I think I have been looking forward to 30 since graduate school. I loved being young, hanging out with my friends, feeling youthful. However, that was a detriment when you are looking for respect and validation in a professional career. Also, as my life progresses, I feel really great about where I am. I am in love, have great friends and family, and am building a great company. So my adventure in 30 Before 30 was a combination of things I haven’t done, things I love to do, and things I probably shouldn’t do after 30 (emphasis on shouldn’t).
However, mid-way on my journey between the start of my list and my 30th birthday, my life derailed a bit. After my car accident this Summer, there were several factors that threatened my ability to keep checking off. Mainly, my health, my bank account, and my motivation. I am going to leave that for another post, because I feel that I should devote some time to owning it. But nevertheless, my birthday got closer and closer and my check-off percentage was well below failing.
I was sad but I was coming to an acceptance point that Life Happens and just because I didn’t complete these things by 30, does not mean that I won’t complete them. I know I will. But for the last week or so I had given up. My list did mean a lot to me, though. Each item represented me in some way and it was a bummer that I didn’t get to satisfy them. Chuck knew this (one of the many reasons why I love that man).
Anyway, my birthday is steadily approaching and I am feeling dread. I didn’t get my items checked off. I am not traveling the world like I would prefer to be, sipping my expensive bottle of wine in Napa (#29, maybe). I am suddenly feeling reluctant about this whole 30 thing. Maybe I’m not ready. Maybe my life isn’t where I want it to be. Maybe professional credibility is over rated.
Enter the birthday week (yes, we do birthday weeks around here). And I am feeling- Whatever. Ugh. But then the fun(ny) starts. You see, Chuck and I have birthdays 5 days apart. Usually, we just kind of celebrate both birthdays with friends, together. I did say that I wanted my own this year so felt that he, too, should have his own. I proceeded to plan some mild festivities at the house with friends that Thursday (his actual birthday). I also thought that it would be fitting to have some Happy Hour drinks on Friday. I wasn’t trying to throw some elaborate surprise party. I just thought that it would be fun to have a large group of Chuck’s friends sort of show up and join us wherever we went to. I emailed this to his business partner and a few other close friends, thinking, “Oh, this is nice. He’ll like this. Nothing too crazy but the opportunity to see all of his friends at his favorite bar.” Yeah, that’s not what happened. I get a response back from his business partner, telling me that it is a great idea and him and the guys went ahead and set it all up at Solas, a downtown night club (Chuck hates clubs). They had already started inviting people and it was going to be a great time. I wish someone was in the room with me when I read that email. I literally had a WTF look on my face. I was not happy. This is not what I had said or planned or wanted. I composed myself a bit, then composed an email to Jason, gently explaining these concerns. I then conceded to the idea of a Happy Hour at Solas for my fiance and continued to invite a few more friends.
The joke was on me. I knew there was something a bit fishy about the whole thing but as we opened the elevator to our rooftop party, there awaited friends and out of town guests all screaming and holding signs up for me. Insert tears. I was overwhelmed. Three people whom I love dear, Valerie, Misty, and Carin had traveled from out of town. Everyone was laughing and so excited that I thought that the party was for Chuck and threw a twist in it all at the last minute. We had drinks and snacks. I was glad I threw on a dress but really wish that I had brought a make-up refresher. I was gushing. The coolest part (other than 90% of my favorite people in one room) was that Chuck had blown up my list and had gotten people to start signing up for items. It was so incredible.
I got Valerie coaching me on my 8 minute mile. Cynthia assisting with creating prayer space. Joe offering to buy me Atlas Shrugged and me vetoing it because I am on page 983 of Gone with the Wind which is torturous enough. There is Brooke hooking me up with new stationary. Chris and Sara offering a fabulous bottle of wine. Gillie says she is all over the new shoes. Mike and Melissa are ready for a baby break and to hit the amusement park. Lauren, (once she stopped making fun of me for calling it “the splits”) will be keeping me accountable to knock that one out. A guy that I just met that night, Jason said that he was going to hook me up to the back of his boat and practice wake surfing. Carin will be my day drinking buddy. Chuck generously offered to make out with me. The girls assured a night of dancing. Everyone promised that a tree would get climbed.
By the end of the night, we had crossed off #2, #6, and #17. And it was one of the most fun nights I have had in years. I laughed. I cried. I danced. I kissed. And I didn’t really care that my makeup was gone and smeared. I didn’t care who was watching. I didn’t care who was there or wasn’t there (although some people were missed). I didn’t care if I was judged by 20-somethings or work colleagues. I was me. I was proud. I was confident. A list is fantastic. But having amazing people by your side, helping you, supporting you, challenging, you, loving you… now that is what life is all about.
On my actual birthday, I had gotten many “Welcome to the Club” wishes, bragging about how great the 30’s are.
BEST. CLUB. EVER.