The gift from Kathleen:
Non-Alcoholic Sangria… and the recipe: https://www.thekitchn.com/recipe-non-alcoholic-sangria-170254
Happy Independence Day to my American readers! I turned 30 at 6:23 am and I’m grateful for those who will come later to celebrate my milestone of a birthday.
I’m thankful for Kathleen, Diane, and Linda. Kathleen gave me a thoughtful gift of daily affirmations and a card. Diane left a birthday card in my work mailbox and I was telling her about some of my anxiety about turning 30. Linda was listening. An hour after she left, she came back and I exclaimed, “that was a quick weekend!” She handed me a card and said, “happy birthday! I didn’t know; I hope you enjoy!” I’m verklempt and I’m thankful for each and every one of them. Terry also sent me a birthday card and people from both jobs wished me well.
What are you thankful for?
Today is my last day of being a young woman in my 20s; in two hours I will be crossing the bridge from 29 to a young woman that will be 30.
It has been one hell of a decade and one I didn’t imagine would happen as a naive teenager on 3 July 2009. I had hopes for a relationship that I’m glad didn’t pan out and when he broke up with me on 27 September 2009, I never looked back. I focused on myself and seized opportunities from learning Arabic to exploring different locations with my Arabic class; working the library and a paid internship to working the library and a full-time job; publishing four books on Amazon; graduating from college; traveling to Canada; going for permanent residency and later being denied because of my silly job; working to try again–it’ll work in my 30s!– traveling in general; meeting new friends; losing Nan; losing Olivia and Mimi; learning how to ice skate; polar plunges; BODY PIERCING; and Wraith as a gift to myself six weeks before my actual birthday. Also, the love of people in my life.
The pool and truck pictures were from my 20th birthday on 4 July 2009. The truck belonged to my ex and I was learning how to drive. I realized after I failed the test for the 9th time that me and driving weren’t an item either. I get too anxious and I rely on public transit. 2009 is when I met Marsha, Elizabeth, Spencer, Mary, TJ, and the Sykes group.
I got my nose pierced, learned Arabic and learned how to belly dance. Reuben and Janna from my Arabic class.
Worked as a Mary Kay consultant for a few weeks before I realized it was a ponzi scheme. Learned more Arabic; participated in my first polar plunge; met Christina; went to Green Bay, WI for the first time; went to NYC for the first time with my Arabic class; Marsha and I participated in a Halloween Fun Run.
I meet Jared and Dave in Wisconsin. Dave and I met up for a few years after that, but lost touch after our last meet in May 2015. Jared and I are still friends. Nan was also diagnosed with cancer and was given six months.
2012 – Piercer calls me a war horse. I have a high tolerance to pain.
Nan passes on 1/25/2013; I graduate from WCU. I joined a flag football team for 2 weeks. Went to my first Ravens and Orioles games.
I tried moving to Detroit, but realized nope. First thought of Canada and working in Canada while living in Detroit. Mom and I went to Memphis. I went to my first Twiztid show and met my idols for the first time.
Worked at the Senior Center, the seniors loved me just as much as I loved them; turned 26, went to NYC; first fulltime job; beginning to skate.
I went to Toronto,met Michelle who became a lifelong friend, met Moe, decided I was going to move to Canada and I started the process. Went to DC where one of the museum’s had a pottery demo. Matin is a potter from Afghanistan and we had fun chatting after. He came to Philadelphia in November, remembered me, called me his friend, and let me try pottery. Also, went to Asbury Park for the first time, caught up with Jared and met his friends. Beginning to skate better, but still afraid. Getting my 13th piercing.
I was invited by the Canadian government to apply for residency, was refused because of my silly job and money, beginning of health issues, Juggalo March, polar plunge, and confident skater.
Diagnosed with early celiac disease, improved health, going to try Canada again in the next few years. Diwali and Shabbot. I met Twiztid again and they remembered me, embraced me in warm hugs.
I look forward to what my 30s have to offer. I know I will be surprised 10 years from now, just like I am surprised about how many adventures I had in my 20s. I can’t wait to meet more people to take selfies with; May be I’ll add 44,000 more photos to my Google collection. That’s how many I have now!
You know, I have a lot to be grateful for. I am surrounded by people who love me and while not all of my friends can make my birthday, James, his wife, and my family are coming to make my 30th birthday special.
