the Philadelphia area but am living in the North Shore in MA. My happiness-in-a-pinch fix is a bag of peach rings, a walk on the beach, and a handwritten letter. Last year I chopped off 13 inches of my hair and stopped acting like the girl a expected people I wanted me to be. I’m so excited to complete my first full year at Gordon College and as a Biblical Studies student! I transferred here in the January, so I’m pumped to experience this place in Autumn.

    Happy birthday 🙂 I hope you are blessed with the happiest of days!

  15. Happy Birthday, lovely lady! Also, can I just add that it’s so fun reading all of the above comments and seeing just how far afield (England!!! Eeee!!!) people are recognizing your awesomeness, because I know it and love it IRL, and I think everyone everywhere should, as well. That is all.

    Your name. {jennifer, and as with your reader above, often jenn, rarely/never jenny}
    Where you’re from. {oklahoma city/dfw/oxford (can i still claim it? idk, but i’m gonna)}
    Your happiness-in-a-pinch fix. {a cup of coffee or a glass of wine; watching godspell; a lengthy phone call with a good friend (if plato or aquinas quotes are involved, so much the better)}
    A moment/memory of becoming yourself. {standing in front of the rosetta stone, realising i MUST work in museums}
    What you are looking forward to most in the next year? {after ‘making a life’ in okc, learning how to live it}

    • JENNNNNNN. [[the geography of these comments baffle me. so fun!]]
      I laughed outright at your godspell; it’s one of my favorite facts about you! and I love that–after “making a life,” learning how to live it. I’ll be thinking on that. love you, sweet one. (and thanks for the birthday wishes!)

  16. Yay, Happy Birthday, Antonia!

    1. Katie
    2. NC by way of Waco/Ft. Worth/New Orleans
    3. coffee, coffee, coffee.
    4. when my childhood BF and I laughed at different parts of the show. and I laughed with my husband instead.
    5. becoming more of myself through my grad degree! and a new job {teaching teachers}

    Please…Keep up the perfect space your blog fills… And please, let’s find each other for coffee + Baylor connections at Duke in the fall… Enjoy your summer!

  17. Hey, happy birthday! I’m Mercy. I’m a Londoner, just about to graduate from Cambridge, and heading to a (very) small town in the middle of Sussex for my next step… Happiness in a pinch comes in the form of a scoop of fresh ground coffee, a cafetiere, and more than thirty seconds in which to drink the result! A moment of becoming myself? The first time I left a party early because I simply wanted time on my own, rather than staying in case people thought I was lame.
    What am I looking forward to most in the next year? The baby steps of being an adult. Except I’ve definitely been given a pair of grown up shoes to walk in, not nice squishy toddler ones. But then, those always the most fun dress up sessions as a kid, so this’ll be fun!

  18. 1. Anna Gravier
    2. That’s quite the existential question for me! Short answer is I was born in Michigan and am about to move to DC from North Carolina. I’ve also spent some time living in Ohio, Georgia, Florida and West Virgina.
    3. Flowers from WholeFoods are my go-to pick me up along with baking anything chocolate.
    4. I’ve spent far too long pondering this, but probably watching a C-section for the first time and knowing that no matter what kind of doctor I become, watching new life come into the world will always be something special and sacred.
    5. Moving to DC, starting med school and making new friends (eek!)
    Happy Birthday, friend (who is not imaginary!) Hope to see you in Durham sometime.

    • Anna!! thanks for the kind birthday wishes. I’M REAL I PROMISE. 🙂 I am so excited for your next steps, friend! so thrilled to see where you journey in the upcoming years.

