On the Many Ways People Leave our Lives

On co-facilitators

Today I arrived at work to hear the deeply saddening news that my dear colleague an, friend had passed away. This was so unexpected that it took nearly two hours for me to understand. For all of us it was a shock and the job of picking up and carrying on with the carrying on was an ordeal. Especially given our line of work. As the staff at a community resource drop-in center for people with HIV/AIDS loss is not new to us or the people who come in form meals, classes and other services. So not only do we have to carry on for ourselves but we must carry on for those we are here to support. So we carried on with our day and were there as much as we could be for our community members. Near the end of the day I was quietly collating and sorting papers into folders and supplies into bags for the first day of our 13 week mind-body course. The last time I did this task I did it with my co-worker who was also my co-facilitator in the program. An already tedious task became entirely not fun. I sat and recalled how my friend and co-facilitator would make up games to pass the time and crack jokes to make the task go more quickly. He was a joy to work with and as the news settles the more I realize that he was a joy to co-facilitate with as well. And now I am sitting with the loss of a friend and a co-facilitator and I’m finding that I never quite appreciated the weight and importance of a co-facilitator relationship. We didn’t just co-facilitate every now and again. We were a pair. He was my co-facilitator and I was his. That defined us and as I sit here now I can look back and see how what a special bond can be created between two people who are working as co-facilitators in an ongoing way. We grew into the program and curriculum together, teaching each other and helping each other to learn. He made me feel so skilled and competent through his feedback and support and also through the way we grew to complement each other in our different approaches. We became a near perfect balance and our flow was uninterrupted and natural.

Tomorrow class starts and I’m with another co-worker, who is also dear to me, but who is not my co-facilitator. It is interesting…the many ways people leave our lives.

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Aerophobia and the geography of irrational fear

I’ll be just fine once you shut up about car crash statistics!

I have an immense fear of flying. This is known. I think that many of us say things like “oh, I’m so scared of roller coasters” or “I’m terrified of spiders, I just hate them”. With varying degrees of hyperbole we all say to one another the things we are afraid of. But I am not just merely afraid to fly. I am paralyzed by the thought of flying. The site of planes flying in the sky makes my stomach jump. I fear for friends and family when they fly. Movies or TV shows where people are on planes cause me anxiety, even when nothing bad happens. I can’t search for a plane ticket online without getting sweaty and dizzy. That whole plan crashing into the Hudson story everyone was so excited about? That made me burst into tears of dread as I read the paper. When I have had to fly I’ve either cried the whole time or taken so many sedatives as to pass the fuck out. So no, I am not merely afraid of flying or a nervous flyer. I have a bona fide phobia.

Friends and family know this about me. Or at least they no me to be anxious about flying. It’s hard to say if anyone truly understands. My favorite is when people hear of my fear of flying and they say “Oh I hate flying too! This one time….” They then drone on about some harrowing flight experience. While I may look calm on the outside my inner mind is slowly chanting the mantra of “don’t throw up. Don’t throw up” or telling me not to kick the person in the face.

Another good one is the quoting of the statistic about how you are far more likely to die in a car crash then in a plane crash. Let us now and forever put to rest the myth that this little gem of a fact in any way helps a nervous or fearful flyer to calm down. It does not. Because to me and many others who dread flying it is not about statistics and truth be told if a plane is going down you’re probably going to die regardless of car death fatality statistics.

There are still others that just say, “oh you’ll be fine” or tell me to learn all I can about planes. I’ll be fine? What does that even mean? Can we all agree that this too is a bit of worthless advice to the truly fear stricken? For should the event pass without incident the mere trauma of the fear inducing event itself means that no, we will not be fine. As for learning about planes, well I can’t even go near one without wanting to vomit and I think the whole idea of propelling a group of people through air and time in an aluminum tube filled with jet fuel is ludicrous!