Mom bought a cornhole game for the outdoors; I think I’ll bring up boardgames for those of us who want to stay in to beat the heat. Boardgames are fun too. 😊
I’m thinking about having a homemade guestbook – a few blank scrapbook pages for people to sign and write well-wishes or anything they feel like. Ah, sentimental Jess is coming out.
I’m also thinking about putting some scrapbooks out from things I did in my 20s. Travel, school, (I have to make a few pages about graduation), and maybe I’ll put out my Happiness Box scrapbooks. I know it sounds silly, but I think it’ll be joyful to share memories from my 20s and what I have to look forward to in my 30s. I’m nowhere near done Happiness Box 2018 scrapbook, but I can share what I have done.
I have photos of me getting pierced and I’m going to put those out too. Maybe I’ll put those photos in with one of the school albums or include it with Wraith and make an alternative mish-mash of body modification in my 20s. I’m sure my aunts and uncles won’t look at them, but my cousins might. No one might, but I love what I did and each thing I had done brought much joy.
In 2011, I started making a yearbook scrapbook about my sophomore year in college. Never finished it, but I have an extra album laying around and I might put what I have done so far in. Or it can be a mish-mash of everything. I’ll do that… I have the knack of being random at times.
My birthday will be fun, regardless.
This afternoon I had the pleasure of visiting Terry, one of my library co-workers, this afternoon. She texted me earlier this morning stating 2 PM was fine to come over to swim. At 2, I went over and was greeted by her husband and two of the three cats. Donnie and Alfie were happy to see me. They saw me out to the pool, where Terry greeted me.
This was my first time swimming with Wraith. I took my Go Pro and I didn’t see the photos until I got home, but only one photo has half of Wraith. I have to remember that GoPro is the opposite, so I will have to turn to the right side for better photos. Terry liked Wraith and helped spray on sunscreen. I applied it twice, once an hour, to protect him.
Terry and I chatted as I swam. She did get in for a little bit, but I stayed in for two hours. She has a lovely pool and it was a beautiful day for laps. In the last half an hour, I got out to dry, and we had Pepsi and chatted about different things.
I’m welcomed over anytime and I am very grateful for Terry and her husband. I am grateful for their welcoming nature and including me.
Hear ye! Hear ye! The Spring edition of the Happiness Box Project Initiative!
Rain, rain, go away, come again some other day…
…except an other day became everyday. This spring brought us too much rain, but I didn’t let the dreary skies bring me down. I didn’t let heavy rains ruin my goal of trying something new each day.
April showers not only brings May flowers, but also new friends. In March, Jac was my Lyft driver and he gave me his band’s CD. He also gave me a sticker with his Instagram and I decided to follow. I went to his show on 5 April 2019 at Forest and Main in Ambler, PA and loved his style. It was an hour bus ride to a town I haven’t really visited before, but Ambler is a nice small town with lovely boutiques and friendly people. As I waited for Jac with No K’s set, I sat with a young family and had the joy of chatting with them until the show started. Jac is a great performer and Jac with No K is a talented group of young men; the family I sat with thought so too and their young children loved dancing to the music too. I’ve had the opportunity to see him a few times since and I can’t wait to see what the rest of this summer brings in terms of seeing him again.
May saw many rainy days as well, but I went ax throwing for the first time on 10 May 2019 and learned that I am a natural. I kept hitting bullseyes and fours. It inspired me to get a tattoo and at first I wanted to get a hatchet girl, but decided against it for now. I had a better idea and the idea came to life when the sun decided to show up and the weather started heating up at the end of May. The Wraith has been one of my favourite Insane Clown Posse albums for the past fifteen years and I decided to get it as a tattoo.
I joined the inked club on 26 May 2019; Christina accompanied me for moral support. Antman, my artist, walked me back, placed the drawing of the Wraith on my ribcage, and after I approved the location, he had me lay down on the leather bed. I took a deep breath; people told me that the ribcage would hurt, however, I have a high tolerance to pain and it felt good. Forty minutes later, my first tattoo—the Wraith—was born. Christina took a few photos of the tattoo when it was done. I’ve been taking photos of the Wraith each day for the past month—I’m in love with my tattoo.
Many new experiences bloomed in the Spring, growth that added to the joyful beauty of my life. These experiences have made me very happy, as new experiences tend to make others more joyful and resilient, and I can’t wait to experience new things this summer. I hope that all of you will have the opportunity to do the same this summer.
Have a great time in the sun, fun with friends and family, and I hope that you create long lasting memories filled with laughter. Please remember that joy is portible and can be shared with everyone. See you in the fall!