Sunday, February 27, 2011


At dinner on my 28th birthday. First birthday with Nick since I turned 23!
Despite Nick's suggestion, I will not be spending this post discussing the top 27 things about being 27. Or by listing the top one thing of each of my 27 years (year 1: eating, year 2: talking, year 3: potty training, etc.). He insists it would get more interesting if I kept going.

But on many levels, I do think 27 has been a defining year in a number of ways. I have always joked that the actual definition of being an adult is having the old person trifecta: 1) a spouse, 2) a baby, and 3) a mortgage. Despite still having just one of the three boxes checked, I feel like I could now add a catchall 4th option: Any of the above three and/or you are 27 years old. I feel like, more than in other years, my 27th year was filled with milestones and life lessons that were clearly telling me I've crossed to the other side, regardless of what my own criteria may have been.  And once on the other side, the lessons seem to strike harder and sink deeper. So rather than recap the year, as I did at new years, I thought I'd touch on some of the new understandings I have.

A picture from the birthday golf round!
One of the things I've learned this year is how important it is to try new things. When Nick started dragging me to the driving range right before he deployed in 2009, I was reluctant. I mean, seriously, golf is for dads and grandmothers, right? And I certainly wasn't any good. But I figured at least it will be a way to spend time with Nick, so I borrowed some clubs and went. Last April when we scooped up his grandmother's clubs in New Jersey, I suddenly found myself with my own golf property, and I built on that to develop a new identity as a golfer, or if that's a stretch, someone who plays golf. This may sound oversimplified, but I think a lot of the reasons people don't try new things is they simply can't picture themselves as a runner or a SCUBA diver or a painter or a triathlete. I feel like once I "owned" the identity of being a golfer, I found myself dressing the part (golf skirt!) and looking forward to playing---even by myself---and relishing in the milestones: my first par, my first birdie, and yesterday (on my birthday, mind you!), my first time to score an even 100 (so close to my goal of shooting in the 90s!). There have been some ugly, ugly strokes and putts along the way. But I have a new hobby that I love, something I can do to meet new friends or even hang out with my dad. And hopefully, like MomMom, I can keep it up well into my 80s.

Another round of lessons, sadly, has been in my understanding of tragedies. I have touched on this a number of times in my recent reflections, of Khalil Gibran's ruminations about the interconnectedness of joy and sorrow. That our experience with sorrow increases our experiences with joy. That's all well and good, however, it doesn't prevent fatal accidents of brave heroes serving overseas. And it doesn't cure stage-four cancer among even the most joyful of believers. I have always known (in my head) that believing in God does not keep tragedy from affecting your life. But I feel like this year, I came to really know that. After watching dear friends go through unexplainable, devastating tragedies losing people they love---even tiny babies---way too soon, my only reaction at the end of the day is to take a deep breath... in... out... and accept that I don't have the answers. Life is mysterious. God is even more mysterious. And joys and tragedies will make their way onto our doorstep at random or like clockwork throughout our time on this planet. And at the end of the year, I can still choose to be joyful living in the mystery, especially after just a few moments ago looking at a photo album of a friend who endured three miscarriages in the past few years... a friend who now holds her precious miracle in her arms :)

Flying solo at a church potluck (I won the potato contest!)
And finally, the move to Guam is certainly a biggie in the growing up category. From the very beginning, watching the moving van pull up to our home in Coronado, I felt myself looking around wondering where the adults were who were going to oversee the movers and inventory all of our things as they disappear into shelters of cardboard and tape. I found myself with a clipboard in my hand and, yup, it was me. I suppose I've always been pretty self-sufficient, independent, etc. But that first day after Nick left and I was on Guam "by myself" for the first time, I definitely had to give myself a pep talk. You can do this. You can make this place your home. You can find meaningful ways to fill your time here. You can keep your relationships back home and find great new friends here too. So that's what I did, or at least have attempted to do. And it's not just for the sake of keeping the blog upbeat that I say I love it here. I really do. And I have come to appreciate what a gift of time and purpose it is for me to be here with Nick for these two years.

Me and Jane... I mean, Mom
All this growing up and yet, one more lesson this year is how nice it is to still be somebody's baby. For the previous five years living and working in various parts of the U.S., I had my mom listed as "Jane" in my cell phone. So whenever I needed work advice or wanted to catch up about things back home, I'd call Jane. In our first 48 hours on Guam, I got my new cell phone here. And she was the first phone number I punched in to call (partly because she's got one of the only numbers I still have memorized!). But when I went to save her number, she became "Mom" again, and always will be. Having all these new mom friends has made me so aware of the fact that birthdays are milestones as much (or more even) for our parents as for us. So, can't let the day pass without a little thank you :)

And on that note of thank you, thanks to all of you who make such an effort to keep in touch. For those who read regularly, for those who read sporadically, for those who don't read but call or email, for those who send me mail because you know it feels like summer camp when I get mail here, and for all of you who used my birthday as an opportunity to remind me I'm not as far away as I think... thank you! Keeping in touch truly is the best birthday gift of all. I look forward to hearing from you all more throughout my tenure at twenty-eight. And hey, the way the post office works around here, pretty sure my birthday will be continuing at the mailbox every day for the next few weeks or so! Woohoo!


  1. Goodness, you are so wise for your twenty seven years! I wish I had that much wisdom (and I'm 6 months older than you!), I'm glad it was a great birthday, miss you!

  2. awwww, happy bday lil p. you truly are wise beyond your years ;). love you & hope your box from me arrives sooooon!!! c'mon guam post people!!! :)

  3. Thanks, friends! I just realize this post headline is a little deceiving. I was recapping being 27 and am now 28. So Caitlyn, I am actually 6 months older than you, but age is relative anyway, right?


Hey there! This blog is no longer active. If you write a comment, I will receive it, but may not respond right away. Thanks for stopping by!