  19. THIS IS MY FAVORITE KIND OF BLOG POST! I spent hours on those myspace questionnaires back in the day.

    1. E to the May
    2. Portlandia
    3. Being alone, 30 Rock (totes), buying myself take out for dinner AGAIN because I’m a real adult with a real job instead of a Pinterest Board, and and let’s get real real: a tall cold Omission beer. I also recently discovered that New Seasons sells cheese ends and bits from some of their super fancy cheeses, so you could buy like, a $2, three bites bit of super fancy cheese that you could never buy more of. So yeah, I’m trying fancy cheeses, 97 cents at a time.
    4. I remember the first time I bought a sweater full price at gap. It’s gray and soft and I loved it. I told myself I should come back in 2 weeks when it would be on sale, that I would be a stupid chump if I bought the sweater, go on a spender bender, and end up living in a van down by the river. I bought the sweater. I still love it, because it reminds me that I can take responsibility my own decisions, that I’m worth nice stuff, and because it sure is cold down here in the van by the river!
    5. This year I’m freaking out excited about starting grad school. I’m expecting good things and more growing like crazy. And I’m excited about more G+ chats with you, yes? Let’s talk about boys.

    • CHEESE IS MY LOVE LANGUAGE. and I love that Gap story– it reminds me of buying my first grownup wallet that cost more than like $15. I’m so excited for this next year for you!! I feel like it’ll be a big one. and yes, yes, a thousand times yes to G+ chats with you. oMg BoYzZ.

  20. I. Connor Park
    II. COMPLICATED ANSWER: northern Indiana, by way of Newport News, Virginia; Chicago, Oklahoma, the Rocky Mountains, and the Shire. ( Yes, I can come from fictional places as well as from real ones!)
    III. Baking! Coffee. SLAM POETRY. Broadway Cast Recordings. A Wrinkle in Time. Sad folk music. Happy dance music. Parks & Rec. The Princess Diaries, Ratatouille, going new places. And of course, alcohol in good company.
    IV. Public library poetry slam in Virginia when I was still a baby, more or less. Realised that day that even though I had no idea what I was doing, I would do it again, because I am a writer and a performer.
    V. Writing more, baking more, praying more, making Eucharist, making a place of my own, discovering my whole self.

    • love everything about this. especially the tequila.

      even though you said nothing about tequila. 😉

      I thought about you a bit as I was wrapping up that “what I learned” paragraph above. you are on the brink of thrilling and terrifying things. it will be so good; you will learn yourself like never before. know you are kept in prayer, friend, especially this year.

  21. 1. Meagan (and it’s my birthday today, too!)
    2. I am from Houston, TX but I went to college in Greenville, SC so I like to claim there as well
    3. Yellow flowers, Rainy Days, Warm Coffee. Preferably all together.
    4. Leaving my “safe job” to go work at a tiny church plant.
    5. I got married just less than a month ago to the sweetest non-profit-working-guitar-playing-jesus-loving man that I know so I am excited about about our first year of marriage.

    I have been a huge fan of yours ever since reading once of your pieces published on Prodigal Magazine that touched something in me. Cheers to sharing a birthday!

  22. 1. Abby Norman
    2. I live in Atlanta Georgia and I LOVE it. I don’t understand why everyone doesn’t live here.
    3. Putting on lipstick, dancing it out in my living room, going somewhere and buying myself a bakery treat, chanmpagne just because and yummy cheese.
    4. Freshmen year of high school, watching people who were totally kicking my ass preform at a speech tournament and thinking, “I know I am getting my ass-kicked, but I could be that good, I could make a judge cry.”
    5. I am trying to get a book published about inner-city teaching and education in America, WE ARE DOING IT WRONG! (ahem, I am a shouter). It is totally exciting and also totally sucks.

    • SHOUTING, lipstick and “champagne just-because” — you are my kinda girl! and THREE CHEERS FOR BOOKS ABOUT EDUCATION. (my grandmother and parents are all teachers. I feel ya.) fun to see you here, Abby!

  23. Your name: Sara

    Where you’re from: Eastern NC

    Your happiness-in-a-pinch fix: Spending time cuddling & playing with my gorgeous bunny rabbit, Cinnamon. And chocolate

    A moment/memory of becoming yourself: Around August/September of last year when I began realizing that the things I’ve been taught my whole life in church aren’t how I, personally, have to live my life. And by not living my life by them, that doesn’t mean I’m not in love with Jesus….(but, of course, I’m still learning and figuring out myself in this sense too)

    What you are looking forward to most in the next year? Finishing paying off some pesky credit card bills so that I can save up for a home and hopefully purchase one!!!!!!!!!
    Happy Birthday!!

