Image by Sam Brown at Exploding Dog

Last year, on my 30th birthday, I wrote these words:

My thirties are going to test me and teach me more than I can possibly imagine right now. And they are going to be magical.

I hope y’all can forgive my douchiness in quoting myself. See, today I turned 31 and now I’m feeling all kinds of everything. I read my words from last year and I think two things. First, I had no idea what the hell I was talking about. Second, I was spookily prophetic. Thirty wasn’t easy. It was beautiful, it taught me more than any other year of my life, and I wouldn’t do a single thing differently, but it wasn’t easy.

I woke up this morning intending to go for a run. My Seattle sidewalks are still icy so I walked instead. I breathed in the cold, early morning air and watched the sun lighten the sky, turning black to red, then pink, then the grayish overcast gorgeousness I’ve grown to love in my Seattle skyline. I walked and felt all my feelings, all of them at once. I walked and remembered every mistake of the last year, every misstep, every single thing I could have (and should have) done better. I walked and realized what each mistake had taught me, and felt grateful to the grace of a Universe that allows me to make mistakes and still move forward. I walked and felt love for every person in my life, my friends who have done more for me than any person could ever deserve or repay, my bosses who treat me so well and have made me part of their families, and my own family who have been patient with me as I clumsily (and often crankily) deal with my grief. I walked and I missed Kim. She and I celebrated only one birthday each with each other. She was there on my 30th (chemo-exhausted but still costumed up and ready to party) and I was there on her 31st, armed with a narwhal and a lot of love. One birthday was all we were given. And to be honest, I’m struggling with turning 31. It feels awful to know my life (most likely) will continue moving forward while she was forever frozen at 31. It is incredibly sad.

So I walked and felt those things. I walked until I felt more peace than sadness. And then I walked and looked forward to the year ahead.

I have so many hopes for 31, y’all. Odd numbered years have always been my best years. I hope I learn to be as generous and kind as the people in my life. I hope I continue writing, pushing myself to be better and grow. I hope for more laughter, even if that laughter comes through tears. I hope I learn to offer gratitude before selfishness, understanding before judgment, and love before anger.

Tonight I’ll have dinner with a few of the people I love the most. And this weekend, Betty Nebraska, Bowie, and I are joining forces again for our birthday party. There will be superheroes, supervillains, and tequila. I will wear a Wonder Woman crown and dance and celebrate and wonder what superhero Kim would have been. It was be wonderful and sad and perfect, as every day of the last year has been.

Thank you for being here throughout the first year of my thirties. I cannot even describe how grateful I am for every comment, every email, every kind thought sent my way. I said last year 30 would be magical. I was right. You guys made it magical. So, with all the love I can offer, thank you. Thank you, thank you, thank you.