Nostalgia was dangerously thick at my house yesterday.
This is because I spent the better part of two hours going through old photo albums, my Facebook timeline, and shoeboxes filled with mementos and photographs.
I scoured through almost 28 years of memories.
I still have one more day before it’s official.
Tomorrow is my 28th Birthday. My golden birthday. 28 on the 28th.
I guess I was feeling fairly indifferent about it. It’s not like it’s a major birthday. It’s not like I’m turning 30 (!!!!) or anything.
I didn’t even go into the closet looking for anything. I hadn’t intended to spend all that time spiraling down memory lane, examining how perfect my pores used to look, realizing how much I took my 22 year old body for granted, or cringing at the several photo’s in which I’m holding a cigarette. I was simply trying to put away the very sweet birthday card that my Grandpa sent me in my ‘favorite cards’ box. Which is stored next to several other boxes crammed with old letters, memorabilia, and tons of photographs (from way back in the day when we actually used to print photo’s).
I was surprised when, in looking through all of those images, I was able to find photo’s from each birthday since I turned 18, and a few from childhood. Then my brain suddenly stopped working and I somehow came to the conclusion that I needed to visually chronicle my aging process thus far. I thought I could probably wait until the big 3-0 and tell the story up to that milestone, but by then who knows if I’ll still have a blog to publicly humiliate myself with.
I didn’t want to take that chance.
So we’ll start at the beginning.
This isn’t exactly a birthday I guess except that IT TOTALLY IS. It literally is my birth day. Those are my adorable cousins Marissa and Chandra ready to welcome my chubby bald self back from the hospital.
Fast forward a couple of years to the age at which I refused to wear anything but pink. Here you can see I was finally beginning to believe my Dad, who told me every night before bed that I was a ‘pretty princess’.
Yep. Still rocking the tiara. It’s comforting to know that my inability to commit to a particular style has always been a problem for me.
This was the year that ALL I WANTED IN MY ENTIRE LIFE EVER was a keyboard and I begged and begged for one. A tiny little wrapped box sat on the living room shelf all day in an effort to taunt me. My mom repeatedly told me throughout the day when she caught me glaring at it that it was my only present. Well a keyboard doesn’t fit in a box that small so I decided to pout all day. When I opened it that night, it was a cord of some sort. My disappointment and I were then led upstairs to the hall closet where the keyboard belonging to the cord awaited. I squealed. It was awesome.
Ah. This one’s fun. THIS, I believe, was my first birthday that took place while I was being home schooled. 5th grade. My birthday fell on homecoming weekend for the Ada-Borup Cougars (of which I was no longer) so we decided to have a bonfire at my house and then I would go with ‘all of my friends’ to the football game. Oh yeah, I had friends there, they were just busy while this picture was being taken…
..you know, over there, away from the weird home schooled girl.
It was horrible and I was shy and sad and got made fun of at the game. I remember being there and just wanting to go home so badly. I think I blocked out the next several birthdays because I have no evidence they happened. I was probably too traumatized from this one.
Skip ahead a few years and eventually I went back to school and was once again an Ada-Borup Cougar. It wasn’t all it was cracked up to be in the end, but by the time I turned 18 I was once again friends with all of the girls in the photo above.
I was also 90 pounds, 5 of which could be attributed to all the metal in my mouth.
This was a great birthday. I was a lead in the play Annie and the cast, along with other friends, all came out to a local restaurant for food and games.
I didn’t realize it then, but in looking back, this was probably the one day in my turbulent high school career where I felt I most accepted and that I finally belonged. It was a good day. We went to a gas station (out of Ada as not to be seen) and bought a pack of cigarette’s. What else do you do at 18?!
Here I am, 19 years old and FINALLY coming into my own. I had been out of Ada and in college for a little over a month and my life had completely changed. Everything suddenly made sense.