  24. Happy birthday!

    My name is Marie and I just started following your blog last night. So talk about timing. 🙂 I live in Northern Idaho, about 2.5 hours south of the Canadian border. Chocolate always makes me happy, as does snuggles with my dogs and quiet chats with my husband. And 30 Rock! I did not begin the journey of becoming myself until about a year-and-half ago, but one thing that sticks out is discovering that I don’t have to answer every text message as soon as it comes in. And what am I looking forward to? The everyday-ness. Lattes. Pruning my roses. Good books. The little blessings that remind me that Jesus is smiling.

  25. Happy birthday, lovely lady! May this year be one of adventure and blessings and the presence of God.

    Your name. Tanya Marlow
    Where you’re from. Devon, UK
    Your happiness-in-a-pinch fix. Chocolate brownie and fresh strawberries.
    A moment/memory of becoming yourself. Interesting question. I feel like I’ve always been myself, and yet I also feel like I am continually becoming, shifting, adapting. I think sometimes I have had realisation moments not at the ‘first times’ of doing somehting, but the second, third or fourth time. Like, the first time I gave a talk I was too stressed out about it. At some point, maybe giving a lecture on Ezekiel after which the whole class spontaneously applauded, and I was delighted and trying not to let it show on my face – maybe it was that point when I realised “I’m really good at this. I love it and I’m good at it.” That wasn’t the becoming, that was the realising of the becoming. (Love this question!)
    What you are looking forward to most in the next year? I used to plan all the time, but now I am too ill to plan. (I say that, but I still do it.) I hope to write a book this year and publish it in January. But I am most looking forward to going on holiday in a few weeks’ time. 🙂

    • oh thank you, dear Tanya. I actually wish I could have phrased the that fourth question in the way you answered it– because that “realising of the becoming” is actually my favorite. when you look around and say, “hey, this place is beautiful, I didn’t even realize I had walked this far.” love. I hope you have just the best holiday! and thank you for the birthday wishes!

  26. 1. Name: Cameron 🙂
    2. I call lots of places home. Austin/Waco/San Antonio/Ohio/everywhere else
    3. Happiness-in-a-pinch: quality time with a friend, going to the movies, and sunshine.
    4. Moment of becoming yourself: Traveling on a train in Europe in March and realizing that a relationship with God means freedom, fun and life. Not religion, expectation or a list of do’s and don’ts.
    5. What you are looking forward to most in the next year? Discovering what comes next for me in the weird city of Austin, TX. And what comes after my VISTA term is up in April.

  27. Happy birthday, friend!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! I totally thought 23 was a joke when I read the type because it does not seem possible that you are an entire decade younger than me. And yet you are and you’re amazing!

    1. Leigh Kramer
    2. I’m from the Chicago suburbs but have called Nashville, TN home for the past 3 years. (I feel ridiculous typing out the answers to things you already know but I’m not going to argue with the birthday girl!)
    3. A mug of Irish Breakfast tea if it’s the morning or a glass of red wine if it’s the evening. A good book or a romantic comedy. Baking or cooking. And strangely, angry rock music.
    4. Oh, gosh. I don’t even know where to begin. I’ll save that for August.
    5. Given I hardly know anything beyond the next few months, I’ll say spending time with kindred spirits, thanks to a couple of trips I have planned.

    • LEIGH YOU ARE IN YOUR JESUS YEAR. like you haven’t heard that already. thanks for the birthday wishes and your sweet words, friend. can’t wait to visit you! I believe you have the angry rock in there. I think we should talk these questions with some wine between us soon. love!

