Thirty-One

erin loechner

Hey. Apologies to anyone who has ever asked my age and has received a variety of numbers in the 30-range. I very rarely know my age (I don’t know; numbers have never meant things to me), so I’m forever counting back to 1983 and my math skills are fuzzy at best. But. I just used the calculator and I am, indeed, 31, as of yesterday. It’s a big one. So, in honor, a post dedicated to myself, from myself. (Wait, isn’t that what a blog is? Digression.):

Erin! You’re 31! Here are a handful of things you’re learning, in no particular order:

1. The first thing you read in the morning is the thing that sticks with you all day long. Make it good, make it count. (Make it be true and encouraging and full of light, and not the kind from the inbox on your fluorescent phone.)

2. Stop listening to yourself and start talking to yourself. You read that last week, and you’ve tested the theory out a few times since and Erin, it is good. It is worthy. It is a secret of life. You’re a natural born encourager, but somewhere along the line, you’ve been forgetting to encourage yourself. Quit it. Shake those pom poms hard when the lies start to bubble up, and cheer for the race you’re running. Your head isn’t naturally prone to do it, so you’ll need to give it a megaphone. Stop listening to your gut and start telling your gut what to listen to. (Someone make a Pinterest poster for that one, OK?)

3. Three ingredients: dates, cocoa powder and almond butter. Stick it in a food processor, store it in the fridge, and you’ve made the most luxuriously decadent (semi-nutritious) brownie batter in town. Your daughter’s a pro at making it, too, so let her, even though it means finding almond butter on the underside of every kitchen stool and also in the dog bowl, linen closet and your left shoe(?).

4. Sugar makes you crazy. Keep working on that balance between indulging in life’s good – birthday cakes and homemade treats and Friday night wine menus – while accepting that you celebrate most days better with a clear head and calm heart. You’ll get there. Keep up the good work.

5. Related, but not exactly: restrictions work in your favor. You enjoy creating within boundaries, whether that means a set list of healthful ingredients to experiment with or a well-edited closet. When your love for new starts to feel itchy and big, remember this. You need very, very little. Learn to want very, very little, too.

6. In a world where we’re encouraged to empower ourselves – treating, pampering, rewarding – remember this: sacrifice is better. You have never regretted a moment where you served without resentment and offered yourself or your gifts for the good of others, simply for the good of others. Do not, do not ever forget this. It’s a pillar. Keep it close.

7. The way you live your life is not a value statement to others. It is not a standard to be declared. Continue to strive to live according to what you yourself know to be true and noble and good, and do not dilute this to please others, giving everyone involved a false sense of comfort and security and “connection.” Authenticity does not mean compromising your life to make it appear more relatable. (Preach, Pinterest poster x 2.)

8. Aioli anything. Always the best decision.

9. Keep music alive in your home. It uplifts spirits and lightens souls and reminds all of you that there is always – always – time and energy available for a kitchen dance party.

10. The wrinkles on your forehead will only deepen from here. Be grateful for what they symbolize – times of learning and growth and wisdom and perspective. There will be days you’ll want a cream to take them away, but on those days, read #2 and make a batch of #3 and turn on #9. Then run your finger deep along those lines and smile.

It’s going to be a great year, Erin. Onward.

-2

p.s. Look! Reader Jensen made a Pinterest poster for us! Genius, Jensen. Thank you!

  • Thank you for this. I just celebrated a birthday this week too (a big one: four-oh), and your writing here was just what I needed to read. Happy Birthday from a fellow Midwesterner, and may thirty-one be your best year yet!

  • What a great list. May have to do something similar for my bday coming up in a few weeks (34…which I guess means I’ll officially be in my mid-thirties. Geez.) Anyways, I especially love #2. Someone needs to get on those pinterest posters, stat. :)

  • Love, love, love it all! Wishing you a wonderful 31st birthday. You have been a source of inspiration for so many years and I feel blessed to call you a friend. xoxo

  • Magic! Pure Magic. I just celebrated a birthday myself and this stage of my life feels full of deep, powerful lessons that I’m truly enjoying testing out on a daily basis. Your #7 hit me hard and is something I’m going to mull over for a while. Thank you for that.

  • Wishing you a year filled with goodness, Erin. I couldn’t agree more with the music playing—thank heavens for sonos alarm. I can walk in the door and Ella is on. It’s like a big gulp of wine, when I need it most. ;) Much love to you are sweet family, darlin! xoxo

  • What a great birthday list, with advice we should all have on the wall – thank goodness someone’s going to make those posters! Happy birthday, Erin!

  • erin! happy happy birthday. thanks so much for providing a teeny tiny corner on the internet where i feel like sensible girls who are working towards something greater than just consuming all the things can come by and remember–we aren’t trying go this route alone! so helpful–and i can’t wait to make a list like this for my own self and life when i hit 32 in November :)

    • Oh Karen – this is the biggest compliment; thank you for your encouragement. And I can’t wait to read your list!

  • Oh my goodness. This is SO good, and so inspiring. I found myself sitting here, nodding my head in agreement at all of these (NOL..kind of like the LOL?). Anyway, I recently found your blog and have been enjoying it so very much. Thank you for sharing this, I loved it all but especially connected with 1, 4, and 7.

    Lots of love…and happy, happy birthday!
    -Dani

  • I found this via a Tweet someone I follow sent out and my goodness, this is good. I think I have a lot in common with you, I want to print this and keep it where I can see it. Especially–restrictions, serving, sugar, and stop listening to yourself and start talking to yourself. I live in my own head entirely too much and it’s hard to get out of there! Beautiful post!

  • I love, love, love this. Seriously, I just printed it out so I could read it over again later. Happy Birthday!!

  • You are one wise woman. Happy, happy birthday, darling! Here’s to many more memories and lessons and overall goodness in the years to come. xo

  • Happy Birthday!! As a 38+ girl myself I can tell you with total assurance the days keep getting better and better. Oh, and I agree with everything but #8. Blech. = )

  • HAPPY BIRTHDAY, E!!! #8 made me laugh on the inside AND the outside. When I turned 31 I wore a cutout button from a card someone gave me with the # 31 until a friend said it just made her too hungry b/c it was Baskin-Robbins evocative (hoping you know their “31 flavors” flavors fame? Back in the day, that seemed like A LOT of flavors for one frozen dessert to lay claim to, in a world of van-cho-s and butter pecan….). Love you, and all your lessons-learned and works-in-progress. xo!

  • The ultimate list of lists! I love how you are able to share your wisdom in a light-hearted, yet serious post. You have learned so much….your future is limitless! (That golf swing looks pretty awesome too!) Hope you had a lovely birthday by making the day so special for others!

  • Happy Birthday Erin! My you are so wise beyond your years. Wish I was half as put together at 31! You are on the right path and your future years are going to be fantastic! Thank you for sharing as always, you are inspiring.

  • happy birthday erin! I just ran across your blog via sometimes sweet and absolutely love this post. it’s very empowering and also inspiring! hope you have a wonderful day :)

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