Tag Archives: gratitude

Lake at Avigliana

I turned 30 and the world didn’t even end*

*yet. (Remember when the most outrageous thing to happen in the world was that some famous food blog posted a bizarre article about fairy bread? Yeah, those were the days.)

A few weeks ago, it was my 30th birthday, and I fully intended to write something wise… well ok, something thoughtful… at least something not stupid about leaving my 20s. And then I was busy, and then I couldn’t be bothered, and now it’s Thanksgiving in America so I’m going to steal their holiday idea and write a list-post of things I’m grateful for about my birthday.

  • I was too busy to write, because my family came to visit. They are total weirdos (where do you think I get it from?) and I love them.
  • My sister is as lazy as I am, which makes her easy to entertain. Case in point: before she arrived, we talked about maybe going to Sicily for a few days while she was here. “Ehh, it’s kinda far,” we said. “Let’s go somewhere we can get to by train. How about Rome?” And then we said, “Yeah, but Rome we’d really have to make a long weekend of, how about somewhere in Liguria? We could even just go on Saturday morning and come back Sunday night.” And then, “The coast is nice and all, but the mountains are closer and we don’t have those in Australia.” At which point, we looked at the weather forecast, decided that up in the mountains would be too cold, and said, “How about a day trip to Sacra di San Michele? At least we’ll get a good view to the mountains there.” And then we overslept that morning, and went to Avigliana for the afternoon, and took a stroll along the lake (pictured above).
  • I also had a fantastic birthday brunch — I think the last time I organized a birthday party was my 18th, because frankly everything about planning a party makes me want to hide under a blanket and never come out, but in this case I had the best time. We had pancakes and shakshuka and fruit salad and an amazing coconut cake made by my friend A who was very gracous about me getting dessicated coconut all over her carpet when I blew out the candles.
  • I decided to do pancakes at least partly because I knew that at some point I’d appreciate the excuse to take a break in the kitchen, facing a wall and not talking to anyone while flipping pancakes. (Introverrrrrrt.) I am so grateful that I am so much better than I used to be at working out how to do things in a way that works for me.
  • Also, while I hate planning parties, I am grateful for the warm fuzzy feeling of seeing people talking and laughing together and knowing that I’d contributed to making that possible.
  • Finally — since this has already taken a turn for the corny and there’s no retreating now — I am so so grateful for everyone who celebrated my birthday with me. (Awwwww.) You guys made my 20s way less terrible than they would otherwise have been (seriously: whose stupid idea was it to have a whole decade where you’re still insecure like a teenager but have to deal with responsibilities like you’re an adult??) and I’m pretty sure my 30s will owe a lot to you, too.
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Counting my blessings on my birthday

It was my birthday yesterday and I have become a total sap in my old age (hah!) so here are some things I’m grateful for recently*, in no particular order:

  • I had dinner on Saturday night with friends from church and a small grey cat with long paws and the prettiest face. I mayyyyyy have abandoned talking with fellow humans in order to spend more time with this cat.
    I did eventually manage to move away from the cat and turn to dinner. We had delicious homemade pizza and four different types of dessert, all involving chocolate. (Because I’m sure I’m not the only person who’d read a statement like that and think, yes, but what were those four desserts, you can’t just leave that hanging, they were: profiteroles, a chocolate-walnut slice, pastries, and a nutella pizza.)
    I saw in my birthday somewhere in the outskirts of Torino, a car-ful of us heading home. “Hey, it’s your actual birthday! Now you’re old, Zoe!”
  • We’re still getting lots of sunny days here. I know, I basically talk about the weather every week on this blog, but these sunny days are so helpful in holding off the winter slump that will come once the skies turn dark and grey and I’m trying to not take them for granted. Even if I do whinge a lot about being stuck in an office during most of them.
  • The year since my last birthday has certainly had its moments (and subsequently its weeks of fatigue… ugh) but here I am, in good health, apart from that pesky olfactory nerve! and even that’s getting better. I feel a bit sappy writing a list of things I’m grateful for, and a lot sappy saying, “I’m grateful to make it to another birthday” but it’s actually kinda true.
  • Yes, facebook is terrible and all that, but over the weekend it’s been a great way to hear from friends who are scattered all around the world. My sister told me I need to have my next birthday in Australia, but I think I should go one better and do a world tour and catch up with everyone in person.
  • And my friends who are nearby are also pretty great! I realized the other day that my blog makes me sound like a solitary person, but that’s mostly because I don’t have the writing skills to describe people in a way that gives them personality while allowing them some privacy so I just don’t write about them much. But I am grateful for this badly-written, vague mass of people who are actually very funny and charming and thoughtful and lovely individuals.

* Well, general sappiness, and also I was thinking the other day about the idea that even with things I’ve worked hard for, there’s still so much external good fortune going my way — there’s a line in the Bible that puts it quite well: What do you have that you did not receive?