jessica tholmer
Updated Aug 15, 2016 @ 12:19 am
Credit: Jessica Tholmer

One of my favorite EINTKILF traditions is the birthday edition. I have always viewed birthdays as a more important day than New Year’s Eve — a day in which I reflect, set goals, and remind myself how far I have come in the past year. My birthday is in two days, and I’m turning 29 years old — an age that is both slightly scary and invigorating.

I have been saying I am “almost 30” for YEARS, but now it’s finally almost true. I am almost 30. And here’s what I know.


You can always go home again

During my 28th year, I knew a few things. I knew it was my last year in the small town that I had called home for the past decade of my life. I knew I was going to leave my job. I knew I was in a relationship that I didn’t want to be in — one I never should have been in, really.

I didn’t know that the bridges I had built for myself years before would be the ones I would travel back across, though this time with more confidence, passion, calm, and certainty. I left that job for a company I had previously worked for, I moved back to a city I had already tried to live in, and I spent the latter half of my 28th year quietly, blissfully, assuredly reuniting with the only man that has ever really had a hold on me.

They say you can never go home again, but in my life, it kinda feels like you sure can.

Do it for her

I did not learn that women are capable of anything in my 28th year, but you know what I did learn? I caucused for Hillary Clinton in a very pro-Bernie Sanders community. I stood up alongside 12 other people in a room of 600+ Bernie supporters. I had men yell in my face, question my motives, accuse me of voting for Clinton only because she’s a woman, and accuse me of not knowing any better because I am young.

But as I stood there, I thought about Clinton’s strength. I didn’t back down, because she never has. Now, many of us are with her, but I always was. Political unrest has always strongly affected my personal life. My 28th year was no different, but it taught me a different kind of strength and courage.

Nostalgia matters

Not just in my own life — though 28 was very much a year of revisiting my past — but in all of our lives. It might be due to the harsh reality of our world, especially in the height of the most disturbing and terrifying election in decades; but as a culture, we have leaned pretty heavily on nostalgia in recent years. Think about it: Fuller House, X-Files, Gilmore Girls. Movies like Ghostbusters, remade superhero films, continuations of book series we all loved. It’s not coincidental, and it’s great to embrace it.

I spent a LOT of my 28th year watching The X-Files and I regret nothing.

Everything is worth the wait

I wrote this specifically thinking about Leo DiCaprio finally winning his first (!!!) Oscar — a feat for him as much as myself, tbh. But I mean it in other ways, too. Even if it seems like something is gone forever, it might notbe — and you maybe shouldn’t completely move on.

(The moment Leo won!)

I’m talking about Leo, but also Mulder and Scully, but also my love life.

Settle into yourself

Let yourself take the time required to figure out what you need to be happy. Let yourself forgive and love. Let yourself re-establish your friendships. Let yourself grieve for past choices and sacrifices. Let your toxic friendships fade away un-dramatically. Spend time with the people you really want to spend time with. Let yourself choose yourself. Settle into what you need and want in your life. It is, after all, yours.

Happy birthday to me! (And to all of my fellow Leo loves.)

All images via author and/or author’s best friend.