My 30th birthday began and ended with a hammock. In the last two hours of being 29, Paul excitedly handed me an unwrapped box sealed with packaging tape. I looked at him curiously. I usually always know. This year I had no clue. I opened up the box to reveal a smallish orange sack. A backpacking hammock. Oh that man. There's just something about being able to hang a hammock in the woods, on a mountain. I've wanted one for forever. And like most things lately, there it was sittin right in front of me.
In the wee hours of being 30, I dressed early and allotted enough time to curl my hair instead of letting it dry on my commute. I wore my trusty green dress. I had painted my nails and toes the night before, something I hadn't done in at least a year. I was at the very least going to approach thirty with some sort of finesse. Work threw me a surprise lunch party, complete with a special red chair with a balloon attached, Hawaiian music and a surprising thunderstorm that we witness in awe from the third floor balcony. It continued into the afternoon, and for the first time since I've lived here, something was cancelled due to rain. Truckee Thursdays. I figured some people would be deterred by the rain but we had enough people to have a lovely dinner and after bar conversation and I even got to eat a cupcake on the way home.
I had the entire day off on Friday as at my work, your birthday is a paid holiday. Eve and I decided to walk around Wanderlust together before the rain came in again. On our way out, we stopped at Honest Tea's Honest Compliment booth. They instructed us to write a compliment to one another on a chalkboard and reveal it on the count of three to each other and then they take a photo. The vendor gushed at how many people hug, laugh and one mom even got a bit teary with her daughter. I wrote to Eve about how much she inspires me to be a better everything with her beautiful heart. I was going to transcribe Jesse McCartney's Beautiful Soul lyrics but there wasn't enough room.
On the count of three, we showed each other our compliments and just started blubbering like babies. Eve's chalk compliment was that I always put others first and she's lucky to have me as a friend. And in that moment, gratitude just spilled all over the place, in the form of tears, with the realization that here I am, living in Tahoe, a place that not a lot of people think that they can live, and live within 15 minutes of the woman who stands in front of me, who has known me since I was a mess of a 17 year old and still manages to be one of the most supportive, positive, loving influences in my life. It's been a year and these moments always make me stop and say, "How did I get here and how do I stay this grateful?"
We continued to openly weep in public and tried to laugh in between sobs because this vendor lady was real uncomfortable. "No no these are happy tears" we tried to say as we hugged each other. She gave us a free bottle of tea, possibly to make us go away. Later, I played softball with a ton of new friends who gave me a card and threw a bbq on the coaches' pier. The sunset was so epic that my friend Ali said, "It's so pretty I just wanna whisper." It felt like a family bbq and maybe it was, with my Tahoe family that makes my OH/MI family feel a little less far away.
After dinner on Saturday, I was given this incredible sunset at Northstar.
After not a lot of deliberation, full of amazing sushi, sake and a German chocolate cake martini, we headed to the woods with a six pack. The four of us drove down a fire road to reach this giant rock that we sat on and watched the weirdly humid sky, sometimes bright with stars and sometimes cloudy with lightening. I swore I saw a shooting star and wished on it, a lot. Alex said, "I always just wish that this will all keep going." I nodded. What do you wish for when everything you've ever wanted is right in front of you?
We got lost on the fire roads for a bit, just driving around in the mountains at night with best friends, laughing as Alex hung out of the car, finally relenting to the map to take us home.
Sunday we hiked on the east shore, with a picnic, new hammocks and the knowledge that there would be rain storms coming in. As we picked out the perfect hammock spot overlooking Spooner Lake, we heard rumbling. Our relaxation didn't last long. Once we packed up and started back to the Jeep, giant raindrops started plopping on our heads. Almost instantly we were in the middle of a straight downpour. Paul and I just smiled. We couldn't remember the last time it rained this hard and we enjoyed every second. We fast walked, hand in hand, to the Jeep, soaking wet and full of smiles.
For all of the stress I put on myself to celebrate this 30th birthday right, I think I finally figured it out. I was told to "jump in the flow" and things just worked out, so perfectly. I wanted 30 to be perfect. But I realized that just accepting "whatever will be" is so much better.
I don't think having a perfect life should be anyone's goal, or buying the perfect home, landing the perfect job or finding the perfect mate. I think we always have to stay motivated to be happy, to welcome happiness in as a daily routine and know that no matter our situation, we can be happy, because our situations are constantly changing. It's up to us to decide what to do with what we've got right in front of us.
30 used to seem so old. Now I feel like I'm just getting started.
My birthday started and ended with a hammock, but sandwiched in between was just another fantastic Tahoe weekend sharing this epic life with new and old friends. Blessed beyond words.