I promise, I’m not one of those birthday extravaganza people who feel like I should get a bounce house for my 26th birthday party. I recognize no one cares about that day after like, age 21, but this was too good to share. On my birthday night, I went to a local bar with my sister and some friends, and we ran into a group of older gentlemen, ready for their night on the town. One, to whom I made very clear I was happily engaged and excited to get married, and not at all interested in anyone but my future husband, could not get enough of me, and honed in, especially once I mentioned to someone else that I just completed my second marathon. What ensued was the best picture to ever be captured by man.
My sister’s boyfriend managed to catch the guy not-so-subtly checking out the goods in a photo. I’ve censored it, but enjoy!
26 has never looked so good.
Okay sike kinda. Today is my 26th birthday, and I write to you, not from my fancy vacation, but from my desk on my way to work. Since I’ve absolutely sucked at doing my 30 days of thanks, I’m gonna hit you with 26 incredible things that happened in the past year, and that I’m thankful for. Here goes (in no particular order)!
- I ran two marathons in my 25th year. Right before I turned 25, I ran my first half, and I guess I caught the bug. More specifically, I ran two half marathons, 2 fulls, and I think one really fun 5k.
- I got engaged! I was telling my mom yesterday, that I never would have thought that I’d meet someone I’d love enough to marry just 4 years after I graduated. After I broke up with my college boyfriend, I really thought that was it for me, and I was content to live with my animals. Seriously, before Austin I’d fallen into this dorky routine of working out, watching Dancing with the Stars, and getting into to bed before midnight most Fridays. What a difference a few years makes, right?
- I learned about the power of networking. They always say it’s not what you know but who you know. And I’ll be gosh darned, they were right. And I credit that with this next one.
- I got a social work job. After searching for what felt like 50 years.
- But I also worked full-time for Fleet Feet, a running specialty store, and I have to be honest with you, I’m still in love with the company, and I’d consider opening a store with my husband. Bob and Kathy, my bosses, and my coworkers, are such amazing, good people, and working there really pushed me to be a better athlete. I think that speaks for the company. When your job creates a better and more competitive athlete out of you, that’s something special.
- I got my cat, Martin. He is the worst behaved cat I’ve ever met.
- My grandmother passed away. That is not the good part, obviously. The good part, and the part that warmed my heart was the fact that all of us, all 3 of my siblings, and both of my parents were able to coordinate enough to get on planes and make it to her services on short notice.
- I got to go to my second home, camp. It was just as beautiful as I remembered. After my first summer there, I literally thought I’d never see the place again, and I would dream about coming back there at night. I made it. And I love those kids.
- I bought my first car. When my ’99 Taurus died on me (transmission issue), I laid down and bawled, not sure what I was going to do. Austin helped me through the process of buying a car, and I made my first real adult purchase, a little Lancer, with an equally little payment. It’s perfect for me.
- I went through some interviews with some not-satisfactory results. But you know what? Every “failed” job prospect was a great learning opportunity, and I think I emerged from each experience a little stronger. At the time, I was shaking my first and gnashing my teeth, if you will, but it was all for the best.
- My mom is still with us. The same weekend I bought my new car I was actually signing the paperwork for my new car, when my mom called me. “Hey. What are you doing. You sound kinda weird,” I’d said kinda causally. “Oh, I just…well I’m in the hospital. But everything’s okay!” and the way the universe takes care of me is the minute I’d signed the paperwork on that new car, I was able to drive down and spend what would turn out to be a couple of weeks with my mom, who’d, as it turned out, had a small stroke at some point. She’s doing better and better each day.
- My bank account is looking a little bit better than it was, this time last year. Praise. Let’s keep that thing on the rise.
- I got a library card. Maybe now I can stop pouring money into my Kindle.
- I chose a wedding venue! Kinda superficial, but I had a rough go of it for a while!
- My siblings are all successful, productive members of society. Not everyone can say that. Armours. Bettah. Werk.
- I attended my 4th Elon University Homecoming (nearly didn’t make it out alive, as you’ll remember last weekend), and now I’m considering become even more involved with my alma mater, and not just offering my meager financial support. I really don’t mind giving back to the school that literally taught me how to become a grown up.
- I have great friends. I worked at Fleet Feet the other night, and fell right back into an old pattern like no time had passed. The same of Elon Homecoming, it truly felt like no time had passed.
- I got closer with my friends. And this year, I vow to be an even better friend if it kills me. More coffee dates, more phone calls, more visits. I’ve let it get a leetle too far in between some friend dates. My sincere apologies, ladies and gents.
- I participated in one FANTASTIC wedding, which was fun from start to finish. My good friend Alexa got married in May, and since I was a bridesmaid, I got to participate as far as getting a cute dress, contributing to her bachelorette weekend in Asheville (which meant I got to run in some crisp mountain air), and I got to celebrate her wedding….
- And I attended the wedding of another good friend in Cincinnati. And it was like an Elon reunion all over again. All this to say, guys, I’m sorry, if you notice a few similarities between your wedding and mine – but they both were so different and so beautiful, that I’d love to try and recreate these moments all over again.
- I started doing yoga. Actually on January 1st, I started, and I credit that with singlehandedly allowing me to get through my first marathon without hurting anything.
- My home. Admittedly, I miss my old condo, the one I lived in when I started this blog. I had to move because the owner sold it (or is trying to sell it for way more than it’s worth, but that’s just my two cents). But as I strolled through my apartment this morning, freshly vacuumed and smelling nice, I was thankful for my toasty little nook in the woods. Often, when I run, I look under bridges that I pass, and I’ll often see vestiges off a little home there. Foodstuffs, blankets, sometimes and old mattress. And I thank God that I have a warm place to lay my head at night.
- This blog. I raised some money last year, and I really appreciate for people to tell me when they’ve been following along. I mean, I love to hear myself talk, so I’d prolly continue writing even if I suspected that only cats are reading my blog, but man, I’m happy and grateful that this blog “happened,” so to speak.
- This country. Things are a hot mess. But we live in the best nation in the world. Run and tell dat.
- My health. I continue to be amazed at where I can push my body. Part of the reason for the tears at the finish of each marathon is to thank heavens that my body is able to hold up for that long, and recover quickly. Not everyone can say that. I hope they can, eventually.
- Real Housewives of Atlanta is back on. And I really don’t need to say much more about that.
Thank you, thank you, thank you, for reading, and thank goodness for another year. Here’s to 26 being another good one!