No, fear like mine is not rational. And as with most irrational things you cannot combat it with straight up, in your face rational. Fear like mine is the manifestation of a combination of seemingly benign things that have taken advantage of my already hyper-anxious nature. Left unchecked these things have rooted themselves in me as a phobia. Ok, that was maybe a bit of rational applied to the irrational. But I’m a licensed social worker so I know a bit more about this than you.

I have not been home in over two years. This year my mother has made it perfectly clear that I am to come home for Christmas. I lack sufficient time and funds to take the train or drive so I am left with flying. That or taking a boat down around to the Panama Canal and then up to Seattle and then a bus or something to Spokane. But really, who has the time for that?

It appears that I will be flying home for the holidays.

Fortified by soda and pie I have plunged into the battering task of researching plane tickets. Over a week I’ve managed to slowly increase the amount of time I can spend on the internet looking. I usually have to have a Harry Potter book on tape playing in the back ground to sooth me with Stephen Fry’s familiar telling of these much loved books.

As I have searched I have found out a few things. For starters, what the fuck has happened to airline prices since I did this last? Last time I flew home I could get a round trip ticket to Spokane at the holidays for $340. Now all I can find are tickets for upwards of $700. At first I thought that if tickets were going to be that much my mother would drop the whole idea. But I lack that sort of luck.

I also found out that if I fly to multiple places on one ticket it’s just about the same price. My step-mother and brothers all live in and around Nevada City, CA (nearest airport: Sacramento).  Thusly I began to search for tickets from Boston to Spokane to Sacramento and back to Boston.

As I stare at the sample itineraries I observe several irrationalities in my mind:

  1. Flying east to west scares me more than flying west to east.
  2. I am terrified of the middle of the country as a geographic mass and think flying over it is the stupidest idea ever. So much space and air can’t mean good things for planes.
  3. Flying between Sacramento and Spokane (with a layover in Portland, OR) doesn’t seem to scare me the way flying to and from Boston and Spokane or Sacramento does and not because those flights are sans middle of the country. It is almost as if in my head, once I get out west I’ll be fine. It’s the getting there that I have to be afraid of.

All of this reminds of something I’ve meant to think about for some time but haven’t bothered to prioritize. That is, over the years my fear of flying has gotten progressively worse and follows an eerily familiar trajectory to my fathers worsening health and eventual death.

I’ve flown a lot in my life and to many countries far, far away. I couldn’t probably tell you about most of those flights. Oh, there is the one to Brazil where I got bumped to first class while my friend and travel companion was stuck in coach. And there was the flight to Disney land for my 12th birthday surprise where my mom got the flight attendants to sing me happy birthday on the intercom. But the vast majority of flights are just one big blur. In addition to the previously noted exceptions there is another flight which stands out. The flight I took home when my dad died.

That was the most terrifying flight ever. My memory of it is that it was the bumpiest flight with such violent turbulence as to warrant an emergency landing. That lack of which made me convinced the pilots were daredevil fools taking unnecessary risks. The flight left WashingtonNationalAirport, stopped in Phoenix and continued onto Sacramento. I tried to watch a movie, listen to a book on tape and read the airline magazine. All made me feel sick to my stomach. There was this woman in the row across from me who was as relaxed as could be. She had kicked off her boat shoes and was lounging back across all three seats in her cropped kakis and blue and white striped long-sleeved boat neck shirt. I wanted to scream at her “don’t you know we are dying? Sit up!” I resented her carefully disheveled, relaxed J. Crew look in such an obviously dangerous situation.

If I may interject some rational thought here I would say that I was perhaps channeling the fear and trauma of my situation onto the flight and those aboard the plane. This fear it would seem has persisted and taken hold inside of me. This would, to an extent explain why flights out west do not create for me the same level of anxiety and why flying east to west is more fear inducing then flying west to east.

