Saturday, February 8, 2014


Tetris, the Mac and Tom Clancy's The Hunt for Red October 
Are all things that turn 30 this year.

Charles Dickens, Laura Ingalls Wilder and Sinclair Lewis 
Are all authors whose birthday is on February 7th.

What do these things have in common?
Me. My birthday is February 7th and I just turned thirty!

I am the youngest in my immediate family and of most my friends.
The constant pressure to do something for my 30th birthday was huge.
Turning 18 means you are a legally an adult.
Turning 21 means you are legally allowed to drink alcohol.
Turning 25 means you pay less for car insurance.
Turning 30...?
I really did not see the point in doing anything for my birthday.
I didn't think turning thirty was really a significant birthday.

I was thinking about it all wrong.
Birthdays aren't just about you, they are for you!
It is an excuse for the people who care about you to celebrate with you.
A chance to show how much they love and care about you.
And mine was an event fit for royalty!

Photography by Sarah Richards on her 30th Birthday
Epiphany struck when I realized my efforts to ignore my birthday was actually selfish and hurtful to others.
I decided to let go.
I decided to celebrate 30 years of living with those who love me most.

It sounds cliched, but I began to make a list of all the things I had accomplished and experienced in my life.
  1. In Brainerd, MN on the 7th of February 1984 I decided I wanted to be born.
  2. In Elementary School I decided I wanted to be a veterinarian when I grew up.
  3. In Middle School I decided I wanted to become a zoologist after I tracked wolves with the International Wolf Center and the Minnesota DNR for fun.
  4. Between Middle School and High School I got to live in Voyageurs National Park, MN where I learned to draw on the shores of Lake Kabetogama and decided I wanted to be an artist.
  5. During High School I made it to the International Science and Engineering fair for my mathematical analysis of beauty and decided going pre-med might be fun.
  6. Choose Graphic Design in college, because I knew nothing about it.
  7. I found my first and only boyfriend my first week at college and got to marry him!
  8. Competed at nationals for synchronized swimming for the University of Minnesota the first year I ever tried it and graduated college with a BS in Graphic Design.
  9. Worked in industry before opening my own design business.
I believed I would become the next big wedding stationery designer.

Then everything changed.
My brain was sick.
I lost the ability to draw, sign my name and type.
I was diagnosed with acute MS after the birth of my son.
I literally couldn't tell my left from my right anymore.
Week long stays in the hospital,
7 plus hours in MRI machines and CAT scans,
And countless other tests left me with nothing to do but think. 
Stories emerged from confused memories in my head to occupy the past several years.
Then I started to do the one thing I genuinely never thought I would do. 
I remember teachers growing up telling me to never try; notes next to bad grades on my papers.
I was warned to not making this my career.

I started writing.

My first novel, Left on the Edge was published in 2012 and my second, Taken in the Woods a year later. Currently I am working on the third installment of the Woodmere Trilogy, Drowned by Fear.

Writing this out started like a resume, and ended with insight.
We never know what we are capable of, so don't let others limit you.
We never know what we will be doing the following year, so don't limit yourself.
We will always continue to change.

I began life wanting to be born, wanting to live. I still want that.
I want to live life to the fullest while recording the beauty around me with research, art, photography and words.
I get to play veterinarian to my husky.
I get be a zoologist as identifying wildlife from the woods next my home daily.
I get to be a family doctor healing boo-boos and sniffles.
I get to be an artist as draw and design covers for the books I write.
I just turned thirty and I've decided I want to be me when I grow up.
What do you want out of life?

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