Hello friends! Today’s Sunday post is a bit different. I turned 38 this weekend and each new year has me feeling reflective of years past. I stood in my closet yesterday, suddenly deep in my thoughts, staring blankly at a few cotton dresses I might throw on when I thought – wait… did I make like, a five year plan a few years ago? Did I leave a note for myself? I know what I’m doing, right!?
I freaked out for a moment. Then another moment. Then I chose a floral cotton dress and took a deep breath. I’ve been leaving myself notes all along. For the last 11 years. Here, for better or worse, with you.
It’s funny having a record of all the things I’ve been SURE about for the last 11 years, though funny isn’t the right word. The right descriptive word exists somewhere between ‘mortified’ and ‘I-don’t-give-a-f*ck’. What’s that word?
Most of the word I’ve shared here over the years have been about butter, cream, pies, and cakes though some have been about boys, and future-husbands, and potential love interests. I expressed a lot of confidence in the words about butter and cake because I wanted you to charge into your own kitchens with that same fortitude. I felt a lot of hope and surety in the words about my future as though loveandsuch was mine to plan and control.
It’s a wonder to grow older and grow deeper and to have so many more questions that answers. You know?
I left a lot of notes.
In 2009 I left this note to myself (Dear Future Joy the Baker) after my first solo vacation. I took myself on a short road trip up California to finish my first book proposal and I wanted to remind my future self (I thought by then I’d surely be married with children) of what a glorious and freeing time I’d had. I’m happy to still be thriving in that glorious freedom – still buying myself the fancy shampoo – not stopping anytime soon mmkaythanks.
A few months later, in what can only be described as absolute boy-crazy blatherings I wrote How To Impress Boys With Baking. I think my current essay in the same vein would be something like Don’t Let A Dude In Your House – It’s So Nice They Won’t Ever Want To Leave. Which is the truth… hand to God.
In a moment of early social media heartache I wrote I Accidentally Saw A Picture of You. Now, those sorts of accidents are more ubiquitous and we have to stop ourselves from going down a late-night Instagram stalk. Honestly now I know that there’s nothing an Instagram-stalk can tell me that I actually want to know. I would now write the post, Wow I’m So Glad I Didn’t Marry You (or anyone, really). Aaaand, that’s that about that.
I still stand by this advice from eight years ago: In every situation, consider the likelihood of skinny-dipping. Act accordingly.
Other such gems can be found here, Things I’ve Learned In Thirty Years.
At 32 I visited New Orleans with two friends, not knowing that one day I’d live around the corner from where we rented bikes and tooled around. Proof positive that the future is a wonder and a mystery. I also felt really compelled to tell myself how to act in ‘the club’: 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!).
I wasn’t wrong. More: Thirty-Two.
Just a few years ago I was feeling pretty content at 35. I bought a house and a pair of diamond earrings. Just things – but that contentment continues and I try to foster it daily. This is 35.
In many ways it feels like Joy the Baker is a space that sort of stands still, but that can’t be true. I’m here swirling around, growing and learning, laughing and hurting – but the root as always been in butter and flour – sharing cakes and cookies. So many of you have been here since the very early days, finding your own way. Graduating and marrying and starting families and celebrating and mourning all that life is.
I hope today’s post inspires you to think back to your growth the past 11 years. It’s momentous – there’s no way it’s not. And for all the cringe, there are signs of growth as we expand the capacity of our hearts and the reach of our arms. It’s real hero-work to be look back and welcome your past self forward.
Let’s high-five and blow out another year of candles because wow what a privilege it all is.
I hope you have a most beautiful Sunday.
My love to you.