I love a good surprise. I’m the type who never snuck out of bed in the middle of the night to find presents hidden in closets, never flipped through checkbook registers to track where my Mom had spent money in the days before my birthday, never probed my parents for hints about gifts, never begged for opportunities to open gifts early, never trolled online bank accounts to see where Jason was spending money, never tried to peek when the UPS man delivered packages, never tried to figure out where Jason had hidden said deliveries from the UPS man. I like being surprised and I don’t like anything that detracts from surprises.
Jason says that I ruin surprises, but the reality is that sometimes I just figure things out without trying, like when he was trying to surprise me with a Thanksgiving visit when we first started dating long-distance, or when he was trying to surprise me with his marriage proposal. I figured little parts of both of those things out, but I really tried to find out as little as possible so that I could feel the excitement of the surprise in the moment.
Every year of my life has felt packed full of surprises – some better than others, but each filled with so many great moments that I never saw coming. My 28th year has been the same. I’ve been surprised this year by the growth of Blackboard Kitchen, by the offer to teach at a cooking school, by my own renewed commitment to teaching and to my students. I’ve been surprised by the discovery of what would become our first house, a home that we love and feel so content in. This year I’ve been surprised by how much I love my little windowsill garden. I’ve been surprised by a bounty of good books – Swamplandia by Karen Russell, Stern Men by Elizabeth Gilbert, Lucky Girls by Nell Freudenberger, Grace Eventually by Anne Lamott, Omnivore’s Dilemna by Michael Pollan. I've played outside with Jason and Ava on Christmas Day. I’ve attended food truck parties. I’ve come to love beets. I’ve spent time with amazing friends.
I never could have anticipated all that my 28th year has surprised me with. I told Jason this morning that this would be the last day that I was 28 years old. I told him that I would never be this young again. And then I realized that is the truth not just on birtheves, but every day. Every day I am the youngest that I will ever be. While that thought could be depressing, I’m instead going to challenge myself to be inspired by the thought: What can I do, today, to make sure that I make the most of it? What can I do today that I want to do before any more time passes? What can I do today to live in the moment?
Because I am 29 years old today I have two birthday wishes to ask of you:
1. Enjoy this day, because it is the youngest that you will ever be again in your life! You don’t have to do anything crazy or life-changing. Instead, just enjoy the day in any way you can
2. Tell a friend or two, or nine about Blackboard Kitchen! I am ridiculously thankful for all of you who have shared this last year of life with me. Thank you for being here and for reading and for caring. You all have been a truly fabulous surprise, one that I never saw coming.