Friday, December 26, 2014

Em is (finally) Thriving at Thirty

Being the youngest of all of my friends has not always been fun, but it has had a few perks.  The age difference didn't really set in until everyone (with the exception of me) started driving. I wouldn't have that privilege until my last year of high school...thankfully, all my friends were happy to chauffeur me around.  The next major milestone was turning 18. That one didn't really bother me, I was still in college with everyone and didn't have to miss out due to being too young.  All was fine and good until the world turned 21.

While my friends headed to the bars wearing tiaras and sashes donning their new right of passage, this girl was still trolling house parties (or staying home and crying about missing out).  Thankfully, my girls were willing to take a "night off" and stay home with me, after hitting the store of course.  When the golden gates of 21 opened for me (after a year or more of all my besties), I felt I had finally arrived.  There was nothing more for me to be behind on... now, I was in front.  I got to be the young one and as everyone hit 25 then 30, I was still holding on to being in my twenties as I felt so young and fancy free. But alas, today is the day I turn in my 20 card and swap it for a classy and lady-like 30 card.  It's time for me to cross over.

I. Am. 30. With my previous birthdays I never felt much different, but this time I do.  I feel like an adult,  like a real person, like this is my coming of age, well...age. Maybe that is because I am finally "living the dream" and have arrived at the place in my life I have always fantasized for myself. There are so many things I am thankful for it makes turning 30 seem more like an honor than something I dread. While describing this to Nic she was surprised that I didn't own this "adulthood" I was blabbing on about once I became a mother.  And maybe I did, but that was already four months ago, for some reason this birthday just seemed more real.

The past three decades have really flown by.  I can't recall many hardships which makes me feel even more grateful for all I have and how I got here. So, I'd like to travel through these past three decades and recall my top ten memories of the time period.  I am suddenly inspired by the theme Nic and my TH so brilliantly thought up for my big debut into adulthood: "Thirty and Thriving, A Trip Through the Decades".

