a very realistic birthday wish list + turning 31

today on the blog: sharing a few thoughts about my 31st birthday + looking back at where I was last year. read the whole essay on jojotastic.com

What a year it’s been… I turn 31 on Friday and I’m feeling really introspective, mostly because the massive amount of change I’ve experienced at 30. Last year, I wrote about desperately needed stability especially in my home environment while also dipping my toe back into the dating pool. My, how things have changed: I’m in love, I own my first home, I’m in a city that I love and call home, I’m successfully running my own business. All really, really good stuff. Without being too cryptic, this is a vastly huge departure from where I was a few years ago and I am so deeply grateful. I can’t help but look back, but WOW how far I’ve come…

But back to the business of turning 31… people are asking me what gifts I’d like to receive this year and I cannot think of a single thing. Well, correction: I can think of things, but they are all very abstract and need-based. Is that what happens when you get older, particularly when you own a home? This sort of ‘phenomenon’ feels like something worth discussing. Is 31 the age when you consider the bigger picture, even though you so badly want to have a frivolous, silly birthday treat?? Right now it just feels like my birthday is any other day, one where I get yet another quote for a new roof and maybe remember to wash my hair. None of this sounds like a birthday treat to me at all and it actually kinda makes me sad.

For example, some things I actually want for my birthday…

Consistently hot water. Simple, right?? The fact is that water at the house isn’t always warm. Or lukewarm. Or anything other that frigid. And it’s not a matter of a new water heater, cuz I’ve explored that. I think my next course of very-adult-behavior is to get a plumber. Fun, right?? But really though, all I can think about is washing my hands and still having feeling in them afterwards.

A white picket fence. Currently, the house boasts an unsightly chain-link fence, not exactly blog-worthy. As cliché as it sounds, I want a white picket fence for the house SO badly. Can you even ask for a white picket fence for your birthday?? Kind of weird.

Trash removal. Yeah, I might be getting into really basic, mundane stuff here. The house has a trash problem: the sellers didn’t empty the bins before they left and the city didn’t turn on my trash pick up service, so my yard is literally bursting at the seams with moving boxes, packing paper, etc. It’s terrible. All I want for my birthday is for this crap to just go away. Dear City of Seattle… can you hear me?

Sleep. I’ve never been a good sleeper, but lately my sleep patterns have been even worse than ever. Mostly, it’s stress. I wake up around 3 am practically paralyzed by all the work the house needs, when I’m going to do it, and how I’m going to afford it. I never sleep past 7 anymore and I’m ready for bed by 8 pm most nights. Is this what happens at this age?

Then there’s the fact that I feel like I really need a break from it all. Spontaneity and a certain level of impulsiveness for fun have always been important to me, but right now I couldn’t feel less spontaneous! On Sunday night, an idea popped into my head: what if Sean and I go somewhere warm for my birthday? Seattle has been grey, wet, and gloomy for so long — it’s really getting to me. So I hopped on Kayak, Airbnb, and Google to see what I could find… and I found a lot, even things I could afford with only 5 days notice. But something held me back. I simply couldn’t pull the trigger, enter in my credit card number and just GO. Instead, when I got to the check out for the flights, I imagined putting the money toward the house, the roof, a gas stove… basically anything that felt more ‘adult’ and responsible. Suddenly, my need to be warm and see the sun felt frivolous, super low priority, and flat-out silly. I wrestled with the idea of an impromptu trip for my birthday for two days before deciding that we should just go for a weekend climbing trip here in Washington. I simply could. not. do. it. And I’m kind of mad at myself about it STILL. Am I no longer fun? Am I burdened by the house? The thing is that I have the money, I didn’t sink it all into the house from the start… but I’m just so scared that something will come up and I’ll need it. Or that I’ll want to travel again in the summer… or anything else, really. I hated making the decision and still don’t know if I’ve made the correct one.

Have you guys even felt like this? Am I being a spoiled birthday brat? Please, tell me!

photography by Jojotastic.