Tag Archives: memories

The Big 3-0

Yes, this is it. My 30th birthday is less than 2 hours away.  For the first time in my life I’m actually dreading turning another year older! I used to think people who hated revealing their age or experienced any kind of anxiety when thinking about their age were crazy!  It’s a number! Who cares?  Well, now that it’s me in that position, I totally understand the angst so many people feel about entering a new decade of life.  I’ve grown so accustomed to writing a 2 in my age…now I have to get used to the fact that my age starts with 3! I’ve been alive for 3 decades!  Kids who were born when I was in elementary school are now graduating from college and getting married! Where did the time go???  Anyway, in honor of my big 3-0, I’ve decided to reminisce about some of my birthday parties from years past…

  • Age: 6.  Location: The Local Burger King.

All the kids from my kindergarten class were invited for a blowout party at a fast food restaurant. It was my favorite at the time. Everyone got a gold crown and a kids meal. After gifts, we went outside to the magical world that is the fast food restaurant playground.  So many restaurants have done away with their playgrounds, that was a big part of my childhood. We played pirates on the big ship-shaped slide that even had a swinging drawbridge. Good times were had by all.

  • Age: 13.  Location: My House.

My 13th birthday was pretty amazing. Lots of good memories. Some, not so good. My friends from school (only the girls) were picked up after school by a limousine.  The bar inside had been replaced with all the sodas you could drink. There was a tiny TV and stars that twinkled on the ceiling. The limousine took us to dinner in style, where we dined on delicious pizza at the local CiCis.  We had the limo for a while longer after dinner, and after a unanimous vote, we decided our next stop would be Petsmart.  If I’m lying I’m dying.  We then went home, had homemade funnel cakes in place of birthday cake, and stayed up all night.  We then took everyone home during some thunderstorms. Once we got home from dropping everyone off, one of the biggest tornado outbreaks in the state’s history wreaked havoc everywhere. I was so tired from the night before I slept through most of it, then the tornado sirens woke me up. Tornados obliterated entire towns that day. Only one of my friends lost their home. They found his mom’s car 3 blocks away WRAPPED around a tree.  My birthday went out with a bang in 1997.

  • Age: 16.  Location: Local Community Center.

The year I turned 16, my dad turned 40.  We were both having a big birthday that year (we share the same birthday). I told my mom it was fine if she focused on him instead of me for our birthday, so I was led to believe we were having a big birthday party for him. I was with my best friend all day getting ready, planning on surprising my dad. My friend suggested we dress crazy in tye dye shirts and long colorful toe socks, etc…the flower power days were trying to make a comeback at that time.  Turns out my friend was only keeping me occupied so I didn’t come to the community center because turns out, the party was for me! I showed up and saw all my friends sitting there in crazy tye dye shirts because the theme was crazy colors and flower power crap. There was a DJ and everything.  That was the biggest surprise I’ve ever been given.

The rest of my birthdays have been relatively uneventful. This one will be as well. No plans for a birthday party tomorrow, just having dinner with family. I thought this would be a big deal celebration-wise, but turns out it’s been such a crazy year so far nobody has time or interest in putting a party together…and I can’t blame them there. I’m not particularly in love with the idea of celebrating the death of my 20s.

Nighttime Reflections

I am spending the next 3 days with my best friend and her family, and since she has four children under the age of five and a part time job…she’s tired.  She and her husband have gone to bed, so I’ve retired to my room to get a little computer time in before going to bed myself.  I’m so happy to be here with them. Her four kids, my Godchildren, are so adorable and so much fun. I miss the days when they lived only 20 minutes from me…rather than three hours.

Anyway, now that they are in bed and all four kids are asleep (I hope, for their sake, all four STAY asleep for several hours), the house is uncharacteristically quiet.  I didn’t realize this house could get this quiet!  There is usually someone crying or talking…or the sound of little bare feet slapping the hardwood floors.  In effort to keep the house quiet and avoid somebody waking up, I’ve opted not to watch TV or watch YouTube videos (I forgot my earphones!).  With all this silence, I’ve been sitting here thinking about things.

For some reason, I started thinking about high school.  I probably thought about this due to my imminent birthday (March 6)…which makes me realize it’s been quite a long time since I was in high school!  I’ve been out of high school long enough now that some of my old friends from those days have kids well into elementary school, some are getting divorced, some are recently remarried…we’re grown ups!  When you’re in your early 20s, you consider yourself a “grown up” (and technically you are)…but when you reach my age you begin to realize you were still just a kid then.

I sometimes miss the carefree days of college…being on my own without really being on my own.  I had the luxury of coming and going as I pleased without the burden of financial responsibilities bombarding me from every angle.  It was still easy, and almost “fashionable” to stay up until all hours…sometimes it was even necessary if I had a big test the next day.  I was always coming and going, spending more time with friends than alone or with family…and it was a tragedy if something happened to prevent me from spending time with them.  Back then, my family were important to me, but my friends were my life.  I spent hours talking on the phone (believe it or not, I actually went to college during a time when texting had not quite taken off the way it has now), and when I wasn’t on the phone I was with the people I was on the phone with.

