July 24, 2012

Birthday Eve

Hi friends - it's me.  See me up there? I'm rowing in Central Park.
Well, Joe is rowing.
I am posing for photos.

So it's my birthday tomorrow.  I'm sitting here thinking about how 25 didn't feel as epic as I thought it would.  For some reason I thought 25 would be the peak of my young adulthood.  It was definitely not the year I was expecting.  And tomorrow I will be 26.  I don't think I'll feel much different from the way I feel now.  Strange thing, birthdays.

I wonder if I'll think of Mom tomorrow.  Afterall, she did a lot of the work on my birthday - the work of getting me here.  Maybe I'll summon the courage to crack open my baby book and read the handwritten birth story she recorded.  But maybe I'll save that for another day.  I've never read it, and I wonder how her thoughts about bringing life into the world will seem to me now.  Now that I have brought forth life and hers is no more.  A lot can happen in 25 years.

I had a much different plan for how this year would go for me - even made a list of things I'd hoped to accomplish.  I did birth that baby (a story I've been meaning to share, but have yet to sit down to) And I did a lot of reading.  My favorite books were In Defense of Food and This I Believe.  I didn't make it to another country or go sailing but I did pick apples in the fall.  I purchased a couple different eyeliners but have yet to open any of them.  The list I made last year looks so girlish to me now.  So naive.  It's as though years have passed instead of months.  I know I'm not that much wiser than I was a year ago, but I have figured out one thing.

I am not in control.  Of any of it.  I could write a whole novel about all the things I once thought I could control but have since realized I cannot.  Suffice it to say, this year there is no real list.  Nothing I can check off.  This year I will continue my journey toward living the most authentic life I can muster.  There is so much to learn about surrender and acceptance and love.  My goals for 26 are not as defined as they were for 25.  But if I had to put them in writing, it would look something like this.
                                                                More digging in the dirt.
                                                                    More deep breaths.
                                                              Less television.
                                                                  More books.
                                                             More letters.
                                                      Less internet.
                                                          More inward reflection.
                                                                           Less comparison.
                                                   More art and laughter and creation.
                                                                   Less consumption.
                                                         More time outside.
                                                              Less drive for perfection.
                                                         More hugs.
                                                               More giving and receiving.
                                                         More honesty.
                                                                More abundance.

I don't know how to end a post like this, so here is a photo of Joe.  I don't talk about him much here, but he is absolutely my solid place. 25 would have been unbearable without him.  The kindness of his heart comes right through his eyes, and I am so grateful that he's mine.
I love him so much, in fact, that I accidentally picked out glasses identical to his. 
So now when people see us on the street, there is no mistaking that we are a match.
Lucky me.


  1. I love that list. You're not going to be far from Canada soon, so you could even get that foreign country marked off your list from last year! Can't wait to visit and get to experience more hugs, art, laughter, and time outside. I love you and your honest self!

  2. Happy birthday, Whitney!

    I think your list for 26 is perfect.

    We sure wish you and Joe lived closer at hand.

  3. Happy birthday Whit! I felt the same way about 25. I thought I'd be an adult then, but I still don't feel like one at 26. Your new lists shows that you are way more mature than me. I still like the frivolous bucket lists. Enjoy your birthday!

  4. There is so much I love about this post. What a wonderful list for a wonderful women. Love you so much!
    Happy birthday!

  5. Happy Birthday, Whitney! I'm excited to virtually share your list for 26 as you move onward and upward. I love you and miss you! Even if it's an imperfect one, may it also be an authentically wonderful and joyous birthday!

  6. Happy Birthday, Whitney! You are such a wonderful person. So insightful, so witty. I'm awfully glad you were born. I love your last few posts. You seems much happier. Thanks for allowing us all to learn with you through your trials. Love you. Make it a great day!

  7. Beautiful post from a beautiful girl inside and out. We love you and hope you have a happy b-day. This post made me cry. I'm so glad you love my little boy and that he adores you!

  8. Those are the best kind of goals. You and Joe are BOTH so lucky-- to have each other.

  9. Thanks for your blog posts, pictures and poetry.


  10. Happy Birthday! I have yet to respond to your message because it takes more thought than this, but I wanted to wish you well this year. 25 is just 25. I have loved getting older. I mean, yes, I'm less attractive in some ways now, but I feel so much better about myself than I did in my 20s. As for your list I think you did visit a foreign land- grief can feel that way sometimes. I'm glad you have Joe. A good man makes a big difference. It boggles my mind that we choose our spouse when we are so young and clueless, and how often it works out.

  11. Love your new list. I think I'll borrow a few off of you list, if you don't mind. And I hope your birthday was fabulous and that Joe didn't use his water guns on you on your special day (unless you wanted him too...) :) Love you!