Thursday, May 12, 2011

My twenty fourth year started with a prom-themed birthday party, where a balloon arch made a lovely impromptu photo booth for such terrifying pictures to be taken.

I started my first big kid job. I had my own office and it was painted yellow and I could close the door and do push-ups or read during my lonely lunch breaks if I wanted. I felt calm.

I sprained the shit out of my ankle. It was like my foot swallowed a grapefruit; it make a sound like snapping four toothpicks at once.

I planted my first garden, little tomato sprouts my dad had grown from seed. The pepper plants occasionally produced a twisted claw of a pepper, but the tomatoes exploded, these yellow pear-shaped fruits climbing the fence into the neighbor's yard. I was making two giant pots of tomato soup every week just to keep up.

Nick turned 30. I tried to give him 30 little gifts but ran out of ideas and money. "I think your 30s are really going to suit you," I kept saying over and over. He didn't disagree.

I decided to train for a half marathon. At first, I couldn't do it. I'd stop after a mile, silently chastising myself for weakness as I walked home in the heat. Then, I could do it. I did it four times a week, sometimes with friends and their dogs, but mostly I did it alone.

We spent a quick weekend in Hocking Hills, (over)eating at our favorite Mexican restaurant in Athens for every meal. I thought I was booking a cabin, but I really booked a hotel room at a state park. I inexpertly kayaked for the first time, trapping us over and over again in the muddy reeds.

We went to one funeral. We went to four weddings. My cousin adopted a baby girl. Another cousin gave birth to a baby boy. Both healthy little screamers.

We went to Ann Arbor and saw Billy Bragg perform. We felt, somewhat sheepishly, transformed. We rode our bikes in the cold rain through the town, still humming with excitement through all the winding streets.

I ran 13.1 miles, all at once, on purpose. It felt great, then briefly very terrible, then great again. My parents, siblings, and Nick came out to cheer for me. It made my heart light, and my stomach hungry. I felt, suddenly and frighteningly, capable of doing difficult things.

Nick asked me to marry him, which I thought sounded like a great idea. We started planning a wedding, which is in some ways easier than everyone says, and in other ways totally annoying.

We spent a weekend in D.C. with my future brother- and sister-in-law, eating tons of food, shopping holiday markets, and walking the silent Capitol at night.

We found a cozy place with the right amount of space on a beautiful street, and we could even afford it. We made a million plans a day.

This is twenty five now. I am not trying to tire it out with potential, but I think it's going to be pretty great.

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