Today is my little brother’s birthday. He’s 23, and he’s seen a lot of change in his life. I remember the day he was born-it was the day of the major earthquake in Los Angeles that collapsed the freeway. I spent the whole morning while he was being born watching that coverage and waiting for my stepdad to come out and tell me all about my new baby sister. My mom was SO convinced that he was a girl, that they hadn’t even thought of a boy’s name as a possibility. Even though they hadn’t had a confirming ultrasound. But anyway, my stepdad came out and told me it was a boy, and I asked if he was sure. He gave me a look that said he’d SEEN THINGS, and told me he was sure. That kid changed our lives in a million little ways, and only a few of them were bad. Kidding! Jesse, you’re a pretty rad guy. Sometimes knowing what you don’t want in your life is more important than knowing what you do want. And I’m very, very proud of you for living the life you choose. I see you like twice a year, but if you ever need anything, I’m here for you.
Jesse’s birthday got me thinking about my own, inevitably. It’s just shy of 2 months away. And, I gotta be honest, this upcoming birthday, 10 years ago, was a ginormous turning point in my life. When I turned 29, it was a game changer. I started realizing that by NOT choosing things, I was still making a choice (yes, Jeff, that’s a Rush reference for you. Enjoy it, because it will not happen again). I was in a stagnant relationship with a man I now realize was pretty emotionally abusive. We’d been together nearly 6 years, 6 important freaking years in your life-your mid 20’s. And he told me that I was dumb to want to be married, that I’d make ugly babies, and that if I wanted to have groceries for the house it was my choice but I’d be paying for them. Yes, that’s a one-sided summation of all his terrible qualities, but the point is I started thinking about what I wanted in my life. That at 29, some options were just no longer going to be available to me. And a few months into that year of life, I realized that an ambivalent partner who once told me that I had all the confidence of a limp penis was not better than being on my own. So I turned to him and I told him I wanted more for myself. I changed my life, though for pretty much the rest of that year I was in a pretty tough place
I sit tonight in the house I bought myself in that 29th year and I am so much happier than I ever thought I could be at 29. I’m more confident, though I still have a long way to go. I enjoy my job, when at 29 I was just entering the company I’ve grown to love. I’m married to the most amazing, supportive, funny man I’ve ever known. And I’ve grown to embrace what I enjoy. That’s dogs, exercise, cross stitch, a good book and a warm blanket. And wine. Probably not in that order.
So I want to enter 39 as a much happier woman than the uncertain Laura who turned 29. And I want to do so by supporting my favorite causes. Stay tuned for further updates, and if you love dogs even a little bit as much as I do, let me know-we’ll make sure you’re on the invite list for this as-yet-theoretical charity birthday event!