  28. Love this! I just started reading your blog/Twitter about a week ago so this is fun.

    Name:/b> Laura Young
    Place: My heart is scattered across Montgomery County, MD, Kansas City, KS, and a small town north of Pittsburgh, PA. But I am slowly growing attached to Virginia, where I recently moved.
    Happiness: Driving with windows open. Tulips. Making something (sewing, baking, anything). Mojitos. Gilmore Girls.
    Moment: Two in recent memory: Went from curly hair past my shoulder-blades to a pixie in one impulsive afternoon, and consequently spent the next couple months learning to love every bit of my face. And, more significantly, realizing that the only thing keeping me from becoming a confirmed Anglican was a fear of declaring a place & planting roots. By the grace and gentle love of God, I was confirmed this spring too.
    Anticipation: Getting an apartment & creating my own little space. Making a trip to York, England to visit one of my besties in grad school. Also, because I’ve just graduated, taking some time off from school to focus on personal goals. This list includes Very Important Things like finishing the Harry Potter series.

    Happy birthday! I hope your day is full of this and that at the end of the day you feel like this!

    • Welcome, Laura! and THANK YOU FOR MY GIFS. 🙂
      and oh MAN. I feel like I could have written all those answers! everything from mojitos and gilmore girls to fear of confirmation/roots to taking that year off. yup. if you ever find yourself just a little south in Durham next year, hit me up!

      and make sure to block out whole days to read Harry Potter. DAYS.

      • I would love that! my younger sister goes to school in Richmond, which I think is just a couple hours north? anyway, same to you if you find yourself in DC 🙂

        oh and when I read Harry Potter, it’s never a couple pages at a time. it’s an Event.

  29. Happy Birthday!

    1. Bethany
    2. Home base is NY. Home seems to be a myriad of places
    3. Cupcakes. Baking them, eating them, either one. Flowers. The Office.
    4. When I started writing again after years and it felt like I had a voice of my own.
    5. Starting a new school program, living in a new place, having no clue what comes next.

  30. I’m Kate, a lurker/reader from Idaho/Oregon.
    Quick happiness: Watching Arrested Development; drinking cheap wine; singing badly to my very fluffy, very skeptical cat.
    Becoming myself: That first college essay, learning I had a voice and permission to use it.
    This year: Speaking my dreams, figuring out where in the world I’ll be living in six months.

  31. 1. Rachel Quednau
    2. Minneapolis, MN (but Washington DC is a second home)
    3. Episode of 30 rock for me too! Seriously that’s what I do when I’m in the depths of sadness. That or bake/eat a delicious dessert.
    4. Living in DC last year, standing on the corner in my business clothes and waiting for the bus to work, realizing how utterly confident and ready I felt in that place.
    5. Excited to move to New York City and spend a year with the Episcopal Service Corps and working for Episcopal Charities

  32. Happy (belated – to keep the magic alive) birthday!

    Your name. Suzanne
    Where you’re from. Denton! I’m just north of you.
    Your happiness-in-a-pinch fix. spontaneous brunch with friends or (if no one’s available) filling my house with the smell of baking bread and coffee
    A moment/memory of becoming yourself. One of my early-30s birthdays. I spent the afternoon buying my first painting and hanging it on the wall in my apartment then rewarding myself with wine and lazy reading on the porch. It’s the first time I remember ever being really happy being alone. It was empowering.
    What you are looking forward to most in the next year? Does the construction near my apartment being finished count? Because that would be grand. I am also looking forward to my 20th high school reunion coming up in July. That should be interesting.

    • hello Suzanne! I actually spent most of my life in Carrollton/Plano/Garland, so I totally know Denton! you guys have some good coffee shops up there. and that used book shop!! Brunch. is. my. favorite. and I love that birthday memory. beautiful. peace to you!

  33. So hi and happy (belated) birthday! I’m a bit of an irregular commenter (here and everywhere) but a regular reader. You inspire me to be more bold with my lipstick choices. And other things 🙂
    I’m in Luxembourg currently. Happy is a spontaneous solo dance party in the kitchen. The moment I began to own the fact I am GOOD at public speaking felt like a huge step back into my own skin (it seemed like it was uncool to say you liked/were good at that). And this year? Well I’m meeting a life coach at the moment and enjoying this process of filtering out all the “shoulds” in my life and focusing on what I love to do and am gifted to do. I’m looking some much needed joy back into my life.

