Saturday, June 12, 2010


This past Thursday was my 21st birthday. It goes without saying that I had a great time-- what I remember of it, anyway. But it was landmark in more than the fact that I am now able to walk into a U.S liquor store without being run out; it showed me how far I've come in the past year and more.

21 Things I Managed to Accomplish by 21:

1.) Found, applied for, negotiated, and moved into my first "big girl" off-campus apartment.

2.) Come to terms with love and loss. Who I was in the fall changed radically with the death of someone I loved. Though the loss of a life shouldn't be taken lightly or spun in any light other than tragic, it did make me mature more quickly than I would have ever thought possible. Because of this, I've been able to maintain a much more realistic outlook on the loss of friendships, lovers, and situations than I ever was able to before. And I also realized the benefits to taking time out of every day to quietly remember someone.

3.) Spending a semester in Italy did more than expand my thinking on the world and love of clothing and shoes; it also made me more intimately aware of who I am, what I am capable of, and what I believe in and will stand for. This may have made me seem more demanding, opinionated, or quick-tempered, but it's become apparent that if people can't see past those characteristics to the driving force behind them-- can't recognize what I need; aren't willing to see things from both sides; get equally frustrated or mad instead of trying to come to a conclusion that suits both parties-- then they don't either know me or want to know me enough to know what's best for me.

4.) My mother looked at me the other day and in a tone of relief that was a little disconcerting, exclaimed, "You've finally grown into such a pretty young woman." Ok, ok, I'll be the one to say it-- I have not always been the most attractive specimen of womanhood. Most of it was elective. But I was also damn awkward for a long time. I hit 20, and BAM! I was someone new. My body shape changed. My face got leaner and more mature. My hair finally grew into acceptable submission. And this morning, when I stopped to talk to the painters as I left my apartment, I realized through their shyness that I've become to sort of girl who makes men nervous. Looks are not everything, but they mean more to the person they belong to than most of us are willing to admit to.

5.) Bought my first big-name designer item-- the vintage Louie messenger bag.

6.) Walked into a liquor store in the U.S, and belonged there.

7.) Spent the night on an Italian beach watching a meteor shower.

8.) Climbed an active volcano.

9.) Traveled extensively to places I have never been by myself, never got lost, never panicked, and never backed down from the challenges.

10.) Cried in public for the first time in my life since I was a toddler.

11.) From being a juvenile delinquent in high school, became a damn good and Dean's List college student who is involved on and off campus. (Key point: Finding out how to separate your professional and social lives.)

12.) Learned 2 other languages.

13.) Found, negotiated, bought, and learned how to drive a stick-shift.

14.) Became a runner. There will be no marathons in my life, but I'm a runner all the same.

15.) Recognized the fact that I am also an emotional runner.

16.) Learned when to say "yes," learned when to say "whatever you want," learned when to say "I'm sorry," learned how to say "I don't think so," learned how to say "Absolutely not!" and what situations to apply them all to.

17.) Though proposed to twice, was wise enough to say "no" both times.

18.) Rode one of the painted cows on Church Street. It goes without being said that this happened the night of my 21st birthday. Yes, there is photographic evidence. It will come a bit later.

19.) Among other things while nannying, taught a baby how to say "elephant," "lion," and "bear;" how to fist-bump, and how to swim. In doing so, helped shape a young life for two years.

20.) Can now pair food and wine and make some kick-ass authentic Italian meals.

21.) Started this blog. It may not be what defines me, but it's become a major part of my life, and for being a part of it, I thank all of you.

22 Things I Want To Accomplish by 22:

1.) Turn this blog into a website with advertisements from local businesses. The good news is, I have friends to build websites for a living and for fun. The bad news is, once this gets accomplished, I have a sneaking suspicion I'm going to have to start referring to myself as an "entrepreneur." And I can't spell that word, let alone live up to it.

2.) Have the sort of relationship that I want-- not the one that someone else wants.

3.) Publish something in Glamour, Cosmopolitan, ELLE; writing publications of note like the New Yorker, The Atlantic, etc.; or a well-heeled website.

4.) Get a "real job" I don't despise, and make enough to start saving for the first time in my life instead of living hand-to-mouth.

5.) Start saving for the first time in my life. Because come college graduation, it's not just me anymore-- it's me AND my horse I'm providing for. (If you don't understand the bond between women and horses, you can substitute the word "baby" for horse, and get the gist.)

6.) Compete again. I was a competitive rider from the age of 9, but with the start of college, showing fell by the way-side. I'm relaxed enough now that it's not about the ribbons and high scores anymore-- it's about seeing the changes and how far you've come as a team with your horse. (She used to try to kill me. Now she cuddles. I'd say that's an accomplishment better than any blue ribbon right there.)

7.) Pass my GREs, and start grad school.

8.) Give a hitch-hiker a ride.

9.) Get a dog again.

10.) See the desert.

11.) Get back to Disney World and let my inner child run rampant again.

12.) Read all of Edward Abbey's novels.

13.) Model for a piece of artwork. I came close for doing it for cash in Italy, and it looks like I may be in the same pose-ition (hahaha, bad puns, I can't resist them!) again this summer. My mom did it when she was in college, and I think there's something amazing about being able to look back at a portrait of you later in life and say, "That was me. That was what I looked like. Those are the same moles, the same toes, the same scars, the same birthmark. And that's art."

14.) Ride a motorcycle.

15.) Take a bar-tending class. I love talking to people, and I love alcohol, so why not combine two loves and make some money while doing it?

16.) Birthday sex. Possibly the one day out of a year when you can ask for whatever you want and make someone feel obligated to do it. Though you shouldn't take advantage of this situation...everyone does.

17.) Not over-draw my checking account ONCE.

18.) Become more comfortable with the more traditional aspects of dating. I feel like a freak of nature having to admit this, but I really feel as if my love life would improve if I did not turn paying the bill into a full-on brawl.

19.) Start having Boy's Nights like I already have Girl's Nights. Because I love my boys just as much, if not sometimes more, than I love my ladies, and it's time to start showing them that appreciation.

20.) Start painting and sketching again.

21.) Find a charity I really believe in and donate to them.

22.) Continue doing things that stretch my comfort level and make me grow and expand.


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