You bet I rocked braces the first half of my freshman year of college. It was all part of the plan. I was still a timid small town girl in the beginning and needed the braces to keep scary people away from me until I got adjusted and became my now awesome self. : )
My 20th birthday brought my high school and college friends together for a dinner at my house in Ada. It was pretty cool.
The other cool thing is that by this point, I had become pretty good at weeding out the real friends from the fake ones and I’m still close to almost every single person in this photo.
THE BIG 21!!! This is what my celebration with my family looked like. A very nice and very expensive (sorry dad) dinner at my place of employment at the time, the HoDo restaurant in Fargo, ND. Livi was just over a month old at this point and was still in the hospital nearby. We all went to see her and celebrate that night where ‘she’ gave me the necklace I’m wearing in the photo.
This is what 21 with my friends looked like. Well actually it was much worse than this, but this is the only photo I’ll be allowing my parents to see. Apparently lingerie as a shirt worked for me at the time.
My last birthday as a college student was my 22nd. We rented a big party bus and just went nuts. From what I remember anyway.
If I recall we ended up a strip club. I told you there would be cringe worthy moments.
For my 23rd I decided to class it up a little.
And all of a sudden, Jon appears, and everything changes again. I’m living in Denver, having dinner at a very nice and expensive (sorry Jon) restaurant in Vail with the man of my dreams. He’ll never not be beside me for my birthday ever again. Weird.
That was number 24 and we celebrated the weekend in Taos, New Mexico. I’ll take that face and body back any time now thank you very much.
I have no photo’s from the day of my 25th birthday because I spent it holed up on the couch feeling sorry for myself and how old I was getting. I should have been slapped. These photo’s were taken a few days later at a Jason Mraz at Red Rocks concert. My friend Lindsay and I have birthdays three days apart and we celebrated that year with her coming to Denver to visit.
26 was awesome as well. I was newly engaged and apparently injected with some sort of happiness glow because I think this was the best I’ve ever looked. I could have stayed in those happy weeks forever.
What was so great about this birthday was that it was celebrated with what have become life long people for me. Grown up friendships that are so much better than the 5th grade ones.
They just start to kind of whiz by don’t they?
There I was just a short year ago, newly married and turning 27 years old. Happiest I’ve ever been. Most confident in my life, choices, and friendships than I’ve ever been.
Fast forward to today. Here I am yet another year later.
Twenty. Eight. Years.
Gone in a blip.
But that’s never quite true is it? It wasn’t a blip. It was a long, long time.
I was reminded of that when I went through those albums and boxes. A lot of memories, adventures, laughter, tears, and joy in those 28 years.
A lot more to come.
Many of the photo’s I found tugged pretty hard at my heart. The one’s of Livi as a baby, the one’s of me carefree in college, the one’s of my friend Adam who passed away.
Places, people, memories I’d almost forgotten. It was surprising.
Tears sprang up a time or two, but for the most part I spent two hours with a reminiscent smile on my face, wishing I could go back and do it all over again. I was astounded at how much I’ve lived and how little I would change.
We’re heading out tomorrow, back to Minnesota for the weekend, to celebrate golden 28. Jon hasn’t let me in on much of the plan, but I know it involves a hotel stay and hopefully some family and friend time. If I realized anything in reliving past birthdays, it’s how sickeningly lucky I’ve been to be surrounded by wonderful people, friends and family, no matter the age. My birthday wish this year will be one wishing that never changes.
Bring it on 28!
So fun to see all pictures! It’s weird how a picture can bring you back to a certain moment in time. This makes me want to look through all of my pictures! Hope you have a fabulous birthday!
The timeline was a great idea, Ali! Your consistency is really impressive. I haven’t written goddamn thing since college.
It’s a struggle. Trust.
What a fun post to read! You and I had so many good memories in high school and a few in college too :) I should dig up some old photos, like the ones from our “feel sorry for us on New Years Eve” :) Miss you!!!
Happy golden Birthday Miss Ali!!
I just have one question: WHAT HAPPENED TO YOUR KEYBOARD??