My birthday normally sneaks up on me. Most times I’ll be sorting through mail, responding to a text, deeply entrenched in a new episode of Orange is the New Black, Buffy the Vampire Slayer, or re-watching Fargo, and then a little timer goes off, chiming (very loudly), “Kirstin, you will officially be a year older in two and a half weeks- you should do something about that.” And then I normally arrange a drink or dinner or three.
Not this year, though. I remembered months ahead of time. I asked three close friends to join me at Stinson Beach and Bolinas with me for my thirty-fifth birthday. Oh, or as some people put it, thirty-thrive.
I’ve been thinking about what turning thirty-five means to me. When I was a little girl I had a vision, seemingly influenced in equal parts by Saved by the Bell fashion and the film Wall Street, of what my life would look like at this age. I’d have long and fluffy permed hair, I’d be tall- all legs, obviously-, wear a lot of red power suits with big shoulder pads, and live in a high rise overlooking Central Park. I’d also be heading a very important company from a corner office with glass walls that overlooked basically everything, and I’d live in a high rise apartment in Manhattan with my very witty and handsome husband who greeted me after work at night with a martini in hand.
Luckily it’s okay to re-envision because the only thing that applies from my glittering eighties girlhood fantasy is my long hair (and hey hey, I don’t need a perm anymore, my hair has turned curlier every year!). I was, but no longer am married, I never made it past five foot four, and I have no, repeat, no, power suits in my closet.
Despite turning thirty-five and encountering the expectations, mainly my own, that come along with it, I’m happy with where I am. I travel a lot. I live within eight miles from an ocean. I get to play with my friend’s babies but get to sleep a full night through. I published a book. I’m working on a writing sample for a second. And I have awesome friends, and my family is super supportive. Also, I accidentally ran into Francis McDormand and her hubby while in a bar on the Marin coast on my birthday (!!!!), so, my life is pretty much complete. Which is probably good because I’m not sure if I could handle martinis every night- this aforementioned future witty husband will have to mix it up with beer or wine too.
The things that I appreciate more about being the age I am is the opportunity it’s afforded me to learn the following. I don’t always remember these things, but when I do, I’m happier.
- Don’t get upset if you don’t fulfill your own unrealistic expectations. You’ll constantly have more chances to dream, and an even better opportunity will pop up when right later.
- Surround yourself with people who care as much about you as you care for them.
- Go to the ocean, mountains, lake, and visit cheesemakers as much as possible!
- Give yourself at least day off a week.
- Bring only aged cheeses on a hiking trip or to the beach (see realistic expectations- don’t make a soft, young cheese feel bad because it wants a little extra refrigerated love, just eat a young cheese later when the time is right). There will always be more burrata later.
The cheeses I brought on our hike and beach trek were L’Amuse Gouda from Holland, Bleating Heart Funky Bleats from Sebastapol, and Hubaner from Switzerland. They were all aged just enough where they held up deliciously in our backpacks until we found a shady waterfall to sit next to for lunch. And that top pic? Chocolate pot de creme on Stinson beach, brought by my lovely friend Joen (non cheese photos also by Joen).