Last week, Donna from Retirement Reflections suggested I do a “Then and Now” post about my birthday. While the thought had crossed my mind, I was hesitant to pursue it, because I thought I could do something bigger with that topic than “just” a blog post. See, a little while back, I played with the brief idea to make my variety of birthdays a thread in the memoir I am writing, or at least incorporate my last decade into an article, “Sailing through My Thirties” or something like that. As always with most of my genius ideas, not much ever happens with them. So, why not turn the thought into a blog? Some parts will still make it into my book, so I can’t reveal any juicy details or you won’t buy it. 🙂 The photos will not be able to make it into the memoir, so… here are some birthday galleries!
30 – Monterrey, California, USA
My birthday in 2005 was a bit stressful and exciting at the same time, since our sailboat F/Our Choice/s (on which we were living) was getting hauled out of the water in the morning and undergoing an inspection to be sold. Or not… We spent part of the afternoon in the amazing aquarium and went out to dinner. We both love Monterrey, especially the wildlife, like sea otters swimming by the boat.
31 – Belize, Central America
Mark, Darwin, Kali and I were on the return trip back to the US with our truck camper. We had driven as far as the Pan-American Highway goes, in Panama. (By the way, “highway” is really not the correct term here.) While we like Belize a lot, this was not a fun birthday, emotionally. The good thing was that I had made some friends and could spend it in good company!
32 – Beaufort, South Carolina, USA
After a turbulent period, Mark and I purchased a 35′ catamaran and named her Irie. We prepped her in Annapolis, MD to head south via the Intracoastal Waterway. The initial destination: Florida and then the Bahamas. On my birthday, Mark had a few nice gifts ready and we visited town with the dogs.
33 – Salinas, Puerto Rico
This birthday was a big bust. Nothing seemed to work out in Puerto Rico, which was not dog-friendly and cooperative at all. Luckily, the anchorage was pretty.
34 – Tobago Cays, St. Vincent and the Grenadines, Caribbean
Mark made up for the previous year. He bought me a pretty necklace with Pacific black pearls and we went on a day trip to the beautiful Grenadines, which we had to skip on the sail south to Grenada that year.
35 – Newburyport, Massachusetts, USA
This is the year where Mark and I left Irie for three months in Grenada to go back to the States for family reasons. My birthday was a nice Sunday with gifts and a Thai dinner, until we noticed that our dog Darwin looked a bit weak. The following morning we took him to the vet, then a specialist. His cancer diagnosis destroyed us. A couple of days later, we had to put him down. He never made it back home to the boat. In the last photos, we are saying goodbye to him.
36 – Curacao, ABC-islands, Caribbean
In 2011, I had a very enjoyable birthday. Since our dogs had passed away, we ventured further west and made longer sailing trips. Apart from some useful gifts, Mark treated me to a fun day on the town. We took a bus into Willemstad, the capital of Curacao, to do “whatever we want”. This meant sneaking into a hotel to use the swimming pool, exploring old town, and going out for drinks and meals.
37 – Portobelo, Panama
A lot of stuff went wrong again that year. The weather was uncooperative with our plans and it rained on my birthday as well. On a positive note, we had some cruising friends around who gladly celebrated my birthday with me!
38 – Anaho, Marquesas Islands, French Polynesia
In 2013, we crossed the Pacific Ocean on Irie and had a bunch of new adventures. My birthday coincided with Thanksgiving and it was a pleasure again to have good friends around.
39 – Maupiti, Society Islands, French Polynesia
Mark and I celebrated my 39th birthday on one of our favorite atolls in the South Pacific. Unfortunately, without friends (they arrived a few days later), but with nice scenery and good food.
40 – Carrabassett Valley, Maine, USA
Last year, I celebrated my special birthday with friends Jen and Mark at their cottage in Maine. My Mark and I went for a cold hike during the day (it even snowed!) while they skied, and we had a lovely dinner together at home.
41 – Rocklin, California, USA
And that brings us to this year! Mark and I are living a totally different lifestyle now, much more comfortable and slightly less exciting, but it is what we want and enjoy. My birthday fell on a Monday, when barely anything is open. So, we made it a birthday weekend. Three days of birthday bliss instead of one… not bad! On Saturday night, Mark treated me to drinks, dinner and a movie at a theater set up for this. Sunday, we went wine tasting and had lunch in Lodi. On Monday, I had a total rest day (very rare – I didn’t even write a blog) with gifts and a wonderful pasta-shrimp dinner cooked by my husband. And, to recover from the effects of too much wine the previous day. 🙂
What did you do on your last birthday?