This past weekend, I turned 31 years old in the way that I am now accustomed to – with little fanfare, a bit of reflection, and too much ruminating about all the things I could not accomplish since my last anniversary of birth.
I know that the societal expectation for birthday celebrations is to have some raucous soiree where I throw up between 2 vehicles on Market Street. Having done that on my 29th birthday and ending up with the acid reflexivity of an old Asian grandmother, my birthdays have transitioned into a quieter affair – heavy on the thinking, light on the festive puking.
I’m not sure what it is about birthdays that send my brain into a checklist manifesto of the broken promises I made to myself – all the incomplete pieces of writing, missed deadlines, an imbalance of work relative to hanging out with family and friends.
I don’t know what it is, but here’s my attempt to balance the narrative with moments of gratification – a reminder that although things don’t always as planned, there’s always some unexpected joy along the way.
So here’s 14 things – cool things, weird things, random things – that are bringing me joy on this 31st year of life:
- I chose “14 things” because 31 could be 3×1, which, if you change to 3+1, equates to 4. 4 is the equivalent of 1×4, which could be written as (1)(4). If you remove the parentheses, this is 14. Thus, I chose 14 because it’s my blog and I’m too old and tired to write 31 things and you’re too busy and prone to boredom to read 31 things.
- I’m 31 years old and yet almost all my Pandora stations somehow turn into Pitbull stations.
- I’m 31 years old and when I see a trampoline, I’m going to fucking jump on it…as gracefully as a 31 year old would:
- In my adolescence, I always thought that my adulthood birthday gifts would become more refined over time – you know, Swarovski crystals, Celine Dion perfume, really tiny silver forks to eat with tiny finger foods or whatever else I believed sophisticated white people got for their birthdays. Instead, my 31st birthday gifts were BETTER including:
- A donut shaped, travel-sized portable fog machine.
- A plastic goat that screams like this when you push it.
- Abraham Lincoln Bandages (“I will heal your wound as I healed a nation.”)
- GIF(TS) featuring otters playing basketball:
- Instead of reading things like Camus or Dostoyvesky (or whatever else 31-year-old people read), I have revisited my love for the Ann M. Martin Series The Babysitter’s Club because why the hell not? As a kid, I was absolutely smitten with the character of Dawn – a staunch environmentalist from California who doesn’t eat junk food and is kind of obnoxious about sustainable culture and…
- …OMFG, I’M MARRYING DAWN IN REAL LIFE.
- Speaking of sustainable living, check out my dog in a sweater that my mom made out of her old leg warmer.
- In reference to my mom, I found it beautifully coincidental and poetic that construction on her hurricane damaged home began on her birthday in December and ended near my birthday in January.
- Sometimes it takes difficult circumstances to remind me of how lucky I am to be surrounded by friends and family who contributed to our rebuild efforts – through financial contributions, countless hours of labor, and so much emotional support.
- During Hurricane Harvey, I lost almost all of my books, photos, and physical manifestations of childhood, high school, and college memories. As an exceptionally nostalgic person, it’s still devastating to think about this. Luckily, just two months prior to the hurricane, I went home and felt compelled to bring some of my favorite items from childhood back to San Francisco – fatefully salvaging some of my memories that are still important to me at the age of 31 (like my bomb ass 6 year old bangs):
- I saw this brilliant drawing by the 9-year-old child of a family friend and thought, “THAT’S ME.”
- On my birthday in 2018, I had a chance to watch the movie I, Tonya, and relive Tonya’s moment of glory – being the first American figure skater to land a triple axel in competition. But, really, the point of me telling this story is to tell you that Kristi Yamaguchi is still a stone cold fox.
- Kristi Yamaguchi lives in the Bay Area. This means I still have a chance, right?
- 31 is 3×1, which, if you change to 3+1, equates to 4, which is the equivalent of 1×4, which could be written as (1)(4), which is 14. Really, that’s all I want to be at the age of 31 – a 14-year-old teenage kid at heart. So, my hope for this 31st year of life is to preserve that adolescent wonder, optimism, and dreaminess that’s been essential to my moments of joy.