Here I am as a little 80's baby, bonnet and all...I think I am a perfect mix of my two boys!
How most of my childhood friends remember me...
  • Being born.  While I don't recall this event personally, I do love to force my Thriving Mommy to tell me the story of..."____years ago today" each year after Christmas dinner. Since Santa didn't quite have me ready for Christmas day, he saved me for the next morning. While my TM dreads this activity and wonders when I'll grow out of it, the answer is never. I LOVE it.
  • My early years bring back memories of spending time in Alameda where I was born and where my father continued to live. I can see the beach I went to every day and can smell the salt while I watched my dad windsurf. I loved taking the ferry across the bay and heading to San Francisco and Angel Island to explore.
  • I can feel the sun on my skin as I recall running round like Mogli from Jungle Book in only my underwear at my grandparents house getting dirty and making everyday an adventure.
  • Neon everything, side pony tails, and my huge glasses that I started wearing at the young age of two.
  • Being a boss at my elementary school on the playground and taking no mercy when playing handball, four square, kickball, Power Rangers (I was pink, duh) and hot lava monster. And that was only at school.  Don't think for a second I didn't also own the "Waves" soccer field and Quito Little League diamond. 
  • Racing through my homework and having it checked by my Geena so I could head outside for hours and play with my Poppa before the sun set and it was time to come in for dinner.  
  • When I was lucky enough to be allowed to watch TV, and squealing with glee while watching, "Legends of the Hidden Temple", "Out of This World" , "Salute Your Shorts" and "Saved by the Bell". 
  • Thinking sneaking to the living room and staying up past my bedtime to watch SNICK was the most dangerous thing I could ever do. I mean, I could barely stand to watch, "Are You Afraid of the Dark?" was terrifying.
  • Meeting my very best friend and nonbiological sister KK at the top of the slide of the first day of first grade. It feels like yesterday I was making fun of her "lame" dress and wondering why she had a bow in her hair, yet still being drawn to her.  We were meant to be together forever.
  • Convincing myself I was meant to be a child star as I belted out my fourth grade solos in the school plays.
Even when trying to be "gansta"I managed to earn Student of the Week...complete with my fancy contacts I got in '96
R&B super group, Shades of Grey....circa 1998
  • Moving on to middle school and going from being a big 4th grader to a measly 5th grader and wanting to die because the 8th graders honestly looked like they were 18.
  • Continuing to carry on my legacy on the playground and quickly realizing that "big" kids don't play anymore, I mean there were 8th graders here...let's just sit around on benches and look cool.
  • Wearing boxer shorts under jeans, pumas with fat laces and trying to change clothes when I got to school... didn't anyone realize I was trying to be a "chola?!"
  • Falling in love with the likes of Aaliyah, Timbaland and Ginuwine and sneaking around my house to watch MTV and BET (back when they actually showed music videos). I considered it gathering intel to use for my all girl R&B group, "Shades of Grey"
  • Meeting another life long bestie Maria and spending HOURS on AOL talking to God knows who (2 14/f  Cali!), but again, that was before creepers took over the internet. 
  • Trying to make black lip liner work for me, and not get caught by my mom.
  • Hating my mom with every cell in my body because she wouldn't let me have a pager..fine I'll get a fake one and wear it in my pocket just to look cool...take that!
  • Moving to a new town and starting fresh knowing no one at my high school. Thankfully I quickly fell in with my "Night Riders" and could be found driving up and down Los Gatos Blvd playing music loud enough to go deaf and hoping people would see us driving...if not they could catch us in a minute when we drove by again.
  • Quickly meeting my "big sister" and gateway to hanging out with the older crowed, the junior to my freshmen, my guardian angel, Shell.
  • Having athletics take over my high school career yet still trying to keep up with my friends and go to a few parties...only to get caught with each lie and therefore pretty much be grounded for four years.
My "big sister" Shell and I reunited after high school at Chico State, clearly I was still enjoying those ranch salads.
Nic mingling with her non-sorority sisters, my "Sups Excluse" girls...we are missing our fourth, Lex in this pic though!
NIc and myself on my long awaited bar crawl
Sups Exluse is COMPLETE!
  • College tours in So Cal with Maria, knowing that was where I was supposed to be. Driving through Huntington Beach in the passenger seat, Maria at the wheel, Sublime blaring from the speakers...all the while her mom laid down in the backseat pretending not to be there.
  • Not getting into any schools in So Cal and thinking my world was ending.  Making the decision to head north, to the middle of nowhere at the young age of 17 to attend Chico State. Not to leave my drama queen behind, I screamed the entire 4 hour drive up and begged my mom to turn the car around all while blasting LeAnne Rimes, "Please Remember".
  • Quickly falling in love with Chico State, rushing a sorority the first weeks at school and meeting the "sisters" and friends who I know will be in my life forever (Shell, my Sups Excluse girls, Megs, Ash and Lex, and of course, Nic).
  • Meeting my future husband at the start of my second year and finally having a real boyfriend, you know, one who I actually talked to in person.
  • Watching my beefy athletic body turn to cafeteria food and alcohol mush then thankfully reuniting with my love of intense cardio and exercise.
  • Retiring "rocket dogs", gauchos with wife beaters, "pregnant" tops and the ever popular ribbon choker.
  • Turning 21 and having my closest friends celebrate with me when I "finally" joined them at the bars.
  • Leaving college behind with a mixture of relief and utter sadness as those truly are the greatest (and most horrific) years of my life.  
  • Becoming a working career lady and moving away from home (again to another middle of nowhere town, this one sadly far worse) to prove  my devotion to the man of my dreams.
  • Getting engaged, married and being a bridesmaid to all of my closest friends...then BABIES!
Best bachelorette ever!
25 years later, KK and I are still far beyond best friends...
With the first 30 years of my life behind me, I can only imagine what is in store for the next 30.  It is hard to fathom that anything could get much better. Now I guess I just get to live.  Everything is pretty much done, I have my career, my house, my husband and my children.  Time to enjoy all the hard work and relish in the glory of being exactly where I want to be.

Thank you to my amazing family for all your never ending support and love, I cannot begin to tell you how much I love you all.  You have given me everything these past 30 years and have made me who I am, let's celebrate!

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