Friday, December 18, 2009

30 Days to 30 Years

"When you’re five, you know your age down to the month. Even in your twenties you know how old you are. I’m twenty-three, you say, or maybe twenty-seven. But then in your thirties something strange starts to happen. It’s a mere hiccup at first, an instant of hesitation. How old are you? Oh, I’m – you start confidently, but then you stop. You were going to say thirty-three, but you’re not. You’re thirty-five. And then you’re bothered, because you wonder if this is the beginning of the end. It is, of course, but it’s decades before you admit it."
- Sara Gruen, Water for Elephants

On December 31, 2008, I wrote one blog post in particular - among many blogged personal revelations in my first blog about adjusting to life in New York City - about what I thought I knew about myself as time rolled into 2009. Here's what I still think I know as 2010 approaches:

For me, there are only two places - New York City and everywhere else. The basic themes of the novel Rules for Saying Goodbye generally define me, but I realize something new about myself quite frequently. I don't seek to constantly reinvent myself, yet I might not ever really know everything about me all at one time because different parts of me change, sometimes frequently; this should probably bother me, but it doesn't.

I don't have a very good awareness of my personal space so I often bump into things. Because of that, I accidentally shaved off the very top of the middle finger on my right hand and permanently disfigured the nailbed when I was five years old, broke my right arm when I was six, and I have a permanent, dime-size, swollen bubble over the third metatarsal on my right foot. There are various scars on my legs, arms and back, and I generally have a few bruises or a twisted ankle at any given time.

I wish I was wittier, but I typically end up bordering on corny and sarcastic. I like to surround myself with people who provoke thought. I'm a sucker for a sense of humor. I don't fall in love easily, I don't get attached easily, and I have to be both of those things if I'm going to get jealous easily; I can probably thank a military brat upbringing for that. I was nominated for the "Most Friendly" Senior Superlative at my second high school (I am still usually nice 10 years later). I like to step back and absorb certain moments so that I can remember the details; I do that most often when my friends are laughing.

I have - not so much a phobia of - but a general repulsion of clumps of dust, hair, and I despise grimy countertops. Despite a few isolated circumstances, I feel like a fairly lucky person - especially considering all of the horrible things that can happen and have happened to others in the world. I'm boycotting diamonds, and not because I don't absolutely adore them and not because of the movie Blood Diamond, Kanye West's song or other trendy political fads, but because of the book When You Ride Alone, You Ride With Bin Laden by Bill Maher.

Moving to New York City three years ago was the best decision I ever made.

When I used to have a kitchen with enough space for a table, I liked to read the back of the cereal box while I ate breakfast. I love Manhattan, Lox cream cheese with my Friday morning bagel ritual, weekend brunches, and Pinot Noir. I have a dark side, and I generally do not trust those who don't. I'm a chain gum chewer; not a nervous habit or to break any addictions - just do. I believe that only time tells all things, and it is the one thing I firmly stand beside and simultaneously fear because it is an undeniable, unpredictable constant that both richly and unremarkably defines all of us.

A few general standards that seem to remain constant about me include the following: I like astronomy (not astrology), chocolate, cultures, horseback riding, maps, national and international political affairs, nutrition, photography, reading (for fun, knowledge or to pass the time), some sports, travel and writing ... and if you've got undiagnosed OCD like me, you'll have noticed that I listed my general interests in alphabetical order. I just do organized shit like that with minimal effort.

I randomly quote movies, usually at relevant moments, but sometimes not. I'd like to sit with Stephen Hawking and talk about the mysteries of the universe over red wine and lightly toasted miniature bread roll slices topped with raspberry jam and warm brie cheese. I have a borderline-obsessive, but not-necessarily-unhealthy girl crush on Ellen DeGeneresAnd not just because Ellen's good buddies with Sandra Bullock, but I genuinely think that if "Sandy" had been born in the 80s and went to Shell Point Elementary School in Beaufort, SC, Roger B. Chaffee Elementary School in Bermuda, or Northwoods Park Middle School in Jacksonville, NC, we'd have become lifelong friends.

I'm incredibly indecisive, especially when it comes to making a choice in a restaurant. And although I may not be sure of a lot of things, one thing I do know is that I gotta have more cowbell. And I hope to cycle across North America this summer.

In 30 days, I will turn 30 years old. My friend and fellow 30-something blogger pal, Wendy Atterberry, author of her personal blog City Wendy and contributor on The Frisky, created a list of "30 Skills Every Woman Should Have Before Turning 30."

Cycling across your native continent is not on her list of 30-year old belt notches, but it's not on this list of no-nos either so I can forge ahead with a clear conscience and the assumption that my 30th-year goal is Frisky-approved. I'm not sure why their approval is even important, but it's fit to be noted that I turn 30 in 30 days ... and according to all of these 30-something Frisky lists, there is a lot more that I need to do than just prepare to cycle across North America!

So first things first, who has the recipe for hard-boiling an egg?

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