Birthday Post: 28 Awesome Things from My 28th Year

The best part about getting older is that every year gets more awesome than the one before it. In honor of my 28th birthday, let’s celebrate 28 awesome things that happened since my last birthday!

  1. I ran my second Great River Ragnar Relay. 195 miles, 2 days, 12 friends, 2 vans. I slept on a football field, I cursed the hills of Stillwater, I bonked. And yet, it was still awesome and I might be considering a 2015 team.
  2. My bridesmaids threw a phenomenal Mad Hatter’s Tea bridal shower and a great bachelorette party. I have some excellent women in my life.
  3. I attended the Internet Cat Video Festival at the State Fair. So did 10,999 other people. It was awesome.
  4. We went to a Mumford & Sons concert. I don’t go to very many big concerts in big venues, not because I am a music snob but because I kind of don’t like traffic and crowds and concerts are always too loud and [insert other old-ladyish excuses here]. I am glad I was able to put most of that aside and attend this concert because Mumford is one of my favorite groups and their concert did not disappoint.
  5. I tried single-track mountain biking for the first time. Thought I maybe liked it, then Aaron told me the course I was on was the “adaptive” course. The “easy” course would be harder. Went over one large rock placed unfortunately close to a stump on the easy track and decided my career as a single-track mountain biker had come to an end. Bike commuting/touring is where my bespoked heart lies and where my bespoked heart will stay.
  6. I took a new job at MDH. I love where I work, but I was not loving always being in grant-funded positions and the fear that if the money ran out, the job would too. So when a health communications job opened up on a team I was already working with, I gobbled it up. And I love what I do. I feel challenged but confident in my work, I am given a lot of opportunities, and I work with a huge variety of people. All in the name of a healthier Minnesota. So cool.
  7. I ran the Big Gay Race. I took a light running load last summer, after feeling a bit burnt out after training for the Fargo Half, but I knew this was a race I had to be a part of. Earlier in the summer Minnesota had legalized gay marriage, and that felt so significant to me in the year we were getting married that I wanted to do everything I could to support it and the legislators, community organizers, and activists that made it happen. With almost no training, it was one of my faster 5K times ever! That’s the power of love.
  8. Friends Emily and Sean took us to the Autumn Brew Review, which is maybe akin to an adult playplace in that, once you get in the door, it is sort of a total free-for-all. $50 gets you a small beer sampling glass and access to dozens of breweries. Unlimited pours. This is the event I think of when I tell people, “You have to live your real life while you are wedding planning. You have to sometimes drink 40 samples of beer the week before, wake up the next morning wickedly hungover.” Well, maybe not that exactly but I was so grateful for this day in so many ways.
  9. Surrounded by my favorite friends and family, I married my better half. I would do it again in a heartbeat.

    Lightsaber candlesticks. Using The Force to light the unity candle.
  10. We honeymooned in Hawaii, which is perhaps the most peaceful place on the earth.

    At Hanalei Beach, after learning to surf/survive.
    At Hanalei Beach, after learning to surf/survive.
  11. We hiked the Kalalau Trail along the Napali Coast. Sure, there were some tears. And sure, I told my husband of 10 days that I hated him. But when we finally got to the Kalalau Beach, it was entirely worth the 11 grueling miles.

    Hiking. For a long time.
    Hiking. For a long time.
  12. When I was a kid, we used to play in my grandparents’ barn. In the workshop/tack room part of the barn, my grandpa kept a beer can collection. Many memories from my childhood include sneaking in there and hearing my sister or cousin yell after me, “Don’t touch those! Those are Grandpa’s!” But as a kid, I couldn’t help but be drawn to the bright colors of the cans’ designs, how the size, shape, and design of the can changed over time, and how my grandpa knew something about every can. I remember telling my sister, “Someday, I want Grandpa’s beer cans.” But I had never told my grandpa. So when I heard he was considering selling them, I knew they had to be mine. So a few years ago I said I wanted them. Then I looked around the spaces I was living: a small 3 bedroom apartment with roommates, my sister’s basement, and then a smaller 500 sq. ft. apartment… none seemed suitable to host 3800 beer cans (yes, that number is correct). Finally having our own house with a little bit of storage space, the beer can collection came home in November. It is awesome.
  13. I didn’t quit skiing and I actually even, might kind of like it a little bit.
  14. Drove (well, Dad drove and I talked) 10 hours round trip to eat at a Pizza Hut buffet with my grandparents. In a snowstorm. And I would do it again.
  15. I ran the TC Valentine’s Day 5K as part of the TC Summit Challenge. Besides that it was not above 0 degrees for the entirety of the race, I loved running it and I put up a decent time for the first race of the season.
  16. Then I ran the 100% Irish for a Day 5K and shaved almost a minute off my 5K time in the course of a month. Still working hard(ish) to get a sub-30 5K.
  17. Philip Glass concert in Decorah. Not only is he an amazing pianist, he’s Ira Glass’s cousin!
  18. I ran Goldy’s 10 Mile.And then ate donuts.
  19. I attended my very first opera and it was not outdated, stuffy, or weird. It was awesome, modern, and weird. I loved it.
  20. We went to Portland and had beer and donuts and rode bikes. Which is the same stuff we do in Minneapolis.

    Watching soccer in Portland. Those stands were FILLED for the women’s team!
  21. I re-started taking art classes again. I like dedicating time to painting again and I like having a class to give feedback and challenge me. Some days are hard– my classmates are are incredibly talented, hyper-realistic painters and I… I make a lot of bold moves with the paint brush. paint
  22. Nothing says, “1/32nd Norwegian!” like hosting a Syttende Mai party.
  23. I got Harvard educated in Boston. trip highlights also include dinner with Amy (see items 24 &25) and seeing the Boston Marathon finish line.
  24. We celebrated Amy’s bachelorette party with wine tasting at 2 local wineries. I even took home some tips for caring for our grapevine!

    I just sometimes get SUPER excited about things.
    I just sometimes get SUPER excited about things.
  25. I traveled back to the East Coast to celebrate the wedding of Amy and Denny in Nanagassett Nagganassett Narranseggit Rhode Island. They hosted a beautiful beachside weekend and I got to spend some much-needed quality time with my bestie, Bridget. And if one is to measure the quality of a party by the hangover it leaves in it’s wake, then this party went all the way to 11. Uff dah.
  26. Aaron and I took a spur of the moment camping trip in Jay Cooke State Park, including a mini-brew tour of Duluth. This was my first time doing a hike in campsite, and let me tell you, things I did not miss about drive-up sites include: other peoples’ rude kids, RVs, televisions playing from RVs, slamming car doors, the wafting scent of a community bathroom, and yappy dogs.
  27. I ran my 2nd ever half marathon, the Red, White, and Boom! TC Half, and set a PR by 11 minutes. ELEVEN minutes. That is huge.

    Happy? Exhausted? Hapausted.
    Happy? Exhausted? Hapausted.
  28. I would love to say I don’t get sentimental about very many things, but I do. But some things just really get you, right? I kicked off birthday week this year getting to celebrate one of my most favorite couples, Shivan & Travis. I have known them for only 6 years, but I have lived with them, camped with them, gotten drunk with them, wallowed in hangovers with them, celebrated graduations and weddings and birthdays with them, learned from them, admired them, (tried to) entertain them, and loved them fully and completely. Everyone deserves a great wedding day, but no one more than these two, who- even on the day meant to celebrate themselves- were treating their bridal party to special surprises and including a million thoughtful details in their day meant to honor or highlight the people around them. Holy love buckets, ya know?

Let’s raise a toast to another race around the sun!


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