During college and shortly thereafter, every aspect of life seemed so emotionally charged.  It was much easier for me to become passionate about things.  It doesn’t take all that much for people of that age to get into arguments with their friends, enter a phase where you aren’t speaking, etc.  Of course, within the week it was all forgotten and life moved on as if it never happened.  In college you don’t care as much about having nice things (except when it comes to technology), matching furniture, fancy dishes, and things like that.  For people that age lucky enough to live off campus, it is not uncommon to have mismatched furniture in every room, sitting atop the 30-dollar rug you purchased at Walmart all on your own and are so proud of.

It’s strange to think about that time in my life, because it wasn’t really that long ago, yet it seems like it was.  It’s strange to see how much your life changes and your priorities change in such a short span of time.  When you reach my age, you have your own house, or at least your own apartment.  You want your furniture to match. All of a sudden you find dishes and cookware interesting.  You don’t have a Walmart rug in your living room anymore.   Instead of wanting the fastest car, you want a practical car that saves gas mileage and has four doors to seat everyone comfortably and isn’t too hard to climb out of.  If you have children, you actually want and maybe already have a minivan.

You realize how smart your parents actually are.  Instead of being afraid of being caught out with your parents by your friends, you start to want to hang out with them.  They are starting to be more like friends than parents all of a sudden.  You don’t spend half the amount of time with your friends that you once did, because they’re all busy with their lives and so are you.  Instead of going to bars or clubs when you do get to spend time with them, you just go out to eat or to each others’ homes.  I never did lead a “party lifestyle” anyway, but I spent more time in bars then than I do now–which is never.  In fact, I don’t drink at all now.

When you call or text your friends now, you don’t get upset or wonder what you did wrong if they don’t answer you.  In fact, you find yourself feeling surprised if they actually do respond in a timely manner.  It takes an awful lot for you to get into any sort of fight with a friend when you reach the end of your 20s.  You’ve grown up and matured.  Stupid petty things don’t upset you like they once did.  And if you do have a falling-out with a friend, it’s over something pretty bad…something you and that person just do not and will not agree on.  If someone hurts you, a lot of times you stop speaking to each other forever…not just a few days.  Luckily it rarely happens, though…well, unless one or both parties have failed to mature with age which sometimes happens.

You begin to look back at all the friends you once had and you realize just how many people you have lost touch with.  People who you spent practically every waking moment with in school are reduced to a Facebook friend you rarely hear from, with the exception of the random comment or like on your status or photo. It doesn’t happen with all your friends, though.  Some friends you make in high school and college will be your friends for life.  And you realize late in your 20s just how rare that is and how precious they are to you.  You also make new friends at work, people who share your interests and become just as close to you as your college buddies were, even if you don’t spend nearly as much time with them.

While some of this may sound depressing to a younger person, it really isn’t.  It’s just the naturally progression of life that comes with maturity.  One thing you realize at my age is, while you do miss those days from time to time, most people wouldn’t go back if they could.  When you get older and mature, you start to settle down and appreciate different things than you appreciated in school.  I personally loved college, but I wouldn’t go back to those days no matter how much you paid me.  Now those days are just fond memories of a good time, but I’m much more settled down and content with my life and myself than I’ve ever been before…and I like it.

Another thing that happens after school is that you become your teachers’ peers rather than their subordinates.  I’m actually friends with some of my college professors and even a couple of my high school teachers.  Some of the teachers I feared and even disliked in high school, I now look back on with respect.  The ones I liked the least were the ones from whom I learned the most.  Age becomes a far less important factor when you’re in your late 20s.  In high school, it was just much too beneath you to be friends with people more than a couple of years younger, and the people a few years older felt the same about you.  Now, I have friends decades older than I am!  And I don’t think a thing of it.  It’s natural to me.

I guess one of the saddest things to happen when you get older is you start hearing about the deaths of some of your old teachers from high school.  The ones that were older and about to retire when I was in school are now dying.  It makes me sad.

One of my best and favorite teachers from high school passed away not that long ago and I was so hurt by that.  She was one of the teachers most feared by all the students.  I almost took the class in summer school just to avoid taking it with her.  Had I done that, I would have cheated myself in a big way.  I’ve been thinking a lot about her lately.  My senior English teacher taught me almost everything I know about writing.  If it hadn’t been for her, I’d never have made it through college with almost a 4.0.  I’d never have been able to use my writing as a source of income.  You can’t tell from reading this blog, but I can actually write fairly well.  Well enough to be published from time to time.  I don’t take the time to make this blog perfect like I do my professional writing.  I just write as it comes to me.  Proofreading–ha! I just wish I’d have told her how much her class did for me.

