Wednesday, October 12, 2011


I am turning thirty tomorrow.

Everyone is full of advice, ranging from how your thirties are the best years of your life, to how I should have babies soon because I'm getting old, to how I should really be using sunscreen daily because serious wrinkles are right around the corner.

I'm excited, not really feeling any of the crisis OH MY GOD I'M OLD stuff at all.

I am happily married and living in a house and community that I love. I am near family. I am in the best shape of my entire life, having become a Runner about a year ago. I am in art school perfecting my skills as a metalsmith. I'm a working jeweler. I have friends. I love our cats. I am happy and excited to be turning thirty, but not sappily idealistic about what the next decade might hold.

If anything, the one poignant lesson that I've become more aware of at this age is that we really don't have that much time. I can imagine that those of you reading this who are in your sixties are just shaking your heads, thinking Oh, she has no idea. But I do have an idea, if only a small one.

In my twenties and teenage years, I was privileged to travel a lot. I always had the feeling that those places, those people I connected with on my travels would be part of my life again. I went to Roraima and felt like it was no big deal to go back. I went to Greece and had no doubt I'd visit again. Same thing with Cuba, Zimbabwe, Vietnam, Argentina. It seemed so easy to just hop on a plane and go. Time seemed infinite, and travel was one of a select few ways to use my resources.

I was sure I'd see them again, the people that touched my heart over the years. Hannah, Lambros, Gaby, Angel, the Yamamotos, Perry. The list expanded exponentially with living in Mozambique. I felt certain I'd reconnect at some point with all of these special people. Jenny, Kelly, Zahra, Anel, Claudia, Helen, Marcos, Bruno. There are too many to name, really, and now I wonder when, realistically, we'll ever cross paths again.

Time is short, energy fleeting, resources divided amongst many worthwhile dreams and goals (not to mention practical obligations). It is challenging at best to connect face-to-face with those we love. We are lucky to visit twice the places that make our hearts skip a beat. We are envious of those who do what they truly love because we recognize the risks that often go into those decisions.

We must make choices, many choices.

I hope that I choose wisely in the decade to come.


Kathrin said...

Happy Birthday to you Ali. Thirty.. what a great age!! Enjoy your special day!!!

NOLA said...

Happy birthday!! 30's are fab!

And yes, continue to choose wisely - but so often you're just choosing between multiple options which are all good (wow we are so privileged to be women in this time and place!) and just go forward and live your choice and no regrets!

Kim said...

Happy Birthday to you. No age wisdom to offer - just a jaunty tune and the fact that I celebrate the whole month of my birthday.
Pick your version. The classic Happy Birthday, the Beatles version, "You say it's your birthday" or the really new one I see in the commercials. I don't know the words so I'll just make them up as I go along.
I'll sing them all in honor of you today - and only my cats will be tortured with the noise.
Kim in Albuquerque

Erik Cleves Kristensen said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
El Erik said...

Happy Birthday Ali!!!! I wish for everyone to arrive at 30 like you!!! Cheers

Dad said...

Happy Birthday my dear daughter. You are so wise.

RD said...

Happy Birthday, Ali! At 30 (wow, was that really 20 years ago now!) I wasn't considering how little time we really do have, but today that is most definitely on my mind. The years fly by, whoosh! I feel I barely touch each day before it's gone from my reach. So, yes, make the most of each one. I cannot be recaptured. Have a wonderful new decade!

Marcia (123 blog) said...

Happy birthday, dear Ali!

Yip, 30's are fab but I must say it takes a lot more work to stay healthy and in shape :)

I so agree with you on the travel choices - we had a fleeting visit to Singapore in 2004 and I thought FOR SURE we'd be back "properly" in 5 years max - it's still on "the list".

Anyway, hope you had a great day and remember there's always a guest bed for you and Rico here if you ever want to visit Jhb/ SA.

When the kids are bigger we are for sure upping the travel again :)

Kathleen said...

gosh...i haven't been here for too, too long.
happy birthday, wise one.
xo you will rock your thirties. i just know it.

Safiya Outlines said...

Goodness! I think I can remember your 25th birthday on here!

Have a marvellous birthday, 30 is indeed a wonderful age and what you've sad about choices is so very true.

Anonymous said...

I hope your birthday was wonderful :)