Alright then, I’ve worked that much out. But now what? The fear remains. I’ll have to manage to purchase a ticket and then endure the growing anxiety as the travel day grows closer and then I’ll actually have to get on the plane, something never guaranteed. I have been known to just not show up for flights. Drugs for the actual flights are a given, but I can’t be drugged between now and December 21st. Or can I? No, I can’t.

I suppose I could go out and learn as much as I can about planes and flying. After which I could make myself a note that says “you are more likely to die in a car crash then in a plane crash” and tape it to my bathroom mirror to read each day.

2011 Has the Makings of a Banner Year

At the close of each year I try and reflect on the 12 months past and envision the 12 months to come. While I generally agree with Dodai Stewart’s eloquent summation of why 2010 was, to use his tone, fucked up I also can’t help but feel there is something positive to glean from each passing year. True, at the conclusion of my reflection the best thing I get from 2010 may be that I managed to make it through relatively unscathed. But is there not always the chance that there is some redemptive event or happening that has been overlooked? I concede this is not likely, but what the heck – can’t hurt to grasp at straws for a bit.

As for the year ahead? At the start of each year I like to dig through books and find some bit of wisdom that can help guide my approach to living throughout the year. Last year I found great hope and solace in the poems of Wendell Berry’s. They grounded me to the earth and reminded me that life is about building, building and building.

In previous years I’ve taken guidance from Sherman Alexie, E.B. White, Willa Cather, Martin Espada, and Ursula K. Leguin. Over the past three or so months I have been stuck on three ideas: bravery, honesty and love.

Honesty: Being honest with oneself, ones community and with the world. Can you do one without the other? While a lie is an explicit form of being dishonest, what are the more implicit ways we can be dishonest and what is the cost?

Bravery: What is it to be brave? Is being brave like being courageous in that it is being afraid of something but doing it anyway because it is the right thing to do? Is there a cost to being brave and if so what is it and is it predictable?

Love: How does one grow the power of love within to the point where, on the day to day, you feel its white hot intensity? Are love and heartache faithfully interconnected? To love with white hot intensity all those around you, your passion, your visions, your work for justice and to write the wrongs in the world put you at risk for incomprehensible heartache? Or is it remorse….does love work in tandem with remorse?

Like most times when I am wrestling with these sorts of ideas and questions I have turned to books and the writings of some writers with far more well ordered minds then my own.

I picked up a collection of poems by Edna St. Vincent Millay and flipped the pages to a poem called Conscientious Objector. The poem opens with the line “I shall die, but that is all I will do for death”. Death is that mass of injustice that hangs over us, occupies our past, present and future. But I am the resistance and I shall never sell out those who write the map to liberation or assist the mass. “Am I a spy in the land of the living, that I should deliver men to Death? Brother, the password and the plans of our city are safe with me; never through me shall you be over come.”

While this expresses bravery, I think this also expresses honesty. The most honest person I can be is the person who will be unceasingly true to the values I hold and the vision of the “city” we will build. Never through me or because of me will these plans be compromised.

In my thinking about bravery I have found plenty of writings to go back to for inspiration. I re-read the Grapes of Wrath and the Dubious Battle, both by John Steinbeck. The bleak ending of the Grapes of Wrath is also hopeful. In misery and defeat a fire is lit that spreads to start other little fires.

But it is in a series of books that I have read and re-read countless times that I found a bit about bravery that has stuck in my head. Many people have been bemused by my love and borderline obsession with the Harry Potter books. I find great guidance in many matters through fiction. Fiction writing is a wonderful way to express ideas and concepts with which we all struggle.

In the fourth Harry Potter book a boy, Cedric Diggory, is killed by the primary villain of the series, Lord Voldemort. It is the first major character death in a series that is, in essence about lateral death and that kind of Death that Edna St. Vincent Milay writes about. Lord Voldemort represents a remorseless, hateful, bigoted and violent idea that is so destructive and corrosive that there is no choice left but to fight against it. No matter how afraid, the characters must fight and they do so willingly. Not with out fear and second thoughts, but they do fight.

