Two Birthday Revelations

This past Friday, Alex threw me a 35th birthday party. He invited friends over for wine and Prosecco, and we ate our weight in Trader Joe’s appetizers. It was so much fun! And I also had two big revelations…

1. Do you have a scary age? I don’t usually get nervous about birthdays, but turning 35 was throwing me for a loop. It just felt so adult, so official. Although I’m still figuring things out—work/life balance, how to stop worrying so much, how to layer eyeshadow—35 felt like an age where I should have it firmly together.

But then I got a birthday card in the mail from my mother-in-law, Joyce, who is turning 80 this summer. It was one of those lovely Hallmark cards with flowers on the front and a scripted poem inside. And on the bottom, she had written, “Happy Birthday, Joanna. 35. What a wonderful age.”

And suddenly I felt really lucky and excited to be 35. Through Joyce’s eyes, 35 seemed so young and full of adventure. It completely changed the way I had been thinking about the age—I realized that we’re actually living “the good old days” and I should stop worrying and enjoy them. :)

What about you? How old are you? What’s your scary age, if you have one?

2. Alex’s other brilliant idea: The evening of the party, our kiddos spent the night with their beloved babysitter! We loaded them up with travel cribs and backpacks, and they were SO excited. The next morning, Anton got to chew on his very first bagel, while Toby and his sitter did yoga to soothing music…
Go, Tobes!

Meanwhile, Alex and I got to sleep WAY in and just hang out quietly that morning. It was surprisingly romantic and wonderful to have our apartment to ourselves—like it was before we had kids! It felt like a mini vacation for all of us. Thank you so much to Alex (and our sitter)!!!

Have you ever farmed your kids out to their babysitter’s house for the night? :) Or a relative? Did they enjoy it? Thank you also for your sweet birthday notes!

P.S. Gold candles, and birthday cheese.

(Thanks to Jason for the photos)

  1. Nancy V. says...

    For some reason, 70 hit me hard. I suddenly realized that if I intended to do something, I’d better get to it! Happy birthday, Joanna; your party sounds like it was wonderful.

  2. Deana says...

    Happy Birthday! I’ll be 64 this year, and that Beatle song “When I’m 64” keeps running through my head. And to think I first heard it when I got the album for my 13th birthday. Remember when we couldn’t wait to be older?

  3. Karen says...

    Happy b-day,Joanna,39is a great age!

  4. I just turned 60 and I have to say, it’s a WONDERFUL age.

  5. I just turned 32 on Wednesday, and was struck by sadness that I complete wasn’t expecting! My boyfriend posted a photo of me from a few years ago on instagram wishing me a happy birthday and for some reason seeing that old photo made me miss a time where not having it figured out seemed more acceptable. Now at 32, I had hoped I would be closer, and in many ways I am, but I still can’t make sense of what I want the next however many years to look like.
    I think the other thing about your 30’s is people don’t tell each other what it looks like. We all have ideas about our 20’s but all I was ever really taught about your 30’s is that’s when you’re an adult and you are probably a parent so that’s what your life is about. But if you’re not a parent, and/or don’t feel much like an ‘adult’, what are our 30’s supposed to look like?

  6. We “farm” our boys out every now and then, the last time being this past Saturday night. It’s important now and then to let them go off on their own “adventure” without the parent (in my opinion). Of course, I don’t just let them stay with anyone – only my parents or mother-in-law. But it is nice to be able to have a continuous, uninterrupted night’s sleep and wake up when you’re ready to wake up. And they love it, too! It truly is like an adventure to them, especially if it’s with someone they are really comfortable with. Naturally, though, the second we leave or they’re out the door, I miss them terribly and after our parents-night-out (PNO) is done, we can’t wait to get them back to make our family whole again. Ah, such is a parent’s life.
    As far as the age thing, I firmly believe in living in the moment and, while sometimes, I get a little twitchy with how old I’m getting (34 in about 2 weeks), I realize that I’m not really that old and I should just enjoy it now because in 10 years, when I’m almost 44 (!), I’ll be kicking myself for ever thinking I was old at 34. So, don’t sweat it – it’s just a number. You’re only as old as you feel and sometimes, I fell like I’m 24. So not bad, eh? :) Happy Belated Birthday!!

  7. Sounds like you had a fun birthday. I have a baby almost the exact same age as Anton (I think they might have even been born the same week) and you are giving me hope with this talk of leaving your kids with a babysitter overnight! What I wouldn’t give to drink a little bit too much wine and sleep in like the old days. Maybe I can rope my parents into this, hmmm…

  8. Just turned 34 on Feb 1. That was an unexpected scary age.

  9. Just the other day I was thinking about my age 46 thinking that it seemed so old then the sad news of actor philip seymore Hoffman dying i looked at a picture of him and thought wow he was so young realizing that I was the same age as me.

