Tuesday, October 4, 2011

On the Other Side of the Fence

Well, my twenty-third birthday came and went, and it all seems a tad bittersweet. I spent the first seventeen years of my life feeling kind of sad every time I hit another year... and the chances of Peter Pan coming to my window steadily decreased. But then eighteen came and things got kind of exciting. I'd just gotten my license and then I started up a job teaching sewing at Jo-Ann fabrics. Both experiences gave me confidence and a sense of independence that I'd never had before (in a good way, not a rebellious one - it was a big step for shy little me to have to solve problems for myself). Anyway, ever since then, each birthday has presented itself as an exciting adventure, bringing new opportunities (and responsibilities) and hopefully moving me closer towards my life goals and the things that I have set out to accomplish.

And then came this birthday. I am as excited as ever, but now I also feel just a tiny bit unnerved, finding myself at the age by which I once assumed I'd have accomplished all my goals... and be married and settled down. And I'm not.

It's been a bit strange to think about, now that I am that age I've always looked up to. But I couldn't be more grateful to be exactly where I am.

I'm so glad all my life goals are not yet accomplished. (That would be incredibly boring. ;) I'm looking forward to a life full of continuing adventures and explorations... and remaining ambitious, full of purpose and ideas, until I die. 

And I'm so glad I'm not married and settled down. My brain at thirteen couldn't wrap itself around all the things I would still have to learn when I was twenty-three, and how thankful I'd be that I still have time to learn, to grow, and to become (hopefully) a much nicer person than I am now. There's a whole lot of selfish to get out of my system. I know it's never really going to be gone completely, but am thankful for the time I've been given to keep working at it. 

God is so good, and so much bigger than I can imagine. (Even with an imagination as big and sometimes frightening as the one He's given me. ;) And each birthday is a sweet reminder of how He's always got me moving forward, towards the goal, and that He is able to keep my feet from slipping. That's awfully comforting when you're thinking about college at a time when everyone else your age is finishing it, still hacking away at part-time jobs and freelance work, and wondering if that lifelong-dream career will ever materialize. I'm excited for the adventure, but thankful that He can see the road map. ;)

My birthday was relaxing and lovely (it was last Thursday, the 29th, in case you wanted to know ;). The weather was supposed to be miserable and rain all day long, but it held back so that I could snap some quick photos in the woods. And later the sun showed me its face, albeit briefly.

I super-nanny-ied for a couple of hours, came home and made myself an Angel Food Cake with blueberries inside and cream cheese frosting. Mum whipped up Chicken Parmesan and Gnocchi for supper. I was in Italian food heaven, and the dessert was just perfect. Photos and some recipes will be forthcoming. :)

I spend the evening with my immediate family, my grandmother and some cousins who are currently in town. It was low-key, cozy, and just about perfect.

The woodsy photo shoot was inspired by this hand-me-down plaid shirt (you know who you are! ;), which usually wouldn't be my thing at all, but I paired it up with a favorite white tank, some $3.50 thrift-store jeans and the awesome black boots I got at the end of last winter... and I ended up getting some nice complements on the plaid. I really think I like it. :) Over the years I've moved further away from the "eyelet-lace and pearls" look that used to be my style (although I still love ladylike ensembles!) and it's times like this when I am pleasantly surprised to find something I never would have thought would be "me," suddenly seem so right.

What I'm Wearing:
  • Plaid Shirt by (I'll post the brand info as soon as I can get my hands on it ;)
  • White Tank by willi smith - from T.J.Maxx
  • Jeans by Mossimo Premium Denim - thrifted
  • Boots by (see above) - from Target
  • Earrings - from Greenwich Market, England
  • Bracelet - hand-me-down
I hope you all have a blessed and relaxing rest of the week. I'm chilling with my family and just taking things slow for a little bit. It's perfect...

Life is beautiful. God is good. :)



Rissi said...

Happy belated birthday, Amanda!

The comment you made about making yourself a cake makes me smile because I have done that and my cousin laughs at me - she's like "umm... it's your birthday and you are making the cake!?"

Life is beautiful when we take the time to enjoy the simple things. =)

Bets said...

Glad you had a good birthday, and thank you for sharing your thoughts. I remember 23 being a big thought provoking birthday for me too.

Love the creative outfit and photoshoot. :) I also generally have avoided plaid, but you make it look great!

Erin said...

Happy Birthday!
I can totally relate to these feelings - this year for me was 25 and it felt so OLD but also incredibly young :). It's lovely that God has given you peace about where you are in life.

Amanda Flynn said...