At the end of book four the Albus Dumbledore, the wise and fatherly figure to Harry and a powerful wizard pays tribute to Cedric while delivering a speech to Harry and his fellow students.

“Remember Cedric. Remember, if the time should come when you have to make a choice between what is right and what is easy, remember what happened to a boy who was good, and kind and brave, because he strayed across the path of Lord Voldemort. Remember Cedric Diggory.”

It is not lost on me that drawing on books such as the Harry Potter books for inspiration and strength risks being silly and weird. But it can not be helped. It is what it is.

The ideas of remembering Cedric is something like remembering all those people, past and present whose bravery, love and honesty and inspiration have laid plans for our “city”. And when I am faced with what is easy and what is right, I should remember them and do what is right. My father used to say that the most radical idea in America is the long memory. I am beginning to see the power in that idea. I will have to be brave in all parts of my life, not just in working for a better world, but in all aspects of living. Taking on what is right, even if it is not easy, using the power of remembering all those who have come before me and their good intentions for me.

Love. Love is such a simultaneously under-explored and over explored idea. Love can be mutated and manipulated to be an excuse for all manner of hurtful and dangerous things. But Martin Luther King Jr. knew that love could be a force to be reckoned with if channeled and embraced. Hate is corrosive, love is restorative. You don’t have to love your enemies; you just have to have an abundance of love for what you dreams, for the collective aspiration to live in a better world.

The Harry Potter books are filled with references to love and its power for good. Dumbledore in different ways throughout the series tries to convey to Harry that the greatest weapon he has is his ability to love. Implied in what Dumbledore is saying is also that Harry can feel remorse and that remorse is, at times, part of love just as grief is. But it is love that gives Harry and his friends the power to fight evil such as the world has never known. Love blossoms and spreads while evil withers. But it takes a long time for Harry to realize that the abundance of love in his life: the love of his mother which saved his life when he was a baby, the love he has for his friends and the love they have for him is indeed their most powerful weapon.

It is the white hot love of life and what is good and beautiful that can bind you to others and compel great changes, leaps forward and transformations.

In the next year I want to know each of these things: honesty, bravery and love in new ways. I want to share in this exploration with others of course in the hopes that 2011 is a banner year for all.

6/10: Stick with me on this one; it mostly makes sense in the end

The other afternoon I was having what I considered an average conversation with a good friend. It was about politics, love, life, friends, and sci-fi. She presented me with a problem she was experiencing with another friend. This other friend feels like if it’s not political it’s not worth writing or reading. Appalled at this proclamation my friend, shall we call her VegasaurusRex , challenged our other friend who we shall call D.B. Downer to explain himself. I’ll spare you a transcript laden with profanity and give you the essentials.

D.B. Downer hates to feel vulnerable; that kind of vulnerability that comes from being open and receptive to the world around us. Making everything about politics and political identity makes it possible to look at the catastrophe of the world around us and not feel pain, confusion, fear, sadness, rage, or hope. When you wall yourself up you miss out on the chance to feel things that remind you what you’re fighting for. For example, we’re not just fighting for everyone to have a home, but I’m fighting for Helen, the women I buy street my copy of Street Sense (the local homeless paper) from because I’ve talked with Helen and her fear at another winter on the streets is in her every word. I fight for the clients I see each day who speak of hopes that one day they will one day be cured of a disease that as of yet has no cure. I certainly fight for the memory of the forests around the place I grew up that were so mercifully clear cut.  Because when I visit those clear cuts the energy of the earth to want to regrow is palpable. I don’t fight for anarchy, I don’t fight for revolution. Those are things that may or may not come to pass. What I fight for is what it will feel like when we are free – calming, cooperative, joyous, smooth, seamless, loving, hardy, healthy, growing, lustrous – just to name a few ways I think it will feel.

