42 was certainly a lot.

If you’ve met me, you know I *like* a lot. Every year lately I think I’m maxed out on ways I can learn and grow and then life continues to drown me in opportunities. I wouldn’t trade it for the opposite situation in the slightest. The days have ups and downs, but I am loving the trajectory of life right now. However, that doesn’t mean that I’m not running on a healthy dose of overwhelm right now, as evidenced by my absence in journaling duties here.

I’m so excited for all the opportunity of 43. I used to think that I wished for boredom, but I have found that it’s impossible for me to be bored and I am happiest when my life is full of things that dare me to be better. There is so much I want to do, so much I want to learn, so much I want to be. I look forward to continuing to learn how to be a better leader, learning more about disciplines outside my comfort zone, reminding myself what it feels like to be an athlete, getting better at guitar, learning how to elf better in Bloodbowl, painting, and continuing to learn German, and visiting new places and spaces and taking pretty pictures of it all. And who knows what opportunities will present themselves that I haven’t even thought of yet? It continues to be a lot, and I don’t anticipate 43 putting on the brakes anytime soon.

I have, in the past (and sometimes in the present) been overwhelmed with the idea of learning something new. However, the last few years has taught me that I just need to start. Take the first bite of the elephant. Sure, I may look at a thing and think, “damn, that’s overwhelming, how the heck will I ever be good at that?” The answer is, and I need to constantly remind myself, one day at a time of relentless forward progress.

This image has an empty alt attribute; its file name is image-5.png

So, let’s put the overthinking aside and talk about doing. So, how did I celebrate this last trip around the sun? I was being a bummer in February saying stuff like “what can I do to celebrate that the pandemic and being on a diet has ruined for me” but brought myself out of my funk and actually had a pretty great time. I started 43 as I meant to go on, with a 5k run in the sunshine before work, feeling grateful about how much stronger my body (and mind) feel than last year this time, and that life continues to challenge me and gives me interesting problems to solve. Then, work. It was a good day… buuuuut allll the meetings left me feeling like a little bit more of a homebody than expected. So, instead of going out, we had Vietnamese delivered (birthday plan #1) and enjoyed a deliciously over frosted cupcake and my favorite whiskey.

Thursday birthdays are meh, so we really started celebrating on Friday. My second birthday plan was to hike and take pictures somewhere pretty. I took off work a little bit early and we hit a few nearby spots. First, we stopped at the Peacock Preserve. The trail was stunning, but the peacocks definitely stole the show! Did you know that peacocks sound like really angry kittens? I was 43 years and 1 day old when I learned that.

Next, we hiked Mt. Bonnell. It’s an Austin must-do, and we only took about 14 years and 9 months of living here to finally go hike it vs just biking by the trail. It’s about five minutes of steps and then an AMAZING view.

It was a little crowded and we were getting hangry, so we took off right before sunset. And then I regretted every moment as we watched the STUNNER of a sunset happen on the car ride to dinner. Ah well, next time we’ll bring a little picnic or somethin’. And there will be a next time fo sho.

My third birthday request was a nice long bike ride in the sun. Thankfully the weather obliged, and we managed a 1h30 min bike and a 4 mile run.

That helped burn a few more calories than normal, so we could hit up my last birthday wish – Trulucks. We actually ate fairly responsibly (1 lb of crab and not 2, just two sides and a salad) and then after had a quiet night at home.

Most of the week between my birthday and Joel’s birthday was full of work or training or other life stuff, but we did meet up with my parents for a birthday celebration dinner (and then with his, the week after!). To continue birthday celebrations, we went camping at the San Antionio KOA. It was totally the urban woods – feels like nature backing up to a wooded trail, but just a few miles away from downtown.

After our first night of relaxing (and freezing, it got down to the 30s!), we checked out a taco shop that was… okay.

This image has an empty alt attribute; its file name is image-7.png

Then when that settled, set out on bikes to check out the trail and see the Alamo. The Alamo was… underwhelming. It was very small, crowded, and too full of people.

The trail totally wasn’t. It was a beautiful ~20ish mile ride meandering up and down and stopping way too often to take pictures.

After some fortification for our stomachs, we took a nice long hour and a half sunset walk on the north end of the trail before we retired to the camper for the rest of dinner, and a nice early sleep.

On Sunday, we did our actual seriouspants training ride – goal was 40 miles, we got about 38, which was just fine for me. It was a beautiful day, and awesome to be out stretching our legs on the bike, it just got a little people-y at the end and we got sick dodging them.

I was definitely a little worn out after all that activity, but my SOUL just felt better. We say that “Joel-plant needs sun” but I need it as well, and after 6 months without camping, it was SUPER nice to be in the “woods” for an extended weekend.

On Joel’s actual birthday when we got home, I asked him what he wanted to do, and we ended up just running some errands together so… I guess happy birthday (I hate errands so it’s definitely a present)?

I really enjoyed all the celebrations, but like I said in the last post, it’s now time to buckle down a bit, eat better, train more regularly, and get back to non-birthday life.