Rissi - Haha! I've been surprised at how many people laughed when I mention I'd made my cake. Growing up, it was always a special treat to get to make our own birthday cake, first with my Nana and then my Mum. It was the only time of year that we got to mix one up, lather it in frosting, and decorate it however we wanted. And today I find that I still have fun and get immense satisfaction from doing it myself. Three cheers for birthday girls who make their own cakes! :)

Bets - Ahh! Apparently I haven't visited your blog in a long time (I am really bad at keeping up with blogs :P), and you had a baby!! Congratulations!!! Hope you're doing well and thanks for stopping by. I always love your comments. :)

Erin - Exactly how I feel. It's kind of a scary feeling, but also really nice. ;) Thanks so much for sharing!

MInTheGap said...

This is a great post-- I appreciate the way that you see the change in perspective and your trust in God is inspiring!

Aurora said...

The thing that stood out for me the most in this post, was your mentioning contemplating college, when most people are done with it...because it reminded me of two things...

First, it reminded me of when I was in college...and one of my friends and classmates was much, much older than the rest of us--25! He looked older, he seemed older, more like a man, less like a kid...but he'd gotten a scholarship to our university as an actor, and was pursuing his dream, despite his age. (It ended well. Michael Berry has gone on to star on Broadway in shows like Les Miz and Next to Normal. :))

The other story is a personal favorite of mine--about the aunt of a friend...who, in her 60's, decided to go back to school to get her PhD in art history...so she could become a museum curator! Going back to school at that age is admirable enough--but museum curator jobs simply AREN'T available...you just sit around, waiting for someone in one of those positions, to die. (Seriously!)

Whenever I'm contemplating something I think I'm too old for, I remember that woman, and her ability to push past that discomfort, for something she truly wanted. :)

(I don't know if she ever did get that museum curator position...but I doubt she ever regretted pushing past her fears, regardless of whether or not she wound up where she thought she would!)

Natasha Atkerson said...

Cute outfit, and great thoughts.
Life can be frustrating if you let it get to you. I'm not sure what God wants me to do either (Although I'm only 17). We have to remember that though we don't know the future, we know who holds the future. I think God is leading us into our futures, we just don't know it! All of a sudden you'll be right where He wants you, and you didn't even notice.
On a funny side not I admire that you made angel food cake! I haven't tried that since the last time I "tried" to make angel food cake, and it exploded in the oven!
A Modest Fashion Blog:

Carrie said...

I love this post, every inch, from the fae-like woodland setting in the pictures to the thoughtful reflection. Thanks. :)

SisterlyLove said...

Wow, you look so beautiful! I mean, you always do but there's just something extra in these photo's. I guess it's the birthday glow.

Happy Birthday! And take it from a 28 year old. It just gets better.


Amanda Flynn said...

MIn The Gap - Thanks for stopping by and commenting! :)

Aurora - Thanks so much for sharing those stories! I LOVE hearing about older people who are still pursuing their dreams. I remember reading an article a few years back about a woman in her 80s who was working to get her degree for the first time. I find that so inspiring. :)

Natasha - lol! Thanks for sharing your cake story! I would recommend giving Joy of Baking's recipe a try. Everything I've ever made from there has turned out great. :) http://www.joyofbaking.com/AngelFoodCake.html

Carrie - Thank YOU. :)

Genevieve - Aww, thank you. That is so nice. And I'm so glad it gets better! FIFTY-three is going to be the best! ;)

Emma said...

It's good to here of someone else contemplating college at the age when most are finishing. I'm only 21, but I still feel rather nervous about being the "old one" when I finally get to school this spring or next fall. It's nice to know I'm not the only one. My life actually looks rather similar at the moment... odd jobs, trying to build my writing career, helping out at home, and trying to move toward college.

Thanks ever so for sharing, AmandaBeth. Your posts never fail to inspire and encourage.


Anonymous said...

Congratulations on your Birthday :)

Regarding college and being older, I say go for it! I graduated with my RN degree at 29 and belive me there were plenty of people my age and even older. I'm very happy for you.

Simply me said...

Aww Amanda! Your posts always make me smile! I love reading your blog and seeing the beautiful pictures! Speaking of those...gorgeous much?
I'm so glad you had a great birthday and this post makes me miss you tons!
Love you!

Amanda Flynn said...

Emma - Thank you so much for your comment. Your blog has always been an inspiration to me as well. :) And I wish you THE BEST with all your college plans. Let's keep each other updated. :)

Nikki - Thank you!

Alina - Love you, too! And can't wait to see you soon! :)