Alas, D.B. Downer only feels for the political. Politically he will say how it will or will not feel. Politically he can identify what needs to change. VegasaurusRex on the other hand is like a porous sponge that sucks up the feelings of the world around her for processing and wringing out over and over. But where this argument started was with writing. D.B. Downer saying that only the political I worth writing and VegasaurusRex arguing, rightly I would say, that the articulation of the world to come is one that can be written in so many ways.

In the end D.B. Downer just couldn’t see it and VegasaurusRex in a huff asked me how to fix D.B. Downer. I thought for a moment. Thought real hard. In the end my mind when straight to what I know best – fiction books. I find a great power in the use of words to tell fantastical stories of great meaning for every day use. Fiction, particularly speculative/fantasy/sci-fi/visionary fiction can help us to articulate whole new ideas of making and shaping the world we live in, new ways of relating to each other and the earth, and help us grapple with big questions of power, violence, and race.

So I brought to my friend this: In Robert Jordan’s Wheel of Time series there is the concept of the One Power. This power moves the Wheel of Time. Half of the One Power is male and the other female. Some can channel the One Power, but most cannot. It can’t be controlled, the One Power just is, but it can be tapped into, or channeled for use by those who can channel.

In a great battle to defeat the Dark One (again with dark and light) the saidin or male half of the One Power was corrupted in an effort to seal the Dark One in a prison. This corruption, which I will simplify for you, led to the breaking of the world and war, strife and general chaos and upheaval. Another thing it led to was that now any males who can channel will eventually go insane and often become quite dangerous.

Ok, still with me? This is where I remind you to stick with me; it comes out in the end.

What I said to my friend was something like this:

It’s sort of like he can’t tap into the One Power without going insane. It’s a lot to take on, feeling the world around you – being empathic and open to pain as well as joy. To this she replied by asking why he would go insane if he really started feeling things. Well, I thought about it again and said, the world’s been busted pretty badly by men, mostly men and that’s heavy stuff. We all feel our privilege differently and some have a lot more than others. Some of us can hide bits of who we are and where we came from, while others can’t. My dad talked to me a lot about privilege. He referred to privilege as bags we carry and that we have to start opening up those bags and casting them off. You do this by living in real time with the world around you, feeling everything. Deconstructing differences you feel with other people because of privilege, not just recognizing these differences. Building relationships with people, being genuine, living with and among people in a cooperative way, highlighting similarities instead of standing behind differences  – this is a lot of how my dad looked at privilege. VegasaurusRex called this “keeping it real”. That pretty much sums it up.

Well anyway, D.B. Downer maybe can’t handle taking a look at his privilege and doing more than just taking a look at it. He can’t live without looking at…he can’t live actively trying to deconstruct it.

To this VegasaurusRex asked again how she could fix D.B. Downer. I said the only thing you can do is just love. Be open and boundless with love. It won’t fix people but it will be a source of power and comfort.

So another part of the One Power and the corruption of the male side is that the female side can do what is called “gentle” a saidin. This is sort of like a frontal lobotomy. Not cool. But so, stick with me here. Applied in this context it could be that to gentle someone is to love them, boundlessly and openly. For real. Martin Luther King knew it, Dorothy Day knew it, Mother Jones knew it, Ammon Hennacy knew it…shit. Dumbledore knew it. Yet love, in activist circles, especially white ones that are very male, is an over looked and under appreciated source of power. Well, deal with it. Love is, to get unreasonably cheesey, like a One Power. It’s kind of scary but don’t worry, we won’t let it make you go insane.

All of this is to say: you can learn just about anything in a fantasy novel if you try hard enough and if that fails you can always turn to the movie Clueless – you can always learn something from clueless. Always.

PS. VegasaurusRex called this our corniest conversation ever.

