Life By Kristen

Go, and embrace your liberty. And see what wonderful things come of it. – Little Women

Archive for the tag “birthday”


I think I do birthdays pretty well. I take the day off from work and do something for myself ( both of which should be required  by law, in my opinion).

This year, I took a (much needed) day off from work and since it was Friday, it was a lovely way to have a long weekend. I had a massage in the morning and had plans to do some shopping alone in the afternoon, but I was so relaxed after that I hung out at home the rest of the day, watching movies and reading. It was pretty lovely. Little Man, Q, and my mom went out to dinner on Saturday night as a little celebration and the previous weekend we had fancy adult dinner with my brother and sister-in-law, complete with my annual birthday bubbly ( champagne should also be required for birthdays).

I’ve never been one for big birthday celebrations- with the exception of my Sweet 16 where there was a big party with DJ and karaoke, I don’t think I’ve ever had huge parties. As a kid, there were limited options for an early March birthday since the weather could be anywhere from winter cold to early spring. There were a lot of bowling parties or celebrations at local eateries that did special things like Friendly’s ( a New England-based restaurant known for their ice cream).

I have no qualms about turning another year older as I think the next few years are going to have a lot of changes for me- maybe moving, maybe growing our family, maybe exploring creative outlets and making steps in my career. I joked around with a few friends that I thought the 30s were supposed to be the time when you felt like you were finally getting life right, since it hasn’t quite seemed that way for me.

I know part of that feeling for me is wrapped up in the sadness about losing Dad– another reminder that grief is a weird life mate. It’s strange to say that I lost him at a pivotal moment in life since I was an adult when it happened, unlike people who lose a parent at important development years in their youth or teenage years. For me, I lost Dad exactly at the moment that I thought I had it all figured out- stable job, new, healthy relationship, and so on. Maybe that’s why God took him when he did- my father, ever the protector, worrier, and fixer– knew that things in life were set and he was better served as guardian angel to us all. Sometimes it’s the only thing that helps me get over some sad moments. But for me now as I question what’s next for me and what I want, I’d kill to have his advice and talk it out with him.

It’s also weird to think at 33 that I really feel like I’m at a point to make things happen that I want. Sure, there might never be enough money or time, but I don’t feel the angst of the 20s. I know that if I trust myself, things are going to happen as they should. I might not have money to re-do my kitchen, but maybe the answer is to just sell the house and find a place that Q and I can make our own together, instead of a house that my ex-husband and I bought together that we live in.

Lots of people are set in their lives at 33– house, kids, job– all set and happy to stay that way. Maybe those are the people who have midlife crises at 45 or something. I don’t feel like my life is in crisis, but it’s definitely in transition, so even as I embrace the current state of uncertainty, I feel confident that 33 is going to be a great year for me.





Birthdays have never been a huge deal to me, even as a kid. Everyone has one, each year passes whether you celebrate it or not. I prefer to take each birthday as a reminder to be kind and gentle with myself, which is why I take every birthday off from work, if possible ( ps- if I ever run a company, employees will get their birthdays off as if it were their own personal national holiday).

As I celebrate another year today, I’m spending it away from work. I’m sleeping late, getting a massage, and enjoying an afternoon reading, to be topped off by some time with Q tonight and yoga. Sunday I celebrated with my family with a truly delicious dinner. It’s lowkey and lovely, and I wouldn’t have it any other way.

A lot of people spend time on their birthdays, especially milestone years, thinking about where they are at in life and how it compares with what they thought they would be at that age. I learned long ago that this exercise, for me, is futile. Instead I like to look at how far I’ve come, what I’ve accomplished, and where I’m going. I’m not just talking about career, money, or love life, but in general terms of being a good person, honoring who I am, and doing what brings me joy.

Where did I think I would be at this age? I actually have no idea. I’d have to go into my treasure trove of old journals and diaries to see if I had any future predictions in there for this age range– which as a side note, I don’t think I can do. Something about rereading through emotional distress and angst gives me a weird feeling. Maybe someday–over wine of course.

At 32, I like to think I’m doing pretty well. I’m blessed with good health, an amazing partner, a loving support network of family and friends. I am employed, own my own house and car, have food on the table, and even though I have some debt, it doesn’t cripple my life or limit too many of my choices in the everyday sense. I am a truly blessed and grateful human being.

I try to do the right thing for me, my family, and my situation as much as I can, whether it be in small acts like letting a driver cut in during traffic or speaking my mind for what I believe strongly in at a work meeting. I try to be kind, limit my complaining and snarkiness, and overall try to think of other people. I don’t always succeed and some days it’s quite hard, but that’s part of the business of being human.

So here’s to another year– this one seems filled more than ever with unknowns and “we’ll sees.” Maybe we’ll remodel the kitchen and redo the house a bit to stay there longer. Maybe I’ll amp up freelance work so much I can support myself in a career. Maybe we’ll expand our family. Maybe I’ll join the circus. Oh who am I kidding- this is the circus! And I wouldn’t have it any other way.


