Wednesday, August 10, 2005

Surprise

I am very lucky. I imagine for a lot of people, turning thirty brings a little anxious soul-searching, some trepidation, maybe a few tears for lost youth. It is a time people seem compelled to give their life the strict once-over. You know--am I in the right career? with the right person? What is my life, to this point, worth?

That doesn't sound so fun. I'd rather do it a different way, and this weekend my friends gave me that chance. For me, turning thirty apparently brings only an outpouring of love and fun from all the fabulous people in my life. Not a bad trade-off.

I had an inkling someone was coming to visit me this weekend when James started furiously cleaning the house Tuesday and Wednesday night. (Strange--he was going off to a bachelor party in Ft. Lauderdale for the weekend--why does he give a damn if the house is clean?) But I had NO idea that a full house party was on its way. All Friday night, as the doorbell kept ringing, I ran downstairs like it was Christmas morning to see which of my favorite people in the world was waiting below, suitcase in hand.

The crazy thing about old friends is that you can pick up right where you left off, and formality is non-existent. Old friends make themselves wonderfully at home, searching out glasses from the cupboard and opening bottles of wine, sleeping on the floor slumber-party style, using your toothpaste and your shampoo. I love this natural way of relating, the fact that we don't have to be "polite" and adult with each other all the time. It's an ease that I miss in daily life. Is it this way because we know each other so well? Because we lived in cramped dorms and crappy post-college apartments together? Or traveled through Europe sharing the same rooms, men, and seats at the back of the bus? I think so. I also think you can't exactly duplicate experiences like that these days.

What's crazier is that eight people were willing to drop their lives for the weekend and come enormous distances to help me properly celebrate turning 30, to remind me of the good things that have happened to me over the last ten years and to make me believe I can do anything I want to over the next ten. The problem with my friends is that they're too interesting, too bold, and too independent--they have ended up all around the country (and the world) in pursuit of their best lives. This means I don't see them as much as I would like, not even close, and usually someone (well, me) has to be in a wedding dress to get all these people in the same room. This was a fabulous exception to the rule.

One of the biggest surprises of the weekend was "the book," a thick book of pictures and birthday wishes from my family and a vast array of friends, put together by the incomparable Jennifer Schooler. It's the kind of book everyone should have. As I prepare to slip out of my twenties forever, it's the kind of book that reminds me how wonderful the last ten+ years have been, how many fun and stupid things I did, how many amazing times I had, and all the people I had the privilege of having them with. My birthday isn't until August 26th, but after reading page after page of loving words, shared memories of the last decade, and best wishes from beautiful people that I know will be around for my 40th birthday too, I feel ready to turn 30 now--no regrets, no reluctance. That's worth a lot.

4 Comments:

At 7:01 PM, Blogger kristinachen said...

yippeeee!! so fun to read this sullivan. it was so great to be a part of the "sullivan is turning 30 effort". i loved it!!! thanks to JEN & JAMES for coordinating it all! i love you!

 
At 2:01 AM, Blogger scs said...

Amen to everything you said. It was so great to have you here. Did you notice the pomegranate jelly prominently displayed in the picture? :) What a fun weekend. When are you coming back??

 
At 10:06 AM, Blogger Ekamati said...

Sullivan--Great stuff. I am so intrigued by two things: one is the new way we communicate and the other is your writing ability. I think the 30s, as we have all finally slipped into them has forever changed the way we interact. We no longer have jobs or lives that allow us to sit in front of a computer and plan parties, bike rides and dinner plans. What do we have, no more writelines, just Sara's features and our responses, should we all create blogs, this kind of blog, not my eating blog, or a blog of quotes, but like Sullivan's like the spirit of writeline a beautifully written snapshot of our lives. We are also now, thanks to this weekend, well on our way to joint electronic picture filing. I am in, completely, all pictures will now go on shutterfly and all may look, Jen, can you share your shutterfly albums with us. I will buy a e-camera soon. What else, oh cyber diet, we are more health conscious and Sullivan got me logging in my calories, did you know that 10 pieces of a California roll has 1000 calories. Is that possible? I need Curves. Blogs, shutterfly and cyberdiet, I am committing this year to these things, oh and I finally bought a laptop and i pod, so I can enter the digital music age, I know Kristinachen just joined and wonder how that will affect us as well. The last bit that has changed is visiting eachother in their homes, homes, homes, homes some of us own, homes that are more decorated, some how more a reflection of the collection of people who live in them. I am also, now, in my 30s looking for people to invest with me. Who wants to buy a coastal property with me? Long live the US facile credit market.

I feel free, grounded, fit and thankful. It was a great weekend. Sullivan thanks for giving us a reason to celebrate.

E

 
At 1:08 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

sullivan.

what a distinct pleasure it was to jet in and out, get a snapshot of your life in boston, and celebrate you being born. i love that the surprise worked... we were all a bit dazed all weekend from it, wouldn't you say? i'm looking forward to a repeat performance - longer, with some advance notice, perhaps slightly more rested, with the fabulous husbands in tow, ideally with the Sox on a homestand.

with friends - the extended, adopted family - and college acquaintances spread out all over, we just do the best we can... that's all we can do. this kind of event reminds me: that's good enough. we pick up where we left off, or rather, we catch up so instantaneously that it works and we can treasure that bittersweet present overlaid on the past stuff and remain committed to doing the best we can to keep track of one another and cheer on all the fun adventures, all over, that life is taking us on. talk about counting your blessings.

i will definitely have to pass on the cyberdiet (i'm OCD about enough in life, why add something dangerously close to eating disorder to it?) but feel especially fond of your blog and emails and digital photos and text messages and all that other silly stuff that continue to be tools to keep the weekend rolling for us. [so here you go, Anna: I just finished Blue Like Jazz and Searching for God Knows What/Donald Miller; am reading The Good Earth but also some PG Wodehouse just because it's summer and it makes me happy].

have fun in michigan, sullivan. love you. - mon

 

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