Celebrating 29

by Liz Heather in , ,

Tomorrow I turn 30.

I know, I know - how could this youthful, ageless beauty be turning a fully functioning adult age? Beats me, but it's happening. And I think I'm kind of pumped about it. Why, you ask? 'Cause these past 29 years have been some of the most fortunate ones that any human could have asked for. Really. And I want to list some of the greatest things that I've experienced thus far. 

(If you judge me for making this list and/or being proud of it, then I think you might be missing my point here. In which case, skip the list altogether and proceed to the final two paragraphs.)

Highlights Of The Past 29 Years

  • I was a co-lead in my fifth grade musical production of Newsies (or the more accurately titled "Extra! Extra! Read All About It!")
  • I've learned to play the piano, alto saxophone and bass guitar.
  • I've never smoked a cigarette.
  • I'm bendy.
  • In London, I ate the worst fish and chips known to man.
  • In Portugal, I discovered Steak Diane in the Algarve and listened to Fado music in Lisbon.
  • A stuffed poodle has slept atop my bed for over 25 years.

Tianna & said poodle, early 2000s.

  • In Spain, my mother and I were chased by gypsies. (Is that a racial slur? I Googled it and opinions are mixed. I don't mean to be derogatory.)
  • In North Carolina, I saw a crab bite my dad and as a result - I stayed out of the ocean for the following 15 years.

North Carolina with Dad & Gary, right before he got bit.

  • In New Brunswick, I saw the tides change.
  • In California, I didn't trust how perfect it all seemed.
  • In New Hampshire, I flew a glider plane as a teenager.

A glider is a plane with no engine, 1997.

  • I went to a performing arts high school for vocal music.
  • I had the perfect childhood dog experience.
  • In Grenada, I witnessed some baby turtles hatch in the sand in the early morning sun.
  • In Belize, I innertubed through the jungle rivers.
  • I've been to Disney Land and to Disney World. (World's better.)
  • I've road-tripped to Detroit solely for a concert.
  • I've waded in a hotel fountain in New Jersey.
  • In The Cayman Islands, I went down into the sea in a submarine. 

The Cayman Islands, in the sub.

  • In The Bahamas, I was eaten alive by bugs and first saw a pink sand beach.
  • In Trinidad, I slept in my mom's childhood home.

Trinidad, the view from Ma's house.

  • In Tobago, I understood why someone would want to come to Trinidad & Tobago.
  • In Barbados, I watched my brother get married on a beach.
  • I've hitchhiked in Lake George.
  • One time I ate a mustard so spicy that my contact lens popped right out of my face and landed on the sidewalk.
  • I interned with my favourite childhood band The Strokes.
  • I've seen Bob Dylan in concert.
  • I lost my virginity because of the outcome of a World Cup final soccer match.
  • I've skydived.
  • I've seen a baby's birth firsthand.

Five minutes after Layla was born, October 2005.

Me & the babe.

  • I've undergone a successful cornea transplant surgery.
  • I've learned never to take my brothers for granted.
  • I met Mike Myers once and he was very nice.
  • I met someone who lives in Ireland in a Foo Fighters chatroom about 15 years ago and we still mail letters to keep in touch.
  • In Amsterdam, I fell hard for a Frenchman and followed him to Paris.
  • In Paris, I celebrated New Year's, ate crepes outside the Eiffel Tower, learned cooking techniques from a master French chef, walked to the top of the Arc de Triomphe, sailed across the river Seine and kissed Oscar Wilde's grave.
  • In Venice, I stole wine, rode in a gondola and had a brief (but memorable) Italian romance.
  • Acquired the entire Perfect Strangers series as Russian bootleg DVDs.
  • In New York City, I've had many midnight rooftop picnics on the Lower East Side, bench-side champagne dalliances in the rain under an umbrella in Central Park, met one of my best friends by picking her up at a bar, had a short play produced and performed in Hell's Kitchen, swam in freezing temperatures in a rooftop hotel pool, saw Woody Allen in his jazz band at The Carlyle, attended Derek Jeter's last Yankee home game and I've been inside the Statue of Liberty's crown.


Robbie in Chicago, 2009.

  • In Miami, I ate the finest steak of my life at (the now closed) Emeril's.
  • In St. Maarten, I went to a nude beach with my parents.
  • In Niagara Falls, I stayed in a vice presidential suite and won a ton at the casino.

Niagara Falls, June 2013.

  • In Las Vegas, I rode that roller coaster that Grissom loved.
  • In Costa Rica, I went canyoneering, ziplined through the rainforest and saw some sloths.

Canyoneering with Marla, Costa Rica 2010.

Ziplining in Costa Rica, 2010.

  • I've seen The Phantom of the Opera on Broadway over 10 times and will see it again.
  • I have buried time capsules with loved ones. 
  • In Aruba, I experienced my first all-inclusive vacation and vowed to never go all-inclusive again.

My parents in Aruba 2011.

  • I have broken both of my feet on separate occasions.
  • I've become proficient in pilates. 
  • In Atlantic City, I saw Lady Gaga perform and roamed the gorgeous boardwalk.
  • In Montreal, I listened to more jazz than ever before.

Montreal, 2011.

  • I have dined and dashed. 
  • I have never dyed my hair.
  • In Ontario, I've made out with strangers on dance floors, had hundreds of sleepovers at my brother's apartment, ate an abnormal amount of poutine, blown bubbles off balconies, learned how to play poker and swam in an infinity pool overlooking the city.

Toronto, 2012.

Poker night in Mississauga, 2015.

  • In Jamaica, I parasailed, helped Nathan learn how to swim and experienced the clearest sea water in the history of mankind.

The view from parasailing, Jamaica 2011.

In the sea, Jamaica 2011.

  • I've maintained a daily blog for two full years with some degree of success.
  • I'm a (magazine) published writer.
  • I became the type of person who enters a dog in a costume contest.

October 2013.

October 2014.

  • I've found work as an editor, greeting card store cashier, HMV seasonal employee, video store clerk, management assistant, daycare worker and part time nanny.
  • In Florida, I had numerous memorable family vacations.

Florida, 2014.

Florida, 1993.

  • I became a godmother.

With Camden, 2014.

  • For almost six years, I've been in love with a man who treats me so well and happens to be handsome as hell.

Nathan, 2014.

If this post seems boastful, I sincerely don't mean it to. I'm so proud of what's happened thus far - and don't think that I don't know for a goddam minute how lucky I am. Everything on this list was possible because of my family and friends. I know how fortunate I am. So what reason is there not to be excited about whatever happens after 30? 

If you're to take anything away from this post, I hope that you start to compile your own list, at whatever age you currently are. The bullet points won't all come to you at once, but they'll trickle in over weeks and you'll slowly start to see how fortunate you are in your own life, if you don't already know. It's important to look back on these things and realize we're all immensely lucky in more ways than we realize, I think.