Friday, November 20, 2009

What is 30?

Well, my day has come. I turned 30. On Friday the 13th no less. Now, I am not really superstitious, but for real?!? Yet, I write today unharmed and feeling fabulous. Did I think I would be where I am today at 30? Not really. Do I wish my life were a bit different on occasion? Sometimes. Would I redo anything if I could? Nope. At least I hope I wouldn't.

Some people take the day of turning 30 and turn it into the momentous day it is expected to be, with a lavish party and the works. But, for those who know me, "the works" for me means hanging with family, eating fab food, and hearing from old friends who still remember why November 13th sticks in their mind. My family made me the most wonderful scrapbook accompanied with a gift to cover lawncare for the next year (YAY!). With it came a card that listed things that define 30. So, it inspired today's blog. What is 30?

30 is...
  • wondering if people will believe you're 25
  • wondering if people in their 20s will think you are too old to hang out with now
  • wondering if wondering that previous thought makes you sad AND old
  • believing that 30 IS the new 20
  • knowing your older siblings will probably return the favor of trauma you induced on them when they turned 30
  • assuming your younger siblings will induce the trauma knowing they will always be younger than you
  • seeing Halle Barry pull off "natural-looking" ripped Abercrombie jeans and wondering if you could pull it off too
  • wondering if Abercrombie is still the "it" store
  • mentally bear-hugging the stranger who asks "Did you just graduate?"
  • realizing there is a balance between staying hip, young, and modern and BEING 30
  • realizing 30 is HIP, YOUNG, and MODERN!
  • realizing turning 30 is just like 29 or 40, except 30 is SO much better than 40! Until YOU turn 40...
  • secretly wondering if you should minimize your snacking because of that whole "metabolism slowing down" thing
  • loving it when someone still calls you "kiddo"
  • feeling guilty for being 20% jealous/80% happy that all of your friends are having kids
  • wondering how you can still be daddy's little girl even after turning 30
  • thanking the good Lord that there is still a place where you can be a little girl
  • realizing that there is NO place like home
  • realizing that "waiting for THE ONE" does not require patience so much as belief
  • admitting that it does require patience too
  • being thankful that even if you don't make a big deal out of YOUR day, your friends and family always will, in their very own special ways

I'm elated to be 30 because I have an amazingly close knit family, full of relationships that seem to get stronger as distance grows and time passes. I have a jealousy-invoking job that I wake up quite excited for each day. I have a circle of friends I know would come to my aid no matter how small or large the issue. I get to travel to exotic places and see new and inviting cultures. 30's not so bad.

So, go on...add your own definition of 30.

Saturday, November 14, 2009

It was "well done" indeed...Thank you Dublin!

It's been a while-I know. Forgive me. I had a followership of random friends who said they "stalked" my blog to read the next one, only to be left "disappointed" because I had not written in so long. Of course, that's because I was so uninspired recently that I had nothing about which to write. And, I firmly believe my blogs must have some meaning--it can be random but certainly not inane garbage.

Thus, I return fully inspired by a week away in euphoric Europe, where the relaxed attitude is palpable. My journey actually started over Christmas break of 2000 (yes, 2000) when I decided that the three digit weight I had reached was my limit, and I vowed that my life was going to change. I yelled out from the bathroom where I was standing on the weight scale, "Dad, are you going to work out today?". That day would be the ultimate incitement into my impetuous craze of goals, achievement, running, self-confidence, and healthy living. Now, 40 pounds lighter for nearly a decade, 2009 brought me to Dublin, Ireland to tour the Land of Green on foot, covering 26.2 miles of the kindest locals, non-touristy history, and surprisingly good vegetarian eats even Anthony Bourdain couldn't resist.

At the Expo signing the wall... Team Dublin who adopted me for the weekend...

Perhaps my most emotional moment was around mile 6. We had just exited the city center, entering Phoenix Park. I finally looked up to be greeted by rolling hills, leprechaun greenery, and a feeling of sheer elation. I was doing something worthy having raised $3000 for cancer research, fulfilling my goal of an international marathon, and travelling parts of the world unbeknownst to me. I stared at the backs of the vast number of runners ahead of me: some old--I mean seriously OLD, some round and large, some so skinny that I feared having to watch their bones crumble across the finish, some dressed up so ludicrously that I was distracted for an entire mile, and some as normal as I. However, two men drew my attention raptly as they so effortlessy passed me. They were tied at the wrist, their legs veraciously in sync step after step. One man wore sunglasses, as many runners do. The other man wore a t-shirt, upon whose back read "Fighting Blindness". A lump formed in my throat and tears threatened to make me look and feel like an emotional wreck.

My sister P says I always make funny faces in pictures...I have no idea what she is talking about...

My most enduring moment came not at mile 20 where most "normal" runners hit a wall but at mile 13. I run so many marathons and half marathons because my body can take it. I never feel any injury-like pains, rarely get sore, and my energizer-bunny like qualities never fail me. But, this time, my hurdle came early and hit me like a falling Berlin wall. My feet ached, a pain I had never experienced. I pride myself in being self-motivated. But, at that moment for 7-9 miles, I doubted I was going to finish. I knew I had jacked up my sub-5 hour goal, but all I cared about was being finished. And, I was not getting there fast enough. Mentally, I was shot. The inspiration from the locals, whose favorite phrases were "well done", "brilliant", and "lovely", was no longer driving me but rather annoying me, and the emotional fire the two men provided me miles earlier had faded into negative energy. The sign on my back read "Uncle Bob, you are my inspiration", but that no longer pushed me. Not once in my life did I actually think I would not reach my goal.

But, I did. Three marathons and seven half marathons all before I turned 30. I proceeded to London and Paris thereafter, walking the beautiful cities for ten+ hours a day and no foot pain. I'm not sure if that was God testing my will or what, but I left Europe injury free and fully inspired to do it all over again. Yes, Dublin, it was "well done" indeed.
Not looking so hot...But looking oh-so-finished...Here with Kristin...By far the only person I know more energetic than I am...

Being Harry Potter at King's Cross in London...Being bigger than Tour Eiffel... Devouring Parisian crepes off the streets in front of Notre Dame...