Thirty Two


You know what’s weird?  Getting older.  I think it must be weird for everyone.

I’m celebrating a birthday this weekend.  The big 32.  That just sounds strange.  I was just getting used to 30, but I feel like I’m 26.  Somewhere.  Somehow.  The numbers feel off.

I’m not the kind of person who has life goals set for each year of life.  I don’t feel behind in the marriage game.  I can barely handle babysitting.  I’m not trying to reach the top of the baking ladder… that just sounds sticky.  I subscribe to the idea that working really hard and loving people better every day will get me where I want to be each day, week, month and year.  Too loose a plan?  I dunno.  It feels right.  It requires a lot of ever-changing lists…but it feels right.

Oh, also!

I don’t make myself a birthday cake and blog about it.  Birthday cake doesn’t taste as good if you make it for yourself.  It’s a thing.  This year I’m going to eat as many doughnuts as my heart desires.  This will probably fall in the 2 to 8.5 range… I’ll let you know where I land.  Ps.  My dream birthday cake is this Angel Food Cake with Vanilla Strawberries.  Hint (Dad, do you still read my blog?) Hint.

Every year I make a list of things I’ve gained perspective on, and a list of things that I’m still stubbornly trying to figure out.  The list is as shallow as selfies and as deep as God… because that’s exactly how life is.  On the real.  On the reg.

This Is That:  a list

(by ‘you’ I mean ‘me’, always.)

ONE: Have honest friendships.  You really can’t afford to be friends with someone who will let you have spinach in your teeth all night.  You’re not that graceful.

TWO: Take as many selfies as it takes for everyone to look good in the picture.  Come on… common courtesy.

THREE:  You only need one good purse… and it doesn’t have to be this season’s super expensive impossible bag.  Come on… a vintage Coach bag that you’ve brought back to life with leather polish is totally IT!

FOUR:  Upon entering ‘the club’ where people are drinking and dancing and acting a fool (and it’s so much fun), be aware of the fact that you look like you’re in your 30’s… because you are. You’re not fooling anyone. The 25 year old guy that yells in your ear that you look 28… he’s being nice and he’s a liar.  You look 32. It’s ok. Dazzle him with your awkward dance moves. He’s 25… who cares (not you!).

FIVE:  You glorify being busy …but you don’t know how to stop.  Maybe admitting it helps?  Realtalk:  You know what you should be glorifying.  It has nothing to do with you and everything to do with God.

SIX:  Any tiny annoyance you have before two martinis will be a big yell-y ISSUE after two martinis.  Think/Re-think those martinis.

SEVEN:  CAPS LOCK LIVING!  Think about it.

EIGHT:  You’re actually really cool. Not because anyone else thinks you are, but because you think you are.  The secret to being cool:  just think it true.  Others will follow suit.


NINE:  Rappers rap about some stooooopid stuff that you, as a classy lady, do not need to be/concern yourself with.  Pfffft.  In their dreams.  Can ladies start rapping about men with passion, integrity, a job, and nice shoes?  Yea…. it’s like that.

TEN:  Ask yourself ‘just who the heck do you think you are?’ in a very non-rhetorical way every once in a while.  The answer is important.

ELEVEN:  It doesn’t matter what size the clothing label says, it only matters that it feels good and falls well on your body.  AKA… you’re not that size anymore, kick it up a notch, it’s cool, love your thighs. GEEZ!

TWELVE:  When in doubt (which is often):  confetti and champagne.

THIRTEEN:  Go on a roller coaster at least once a year because they make you laugh-scream like nothing else on the planet.

FOURTEEN:  Tell your parents that you’re glad they’re your parents.  They’ll be like ‘Whaaaat!?  That’s a crazy thing to say!’, but they’ll feel it in their hearts and probably buy you lunch.  Do it because you mean it… not for the free lunch.

FIFTEEN:  Chill out. Halle Barry is pregnant.

SIXTEEN:  It’s ok to say things like ‘I don’t know.’.  It’s waaaay better than arguing a point when you’re not on solid ground.

SEVENTEEN:  What does it look like to dig deep every day?  It looks exhausting, and kinda terrifying, and kinda like the best days that ever happened day after day after day.

EIGHTEEN:  Get good at a thing and never apologize for being good at that thing.  It’s all yours.

NINETEEN:  Never trust someone who refers to themselves a ‘tastemaker’.  Don’t be fooled.  You won’t be bossed.

TWENTY:  Give more, even when you think you have nothing to give… you do!  Sidenote: I bought myself a Giving Key and I’m sponsoring another child with Compassion for my birthday.  Yes… selfie birthday presents.


TWENTY ONE:  You have a story to tell.  Everyone does!  Tell it proud!

Happy Birthday to Us!  We all have one, and I’m glad that we do!

Other times I wrote words:

On Turning TwentyOne   + What It’s Really Like  + I Accidentally Saw a Picture of You + Thirty Years of Learning 

sprinkle image credit Paola Parsons 

diva joy next to a bike image credit Whitney Adams


315 thoughts on “Thirty Two

  1. Happy Birthday, Mine is coming up next week- also 32nd, and I don’t plan to bake myself a cake either. Loved your bits to do- have a wonderful one. 32 is not about turning old- It really is just about us getting wiser. After all, you wouldn’t have said all this if you were not going to be 32.

    p.s Have been following your blog consistently, but this post totally made me comment.

  2. Enjoyed your birthday words. Have a good one! As to being 32 and feeling like, maybe 26, I remember my 72-year-old mom explaining she felt 25 inside. Now, I’m rounding the bend to 70 in July and looking forward to every minute of being 70 and feeling . . . well . . . 70, and 35, and 12, and 27, and 44 and 51, and sometimes 3. ; )

  3. Happy Birthday, Joy!
    That’s a great list – number sixteen especial strikes a guilty chord with me.
    I’m 34 this year – and the view from here’s not so bad, but I’m still working on lots of my stuff. Have a great day – hope it brings you cake, sprinkles and sunshine.

  4. I always love your deeper thoughts posts. And thanks for the backlinks to the others so I can go back and re-live them. The Turning 21 and the Saw a Picture posts are two of my faves, ever.

    Happy Birthday!!!!!!!!!!!!!! I especially like #18, to get good at something, and not apologize for it. Just that alone is plenty of food for thought for me.

    Have a wonderful bday and hope you’re doing something fun that you are super excited to be doing!

  5. Dang. This was all so important and the non-important things actually were. If that makes any sense. I dunno. I’m off to work on loving my thighs via a nice helping of chips and salsa.
    Happy birthday!

  6. Happy B-day this weekend with all the doughnuts, cake and sweet people in the world!!!
    In 5 weeks en 5 days i’m turning 32 (and still feel 23) and will certainly look through your list of points again then.

  7. Happy birthday! Eating donuts and sponsoring a child sounds like an awesome way to celebrate, and I wholeheartedly support eating as many donuts as you like. After all, you only turn 32 once!

  8. Happy Birthday, Joy!! Fabulous post. Enjoyed reading it. I think I’m enjoying my 30’s more than my 20’s. Well, physically, 20’s was better…but emotionally, I feel more at peace in my 30s.

  9. Happy early birthday, Joy! I think your list is great and has some important reminders about life. I hope you have a fabulous birthday week! (because a day is not enough!)

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