(thirty)one for the Books
It’s hard to imagine that today is already my birthday. Last year, when I turned thirty, it was all about accomplishing things. Checking things off my list. What could I DO before I hit the big 3-Oh. What tasks could I claim I’d completed prior to the anniversary of my birth. And it was lots and lots of fun. But this year’s been different. Maybe because it’s not an “important” birthday like 18 or 21 or anything ending in a zero or a five. Granted, Switchfoot and Taylor Swift have done their best to put a new spark in random year birthdays with their respective odes to “24” and “22,” but to be honest, 31 is sort of the ho-hum of ages. It’s not a milestone. No one says, “oh! 31! wow….that’s such a great age. I couldn’t WAIT to turn 31!” They just kind of say, “yup. that’s the birthday that comes after 30,” and go on with their day.
But I don’t want you to think I’m down on 31, because I’m not at all. I’m totally up for it and whatever it brings with it, but as I was thinking about how this year feels different from the giddy project-oriented fervor of turning 30, I realized that maybe this year is less about what I can accomplish, and more about reflecting on who I am. Am I the type of person I want to be? Am I kind, patient and loving? Do I value others? Do I value myself? If I wasn’t me, would I want me as a friend? (That last one is always a tricky one!) I’ve learned alot about myself in this past year. Or maybe “learned” isn’t the best word, as I think a good chunk of it are things I already knew but wasn’t ready to acknowledge or embrace, change or come to terms with.
I think in the end what matters most isn’t what we did, but how we lived and loved and who we were. I want to be personally fulfilled, but also extend grace and hope and friendship to others and build them up as I have been built up by those family and friends who have invested so deeply in me. A tall order for a nondescript year like thirty-one.
But. Today’s birthday blog isn’t all introspection and heart searching. Here’s the fun part. Since it’s my birthday, and with birthdays come presents, we’re actually going to give one lucky reader a present. Yup. It’s my birthday, but you get the gift. Pretty sweet, huh? My awesome friend Annie Downs is an amazing author (you may remember my review of her first book, From Head to Foot, a few years ago) and she’s about to release her second book Speak Love this Tuesday, August 20th! And because Annie is generous, and because I frankly can’t think of a better way to celebrate my birthday than giving away books (if you don’t know about my love affair with the written word, you can check that out here) by one of my favorite people/authors, on our blog….we’re giving away an autographed combo pack to celebrate: that’s right, an autographed copy of her book Perfectly Unique, AND a copy of the new Speak Love. Maybe you’re thinking that you’re not a teenage girl so this isn’t really for you. But I’m going to stop you right there and tell you to enter anyway. Because surely you have a daughter, niece, girlfriend, neighbor, sister, friend, auntie, granddaughter, coach, or babysitter who IS a teenage girl, and well….I bet she has a birthday coming up sometime in the next year and would LOVE this as a gift. Or, even if you’re not a TEEN girl, if you’re a girl of any sort, I bet you’ll be encouraged like crazy by reading these. I know I was. And who doesn’t need a little encouragement every now and then? (Especially free, autographed encouragement shipped right to your doorstep.)
This is a TwoGirlsBlog first, as we’ve never done a give-away before, and frankly, we’re not quite sure how it should all work. But here’s the ground rules that we’re going to roll with.
1. Anyone can enter. We have a spam filter that we monitor so we promise to choose a real person and not a bot.
2. To enter, just leave a comment below telling us your favorite age and the title of your favorite book, or a book you’ve read recently…and your first name only.
3. We’ll pick a winner by putting the comments in a hat and drawing one. seriously. (sorry, no bonus points for creative writing.)
4. We’ll announce the winner Saturday, August 17th on the blog. (Any comments posted before Friday, August 16th @ 11:59 PM Central Time will be entered to win.) So you totally have a few days to comment and tell all your friends to enter as well.
5. We’ll email the winner at whatever email address you entered to comment and find out what name and address you’d like your autographed books sent to, and ship ’em your way the last week of August. (please note…we will never sell, trade, barter, post, share, give-away or otherwise release your email address or personal information.)