4/10: The Fruits of Light and Darkness

The idea of light and darkness as being symbolic of good and evil, right and wrong, virtuous and corrupting is one that I’ve been struggling with lately. Yes, in the dark there is the sometimes disconcerting unknown of not being able to see into each corner. There could be spiders in those corners! But in the dark is also when we mostly sleep. In the dark is where tasty things like kimchi and miso ferment. In the dark is where little amazing eyeless fish live in subterranean caves. In short, lots of amazing things happen in the dark. There is also the reality that dark is also black and black is also a racial construct applied to a whole lot of people.

In pre-colonial Europe darkness and the color black had already been defined in literature and by the church as “deeply stained with dirt, soiled, dirty, foul. Having dark or deadly purposes, malignant; pertaining to or involving death, deadly; baneful, disastrous, sinister. Foul, iniquitous, atrocious, horribly wicked.  Indicating disgrace, censure, liability to punishment, etc.” (Zinn, 1980).  Light or white likewise had been ascribed the meaning of being related to virtuousness and beauty.

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On Work and the the Life Therein

I am consistently inspired by the hope, tenacity and compassion of the people I work with, all of whom are living with HIV or AIDS. Each time I feel the wax and wane of my motivation to keep working, to wrap my life around a job I am drawn back by those who are called my clients. In reality we are like partners. In implicit and explicit ways we learn from one another and support one another.

Just the other day I was reminded by someone who comes into my work about a very true part of human nature: it is easier to learn to live in crisis management mode and uncertainty then to live a life in progress. Sometimes the hardest parts in our journeys to heal and transform our lives are the moments when we are faced with taking action on necessary change.

When I’ m working with someone who is struggling with housing, addiction, and any manner of mental and emotional trauma, the work becomes most intense when we are the cusp of a stride forward. The greater the stride forward the great the emotional upheaval. I’ve come to notice that a lot o time the this resistance is rooted in self doubt, shame, and pure fear over becoming what we want to be rather then what we are.

I know how to doubt myself, I know how to make excuses, I know how to engage in the same old, same old no matter how destructive it may be. I know how to do it and that is safe, that is practiced, that is where I am known. Outside of that, in the world of my minds eye, my visions for my potential and dreams or my future I am lost. The motions to get there are not practiced but instead are every changing and evolving. That is, on most days, terrifying.

On the brink of getting into a safe, sober housing situation a client will sometimes relapse in a hard, hard way.  The immovable object that is us, stuck in moments of our deepest self-loathing, is a crutch when we we fear that tomorrow won’t be the same, nor will any day after.

This week I lost a client who was also a friend. The death was sudden and unexpected. This person lived a life love for friends and family. But as with so many people I come to know in my work, this person also struggled mightily to overcome addiction, to separate from a violent partner and to stay positive and connected. There are few at my work who did not become close to this person and none who didn’t believe in there potential. But in the end it takes just one bad night or picking up just one too many times to push a body to the breaking point.   There is a quote we often use at work during group sessions: “It is never too late to become the person you were meant to be”.  Not one person at my work  believed that this person couldn’t overcome. I’m hurt and angry of course. But I am also frustrated. I once decided for myself that in the long road ahead working for justice there would still be those left behind, or those who fall under the trundling wheels of the system, those we can not gather up around us and keep safe or help to heal. Those for whom justice will come to late. But damn! if I don’t want to believe that right now. I want this person back. I want to walk into work and see them in the lunch room or in the art room. I want more time. More time to keep them safe and surrounded by love and to once more tell them how very much they mean to me. I want to see the day they become who they were always meant to be. That person you could catch glimpses of during any conversation.

As of late I have been engaged in a lot of very thoughtful conversations with friends about inertia and the fear of embracing the things we truly want to be and do in this world. One friend calls it a coat, another calls it a mask. Both are good descriptors of what I feel hinders me from embracing those things that I feel would complete my self image. Those things that would set me in a constant motion of transformation and growth. I think now, if I can’t do this for myself, how could I have possibly done it for my dear friend at work who is now gone? In these moments I of course have self doubt about what I do and wonder aloud if its the right thing to do.