One of the best things you can do for a teacher is go back when you’ve grown up and tell them how much their class meant to you or how it was a major part of your success.  I would have told her eventually how much she meant to me and how much I appreciated her, but I never imagined she’d die before I got the chance.  It broke my heart.  It broke a lot of people’s hearts.  She was the best of the best of the teachers at my high school.  It’s still funny to me how one of the most feared teachers at my school (and most hated by students who didn’t care to learn or even try) ended up being my favorite.  After my first week in her class, the fear subsided and I was so glad I hadn’t taken the easy way out of her class.  I miss her.  I miss her so much.

Dallas Trip…and Life Update

First of all, an update on what’s happening in my life right now.  Things are still a little confusing at the moment.  I can’t see a surgeon until April 18, so until then I get to live in fear and worry.  Everything hangs in the balance until I meet the surgeon and find out what, if anything, is going to be done to my back.  One thing I do know, regardless of if I have surgery or not, I will have to leave patient care.  My back can no longer withstand the strain nursing puts on it.  No matter what, any job that requires patient care will eventually require the nurse to lift, push, pull, or twist SOMETHING heavier than him-or herself.  I can no longer take the risk of performing one of these tasks and destroying my back forever.  I may already have destroyed it, but if I don’t stop putting myself at risk, it will happen for sure.

My boss is going to keep me on for the time being.  I will only be able to work in pre-op.  Starting IVs and charting are all I can do.  I will also do any computer/secretarial work needed to help fill the rest of the time.  How long they will keep me being limited to only pre-op remains to be seen.  My boss doesn’t want to get rid of me, but the ultimate decision lies with the CEO.  He may end up wanting to get rid of me and hire someone who is capable of doing anything and everything…as I ONCE was capable of doing.

Since I am in no way, shape, or form interested in nursing if I can’t be taking care of patients directly, I’ve been looking into online degree programs for writing, graphic design, and photography.  They all seem very appealing.  I haven’t decided on one yet, it will all depend on funding (I’m working to acquire a grant).  One thing is certain, I will be getting a second bachelor’s degree in one of these three areas.  After that I will start a new career, quite possibly doing so in the big city of Dallas, Texas, where more opportunities await.  Which brings me to the trip I just returned from…Dallas was nice, as always.  Had some lovely food, fantastic time visiting with family, saw my aunt’s new home–which is fabulous–and was given some mementos of my beloved Uncle Mac.  It was very hard visiting this time, because practically everything in my aunt’s house that reminds you of Mac was gone.  Either taken down and packed, or given away to family and friends.  My aunt has kept the few things that meant the most to her, the rest of his things she is in the process of giving away to those who loved Mac, to cherish them along with his memory.  I was given some of his music, one of his treasured LSU game footballs, and some pictures of him and my cousin–his son–who sadly passed away when he was 15, back in 1992.  Here are some photos of the trip:

Welcome to Texas, y'all!
Welcome to Texas, y’all!
Driving through Dallas...
Driving through Dallas…
Dallas looks very different from Little Rock!!
Dallas looks very different from Little Rock!!
100+ year old cactus located near my aunt's present home.
100+ year old cactus located near my aunt’s present home.
The most incredible lemon bar I've ever eaten. Had about half an inch deep layer of powdered sugar on top! I love Dallas dining!
The most incredible lemon bar I’ve ever eaten. Had about half an inch deep layer of powdered sugar on top! I love Dallas dining!
Dallas
Dallas
Phenomenal steak at Saltgrass Texas Steakhouse.
Phenomenal steak at Saltgrass Texas Steakhouse.
Katie, Kyle, Michael, and me again.
Katie, Kyle, Michael, and me again.
Cousin Katie, me (in blue), cousin Michael (who died in 1992) and cousin Kyle.
Cousin Katie, me (in blue), cousin Michael (who died in 1992) and cousin Kyle.
My late cousin Michael holding my cousin Kyle...Kyle is 26 now!
My late cousin Michael holding my cousin Kyle…Kyle is 26 now!
I was given some pictures of my beloved Uncle Mac who recently passed away. Here he is about to do something he loved best: driving fast.
I was given some pictures of my beloved Uncle Mac who recently passed away. Here he is about to do something he loved best: driving fast.
The church is beautiful. Happy Easter!
The church is beautiful. Happy Easter!
Iced Sweet Tea-A Southern Staple!
Iced Sweet Tea-A Southern Staple!
Pina Coladas were glorious.
Pina Coladas were glorious.
My cousin Taylor and his lovely wife Grace, at their combined birthday celebration.
My cousin Taylor and his lovely wife Grace, at their combined birthday celebration.
The view from my aunt's new townhouse. The pool belongs to the neighbors, whom I hope she becomes good friends with!
The view from my aunt’s new townhouse. The pool belongs to the neighbors, whom I hope she becomes good friends