  10. Happy Birthday – what a wonderful age indeed ;)

  11. what a nice bithday party!!!
    sleepovers are such a great adventure for kids :)

  12. My scary age was 30. Leaving my 20s was hard. I am naturally a little immature and I think I liked that my less mature qualities were backed by “being in my 20s” like it made it OK. So I had a good cry at midnight when I realized in that moment, I was now in my 30s. Ever since, I haven’t really cared, I just turned 33.

  13. Lovely birthday, lovely party. I am 58 and have to admit that 45 was a hard one for me. And with 60 looming in the near future, it is REALLy bothering me. I don’t feel that different than when I was in my 20’s–mentally anyway! I don’t know that you ever feel totally accomplished or established at any age. It all just keeps changing, and we have to keep changing too. My own sweet baby is now a beautiful, smart, wonderful 24 year old getting her PhD.

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  15. Happy Birthday Jo! I had a birthday on the 18th of Jan- I’ve never been a good birthday-er. As a child i didnt enjoy them, i dislike cake, and disliked having that much attention drawn to me. after turning twenty i began hating them because i felt like it was another year i hadnt accomplished my goals of going to law school and saving the world and becoming a millionaire. This year, the week before my 27th birthday, my husband brought up the fact that he wanted us to start thinking about getting pregnant, we are buying a house, both have great jobs, and are doing better than all of our freinds our age. So, for m birthday this year, i gave myself the gift of admiring myself and refusing to judge myself or what should have been or what i should have done. It wouldn’t be fair to my husband to wallow in the past, when everything in our lives is so perfect and we are so fortunate. A friend of mine is a professional cheerleader- so my husband arranged to have her, the whole squad, and the rest of our close loving friends go out and have a blast. I had one of the best nights of my life, let go of the insecurities and had birthday cheerleaders… and I now feel like i can take on 28,29,and ….30… with gusto and joy, and just try to relish in my personal and professional accomplishments. and stop worrying about what other people think of them.

  16. Happy belated birthday, Joanna!

    I turned 35 a few months ago and although I initially thought I’d take it hard, I’ve decided to learn to embrace it. I will say it was a bit of a shock when I first heard someone say “35” since I can actually recall my mother being this age.

    Glad to hear you had a lovely birthday weekend celebrating with friends. Cheers!

  17. I’m turning 37 in April. Every year for the past 6 years has been scary:)

  18. Happy birthday! Thank you for this. I am turning 30 and feel remarkably okay with it, but fear 35. Your story was reassuring.

    Also, I love the first photo of Tobes–he’s concentrating so hard! Adorable.

  19. Happy Birthday! I just turned 34 in January. I definitely feel so adult, so much older, especially now that I’m a mom! Have a wonderful year! xxoo

  20. Happy Birthday, Joanna (I love that dress)! I can relate to your feelings as I just turned 36 (kinda my scary age since I’m officially heading towards my late 30’s!). I also just read the post about your brother-in-law. How difficult and shocking for you all. I was diagnosed with brain cancer in 2012, and it really is the shock of the lifetime. Turning 36 last month, though, meant one more year of GOOD and stable health (hooray!), and more time with my 2 year old son and my sweet husband. I think that has slightly changed the aging process for me – it’s a celebration of more time and life!

    I am praying for Paul and Lucy and your whole family. Totally changing my diet has given me so much hope for the future. There is so much one can do with nutrition alone. The website is an incredible resource, as are people like Kris Carr and Max Gerson. I hope he has the opportunity to look into them!

  21. Looks like you had a wonderful birthday! hugs to you! :) My scary age is 40 I think . . . yet again that’s when I’m going to buy my Audi hahaha. My old age car ;)

  22. I’m 29 and turning 30 in June, which I was excited about but am getting more nervous. I feel like I should have a better idea of who I am and where I’m going by now. I hate all those article of “30 people under 30 who have done amazing things” and I just think what am I doing wrong??? I still don’t know where I am going? Not that my life is a wreck – I have a stable and well-paying job (that i’m not always am sure that I like), a great husband, good friends and family, am buying a house and am in grad school. So I guess that should be enough! The grass always seems greener in someone else’s life though.

  23. I loved reading through all of these comments! They made me smile. I’m turning 25 next, which I will admit, totally snuck up on me. But it doesn’t really scare me… each age brings new adventures. :)

    – Lynn-Holly