Thirty, flirty, and just about hanging in there

I started this blog in 2012, just before another milestone birthday (my 21st). I’d shadowed an Ithaca College and Park Scholar alum at work on a trip to New York City and one of his colleagues had recommended I start a blog as a good source of writing samples to show potential journalism employers. I immediately jumped at the idea.

I’d already had years of blogging experience on various platforms (xanga, blogspot, livejournal, and tumblr) by that point, but I wanted to have a little spot on the internet to call my own. This was back when a lucky few were able to turn blogging into a full-time living before it all moved to Instagram (I’m not knocking influencers; I just don’t have the fashion sense or budget), but I was never interested in that.

I just wanted a place to write without the constraints of an academic essay or the AP Stylebook (as much as I dearly love both). I had lofty goals: at least one blog post a week (something I still have yet to achieve in any year so far; perhaps 2021 will finally be the year). The journalism didn’t stick, but the blog did.

Even as sporadically as I’ve updated, this blog has also seen me through so much: it began with a semester abroad in Spain, the highs and lows of Liverpool Football fandom, hundreds of books, grad school, a few more moves (and that’s not even all of them), other big life changes, terrible politics, plenty of writing, some self-reflection, a global pandemic, and a whole lot more.

Today’s my thirtieth birthday, if you couldn’t guess from the 13 Going on 30 reference in the title, and I feel like a very different woman than the 21-year-old girl who started this blog. I’m glad for that; I liked that girl but she would have never gotten here if she didn’t grow.

A lot of people dread every milestone birthday after 21. With all due respect, fuck that. First of all, 30 isn’t old (and I’m not just saying that because I’m 30 now). Second of all, how much would it suck to have your life peak in your 20s? There are some things that haven’t changed since I was 21—I have the same best friend, the same passion for writing and books, the same love of travel (but with a lot more countries under my belt)—and I wouldn’t trade those things for the world. But the rest, compared to what could be coming my way? Keep it.

Obviously this isn’t how I expected to be spending my birthday. I’m not a big party person, but doing nothing except sitting in lockdown, working from home, and counting down the hours until the end of Trump’s presidency isn’t exactly my idea of a great time (although it’s obviously better than counting down the hours to another four years of Trump). But hey, it can only be uphill from here, right?

I have some goals for my 30s that I won’t share here, but one thing I will share is that I hope when I turn 40 I look back on this blog post and think how much happier I am to be 40 than 30, the same way I’m looking back on my first blog post and thinking how much happier I am to be 30 than 21. I hope I’m writing so consistency that I laugh at my sad previous attempts to blog once a week. I hope I’m doing things I would have never guessed if I tried to predict them today. I hope I’m surprising myself.

I don’t write this blog for anyone but myself, but I truly appreciate the people who read it. Whether you skim occasionally or commented once, or you read every post or send me a message about something I wrote, whether you’re a friend or an acquaintance or a stranger, thanks for coming along on this journey with me. Let’s keep going x

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