    • hello, dear fiona! (I’m like you– I read all the things and never comment. I have no idea what to do with myself.) I love solo dance parties, but they always take place in my car, aka my music listening booth. excited to know more about the life-coaching process–sounds freeing! thank you for the birthday wishes 🙂

  34. Hi, my name is Genesis, I’m from Miami or as I like to call it- deep in the heart of Florida. ( that would be Orlando since is the center but I’m kinda poetic haha)

    I’ve been reading your blog for years now and my answer to # 3 would be the ocean. It brings me peace and joy.

    #4- the moment I started seeing a therapist- it literally changed my life and perception.

    #-5 probably my next vacation, which could be anywhere from Barcelona to Israel. Somewhere not in America lol

    • hello, Genesis! thanks for dropping in here! I have been talking with a number of people about their therapy experiences– it is so good and hopeful to hear people share how freeing/helpful that has been. grace, peace, and plane tickets to you 🙂

  35. .Hännah [insert current last name here!]
    .SF, Ca; Visalia, Ca; Richmond, Va; Grove City, Pa; Washington, DC.
    .Gardening, napping, cooking, Doctor Who, beer & cheezits [or cheese. or cheese sticks.]
    The rush of getting told by my grandma that I was a good writer; later the same from a professor.
    Applying to grad schools, and clearing my head and starting fresh.

    • hey there, Hännah! I want to learn more about gardening! I did it with family as a kid, but not for years.that kind of professor-praise is a rush and terrifying at the same time (at least for me!) here’s to fresh starts and newness of life. peace, friend.

  36. So, I don’t usually comment, and it’s not even your birthday anymore (but who’s counting?), but you’re so fun on Twitter, I just had to give this a shot.

    1) My name is Joanna. My friends call me Jo; my family calls me Nana; and my nieces and nephews call me Boo.
    2) Nashville, TN
    3) New lipgloss, a good break-up song (so basically anything by Taylor Swift), and dancing.
    4) When I realized I love making my own decisions, and I won’t let anyone take that away from me.
    5) Gosh, the next year. Well, probably learning so much more about editing (aka my job) and myself (cheesy, yes, but true nonetheless).

  37. Happy birthday! I’ve been a reader here for a while, but never have commented.
    Your name: Bethany
    Where you’re from: Minnesota, though I’ve moved cross-country a few times since college, and lost my accent somewhere along the way
    Your happiness-in-a-pinch fix: Lately, the movie Pitch Perfect. Or baking cookies for others–though I like cookies myself, it’s so much more fun to give them away, and see people smile because of something I made.
    A moment/memory of becoming yourself: Every time I wander a new city by myself, I feel as if I become more me.
    What you are looking forward to most in the next year? I start grad school next month, which is exciting and terrifying and exhausting to even think about. I’m excited to dig deep into my field of study.

  38. Pingback: what I’m into, June. | stuff antonia says.

  39. Your name: Kasey.

    Where you’re from:{i’m from Colorado Springs, CO. but my heart is split between Birmingham, Alabama and Orange Country, CA.}

    Your happiness-in-a-pinch fix: {sunsets. mountains. cupcakes. an episode of Psych. buying school supplies. writing. the smell of new books. preaching…nothing i love more than writing a God-inspired message and communicating Truth. holding a sleeping baby.}

    A moment/memory of becoming yourself: {the time i was forced to repel off of a 180 foot cliff and realized i didn’t have to live a life defined my fear anymore. i encountered the real presence of Jesus hanging off of that cliff.}

    What you are looking forward to most in the next year? {working at a coffee shop and getting to know and love people through cups of coffee and frappaccinos. finishing my associate’s degree in English. Hillsong Conference in LA in October. moving to California in exactly one year to chase my dream of being in full time ministry at my dream church.}

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