Month: May 2015

I am thirty years old today! At least in Hong Kong time. And I’ve been thinking about how my twenties have meant being loved and supported by smart, secure women who have helped me figure out how to be myself. Here are some nice things they’ve done for me in the last ten years.

  1. One friend who cooks like Ina Garten and gives advice like Dear Abby gave me the highest compliment of my food life: She served something I made for her at another party, and gave me credit for the inspiration!
  2. When we told my mom we were moving to another continent, instead of telling us about her own sadness she told me she was proud to have raised a daughter who wanted to try something big. (That’s when I realized what we were doing was sort of…serious.)
  3. My boss at my first real job noticed how openly I beat myself up about mistakes I made in my work, and she sat me down and said, “Nobody else likes to listen to bad self-talk, whether it’s about your body or your grammar or whatever. Plus it’s bad for you. What you are doing is bad self-talk, and you need to stop. You are learning how to do this job. Call it what it is: LEARNING LEARNING! Enough with the bad self talk.”
  4. When I cried and overshared more than a reasonable amount during RA training in college, my RD took me for a little walk and said, “Maybe you should try having some counseling.” I was completely mortified, and then I was completely a better human being for having listened to her…three years later.
  5. After a miscarriage, some really lovely friends brought me cooking magazines, chocolate, cards, and some wine. It was just right.
  6. A professor at SPU spent an hour with me (a lowly non-faculty staffer!) at a university focus group, and she took me aside after it was over and told me she thought I should be a professor someday. She told me I could spend my thirties doing the mom thing and the PhD thing in tandem, and then I should come back and be a professor. I’m kind of planning on it in the back of my mind, maybe mostly because I will follow any dream that began with flattery.
  7. Four women wore hideous neon green bridesmaid dresses and paid stupid J.Crew prices for them because I asked them to, because J.Crew bridal was brand new and it mattered to me.
  8. When I took a job that turned out to be full-time filing of receipts for lab rats, one woman helped me scheme a way to pay my rent through four other part-time jobs (building manager, geocaching-teambuilding thingie, nanny, preschool teacher), and I got to quit filing because of her.
  9. My college roommates kidnapped me and took me to Victoria, B.C., for my twenty-second birthday. They were completely stressed out in planning it but we had tea in Canada by noon, and it remains one of the best birthdays ever.
  10. Moms I nannied for (so many, many moms in my twenties) let me love their kids and feed them too many goldfish crackers and absolutely showed me how to share my own child with HIS babysitters (who have also kicked complete ass). I’m also grateful those moms never outed me for eating ice cream out of the cartons in their freezers. They must have known.
  11. A friend who gets to actually write books and teach people with them showed me her manuscript and agreed with me when I said her editor should NOT have cut my favorite part in her book. After the book was published her editor said they should have left it in. My heart grew three sizes.
  12. Both of my husband’s grandmas have sent me birthday cards every single year since I’ve known him. And usually with money and/or a Dairy Queen gift card inside!
  13. Once I stood up and told an embarrassing story in an all-staff meeting of 100 people because they needed a volunteer for “sharing” (that’s what happens when you work at a church, people expect you to have stories about feeling spiritually moved AT ALL TIMES), and then after the meeting I had an email from a new girl on staff and she said, “I think I like you, and I think we need to be friends.” And so we were, and now we always will be.
  14. Every single woman in the communications office at SPU cheered for me when I worked there. They genuinely wanted me to succeed as a co-worker and as a writer. They still do, and I can’t get over the value of having female colleagues root for you. It’s like free money.
  15. My RA told me I had a great little butt during my freshman year of college. I know women don’t really tell each other they have good butts, and it’s not like she went around commenting on everyone’s bodies. At all. But I remember that comment and it was straight up what I needed to hear (probably came after some bad self-talk, eh?). When you move in with 50 other women and share a bathroom, you need some positive encouragement about your body.
  16. One friend let us LIVE WITH HER (and her super nice husband!) when we couldn’t get a lease signed right away here in Hong Kong. Free rent is a pretty nice gift when you’ve known someone for two days. Another friend who is a lifer.
  17. My pastor told me it was okay to be confused about gender roles in marriage (and everywhere else), and that we could be on the path to figuring it out without totally having it figured out and God wouldn’t care. Applies to actually everything about God.
  18. In college I was obsessed with Grammar Girl, my podcasting idol, and she agreed to let me interview her via email for a paper I was writing. Later I got a call from a USA Today reporter (I’ll take what I can get), and she had referred me to them when they asked to talk to a fan. Another high I will not be able to match, ever.
  19. An older couple invited us to live in their basement after we sold our house but before we left for Hong Kong. The woman, who I’ve loved for years, didn’t get mad when my toddler trampled a good number of peonies playing toddler soccer. She invited us to dig around with her and then keep playing.
  20. An excellent cook in my life gave me a copper bowl because she knew I wanted to be a cook and she had an extra one. A most precious gift.

Here’s to another decade of being well-loved!