“The days are long, but the years are short.” (I’ve seen that quote in a lot of places- had a hard time finding the original source. )

As I celebrate today, it’s surreal to look back at what has happened in the past year. The sudden death of my father of course stands out as the huge thing that happened in my 30th year, but it was also a year where I found love again, took on new challenges, and learned a lot about myself.

As I embark on 31, there is a lot of uncertainty ahead, which is both exciting and incredibly scary too. I’m doing my best to let life happen, be at peace with whatever comes my way, and not worry. Some days it’s easy, other days it’s not.

It’s funny to think now I’m “in my thirties” and a lot of the things I thought about in life prior to this point are supposed to be happening in the next few years. But I’m saying screw it to that vision of life. I’m doing what I want each day, surrounding myself with love, family, friends, and good people. What I want for life will happen as it should.


A Celebration!

I’m 30! And this is my 100th blog post!

OK this post was supposed to go up on Monday, but that was my actual birthday and I decided I wanted a relaxing, quiet day with little technology so I deferred the post a day until yesterday was super hectic and I forgot about it.

So Happy Wednesday for a celebration!

I’ve never been a big fan of my personal birthday celebration- I’ve always felt like there was a weird pressure to have a great celebration or would have great expectations of big birthday happenings that did not turn out. Mainly though I don’t like the attention that birthdays bring so I’ve always just sought out my own way of celebrating and doing the things I love the most.

My parents threw a surprise party for me last Saturday night, which I really had no idea about. I took the day off Monday, slept in, and then went for a hot stone massage, which I HIGHLY recommend. I read in my sunroom with some coffee, did a little shopping, and had dinner with my family. The whole weekend was just as I wanted to ring in the new decade- spent with family and friends, surrounded by love, laughter, and excitement for all that is coming in my life.

I’ve never been more excited about turning a year older. My 20s were filled with lots of ups and downs, and I know that life is really going to happen for me in my 30s. I’m motivated to make changes in so many places in my life and have aspirations for so much more. Interestingly enough, a fellow 30 & flirty friend posted this article  about how the 30s are “do or die.” I’m not sure that I think the 30s are ‘do or die,’ but I do think  many big life things will ( or hopefully will) happen in the next decade.

And a celebration too because it’s my 100th blog post. I’ve been blogging for just about a year now and think I’m finally finding my voice a little bit more. I’m excited to continue using this space to share with the world, and so happy to have found a community of like minded folks as part of it.

And as a huge thank you to everyone for their support and reading whatever ramblings I come up with, I’m doing a small giveaway of some of my favorite things: stationary, a journal with some awesome pens, and some hot beverage items.

To enter, leave a comment or a tweet and I’ll pick a random winner on Sunday, March 10!

The 30×30 List

On Monday, I’ll be 30.

I’ve never been more excited for a birthday, which is a lot since I’ve never been super into birthdays. While the excitement for the milestone is there, I’ve never quite been a huge fan of the attention or the pressure for some big huge celebration or activity to honor the day. For me, I just want to do the things I like, eat some yummy food, and see the people who make me happy.

After my marriage ended in 2011, I gave myself an ambitious 30×30 list to accomplish, though the list ( which you can click to above), had items on it that were lofty at best considering my meager budget. This is to say that I won’t be rushing to try to complete these items by next Monday, but that doesn’t mean that I’m forgetting about them either.

The ‘bucket list’ or ‘life list’ or 30×30– whatever you want to call it- is something that a lot of people have written about– how often making the list makes it seem like life is something to be checked off, that the act of the making list sort of defeats the purpose of living a huge, eventful life, and so on. I agree with some of these things– there are many things I want to do in life that are not on this 30×30 list but live in the more concrete places in my mind- going on African safari for example. I don’t have to write them down or worry about making a list to remind me of its importance- it’s something I think of quite often and only have to look at the abundance of wild animal photos on my Pinterest to remember why I want it so badly.

The act of making the 30×30 list was part of me trying to figure out what I wanted for my life after my marriage fell apart, but more importantly, it was really the first time that I sat down to think about the things that were important or of interest to me. I made the list more to think about living a life, and less about crossing off each item on it– which sort of defeats the purpose of making a list, since it is supposed to be about accomplishing it, not a reminder of all the things a person has not done. But I’m not taking it this way– and someone could argue I’m only taking this attitude about the list because I didn’t accomplish it or with some of the items like a spa weekend with girlfriends– I didn’t do a whole lot to try to make these goals into actions.

The 30×30 list has items I still want to do ( volunteer at a soup kitchen) and am making plans to happen. But in general, I’m thinking of it as a fluid list, but more importantly, a reminder to live a full life doing what I want, leaving room for spontaneity, and whatever fun and exciting things come my way. And that I think is better than any one item I could have ever accomplished before turning 30.


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