Well the truth is of course that we are all in process together. We use our good forces to do what we can to give a leg up to others when they need it, to give a little more of ourselves to someone who needs our support and love. I have seen the joy the accompanies the fear of taking a great stride forward and embracing the hope someone has for them self. This I learn from the people I work with each day and in truth this is what I try and replicate. Not just something I learn in class. Rather something I learn from them about  the act of keep on keeping for that day when hope overcomes fear.

30 Ruminations on Turning 30

The carnage of three birthday desserts for my thirtieth b-day party

April 29th was my thirtieth birthday. Never one to put much stock in age I didn’t do much preparing. But on the eve of my birthday, as I lay in bed I began to think more about the act of turning thirty. I don’t think thirty is terribly old, but it does somehow feel different than other birthdays. The past 30 years of my life involved being  born, an enormous amount of cognitive development, learning to walk, run, read, write, talk, schooling, college, jobs….the list goes on and on. So much of the last thirty years involved growing up – from a baby to an adult. That is a hell of a lot of activity! Now I’m thirty, I’m not done grown and changing, but now I’m me, making my own choices and really living my life. I’m not bothered by having to learn to walk and talk and read – I’ve got all those things down (most of the time). So I view turning thirty as reaching a moment where I can harness all the powers I’ve gained in the past thirty years for adventures untold.

Here is a list of thoughts I made about turning 30:

  1. I thought I would have learned to put my clothes away by now

    My chair is always draped in an assortment of clothes...

  2. Thought I’d learned to make my bed by now
  3. Thought I would actually be able to wake up when my alarm clock goes off
  4. Thought I wouldn’t care about what happens on 90210
  5. Thought I’d know how to manage my time better
  6. Oh how I thought I would have been able to keep my room clean by now
  7. Thought I’d not be as jealous person
  8. thought I’d be able to let go of grudges from high school

    My bed continues to be a depository for disgarded items

  9. Totally thought I’d be able to spell “necessary” and “unfortunately” without spell check
  10. learned the lyrics to every song in Les Miserables
  11. I would have thought I could finally have concurred the banjo and fiddle
  12. I definitely thought I would have managed a short story by now instead of finishing 2/3’s of 100 short stories
  13. It would have been nice to have been able to actually finished Watership Down
  14. By now, I thought I would have been able to admit to myself that I’m the worlds worst vegetarian
  15. I’d always thought that I’d still be a rock climber
  16. No seriously, I really thought I’d have stopped caring about what happens on 90210
  17. I’m flummoxed as to why I am not a wildly popular internet star by now…
  18. Well I was sure that by now I’d own a sequined dress damn it!
  19. seems like I should have outgrown jelly bracelets by now
  20. When I was young I thought I’d have five kids by now…
  21. Honestly I’d hoped that by age thirty I’d have figured out how to drive a stick shift
  22. Thirty is an age at which I think I need to stop eating so much sugar and up my fiber intake…or is that age 40?
  23. Now that I’m thirty I plan to start wearing mascara…that’s right. Don’t judge.
  24. By thirty I thought I’d have been able to break myself of my nail-biting habit
  25. One thing I’ve done by age thirty is managed to read the Lord of the Rings once a year for about 15 years.
  26. My thirtieth birthday marks 23 years of Harry Potter books as a part of my life. I’d have thought their importance to me would have faded by now, but quite the opposite has been true.
  27. Oh how I wish that I had a cat. By age thirty it seems that I should have my very own cat – an orange tabby cat named Carl or Frank.
  28. Oh and by age thirty I would have thought I wouldn’t still own clothes I owned in high school. Ha!
  29. I’ll admit it, by age thirty I thought I’d be living back in my hometown of Spokane
  30. I think that by age thirty I would feel more like I’ve got it all figured out…