About Me

For the record, I’m barely in my dirty thirties.  31 to be exact.  Really, it’s almost a technicality, because in my head I’m still 28 or 25 or even 22 some days.

Actually, as much as I fight it, being 30-something is pretty alright.  The thing is, I’m not anywhere near where I thought I’d be at 31.  For a long time, I thought I’d be married with kids and a cute-little house in Colorado or DC, or traveling the world with the State Department, or working with the Peace Corps somewhere in my beloved Africa (slightly different dreams, I know, but somehow I pictured it all happening simultaneously).

Instead, I live in a cute but tiny apartment with my awesome boyfriend and sweet cat in Oklahoma, work at a great nonprofit doing something I never really thought about (or even knew existed) before, and live a much simpler life than I’d expected.

Honestly, in some ways my life is better than I imagined, and in other ways I am far from where I want to be.

The last few years have been years of extreme experiences – extreme highs and extreme lows.  Seriously, cannot emphasize enough how crazy the extremes have been!  So, while I have had some incredible, dream-come-true experiences, the stress and loss I’ve gone through have overshadowed everything.  I felt like I couldn’t truly experience the joy of the good experiences without being swallowed by the darkness of grief.  I went to Africa (lifelong dream!!), got my M.A., and landed a dream job … and was miserable.  I was waiting for life to start.  Waiting to be happy.

I really believe our culture has a limited, if not twisted, view of what happiness is.  The American perception of happiness seems to be confined to bubbly, carefree, happy-go-lucky cheeriness.   We seem to think that if we aren’t feeling happy all the time, we must not be happy.  This narrow perspective both demands an ideal of happiness that most people cannot live up to, and misses the value of sadness, anger, or any other “negative” emotion.

I used to think that way.  I used to look around and assume everyone else had it all together.  Perfect relationships.  Healthy families.  No money problems.  No worries.  I waited for my life to start.  Waited for everything to fall into place so I could be happy.  Then everything started to fall apart.  People died.  People got sick.  People disappointed me.  My assumption about how my life would go didn’t play out.  So I waited some more.  For things to get better.  For the stress and grief to go away.  Slowly, over time, I got tired of waiting.  I finally realized that if I wait for life to start, I will waste my life.  So I started to think about happiness and to redefine what it means to me.

So much is out of our control.  The world is messy, and happiness can mean different things to different people at different times.  Mostly, though, it is a choice.  I have always heard that, but only recently began to understand it.

I started this blog as an exercise in choice, a place for me to focus on the positive and define happiness for myself.  It’s also a way for me to hold myself accountable.  I’m an oversharer – obviously – but I can also be fairly anti-social.  I hope that putting myself out here like this will push me to follow through on shaping the life I really want – healthier, happier, with deeper relationships and less anxiety – and stop waiting for life to just happen for me.

And now, for some pictures!

SARAH (aka me)

In Rwanda, dream come true

ERIC (aka the boyfriend)

With two of our neighborhood buddies: Boomer and Gray Kitty

Ella (aka the cat)

Typical day ... basking in the sun and keeping watch over the neighborhood

29 thoughts on “About Me”

  1. Shannon said:

    Amen, Little sis! You have a much better perspective of things than I did when I was in my “:dirty thirties”. Very proud of you………and ALL your accomplishments!

  2. Amen Aunt! You’re truly an inspiration in my life! I thank you for being as strong as you are, after pops died i needed someone to look up to, anyway keep up the good work. We’re always rooting for you!


  3. ‘The thing is, I’m not anywhere near where I thought I’d be at 31.’ -I literally said this entire sentence to my brother the other day. My sense of accomplishment is greatly skewed by my pre-teen perceptions of where I thought I’d be and it is refreshing and relieving to hear that you feel the same. I have ‘accomplished’ things, but since they aren’t what I anticipated I feel ‘unaccomplished.’ –and that sucks. I think you are right though, that if we keep waiting for life to start we will miss our life, and in many ways miss the life that WE created. We made the choices that lead to where we are and I think you saying what you did is helping me realize my role as an active participant in my current situation. Good stuff wordythirties.

    • wordythirties said:

      I love that … our roles as active participants in our current situations. It’s so empowering! 🙂

  4. Congrats on focusing in being happy rather than searching for it! Great additude! And you have an adorable cat 🙂

  5. Your evolving view of happiness is commendable! I often suffer the “grass is greener” syndrome when observing the lives of others, too. Why does everyone else seem to have it all together and I can’t stop worrying about my finances, health, work, the weeds in the yard, etc.

    You never know where you will be in a few years, though. At 31 I was devoutly single and determined to not waste a moment of my life with parenthood. Eventually I married at 43, became a father at 45(!), and I am the happiest I have ever been. I also still feel like I’m in my early thirties on occasion. I don’t think that will ever go away.

    Congratulation on your new blog. You have a leisurely writing style that communicates your thoughts very well. I also started a blog recently for much the same reasons as you. I hope you stick with it.

    • wordythirties said:

      Thank you so much! It’s funny because I know that most of us have a problem with thinking everyone has it all together and we’re stumbling along. It’s just hard to remember that sometimes! I really appreciate your story about how things change. I know enough to know I have A LOT to learn, and I probably have no idea where/who I will be in 10, 15, 20 years. I guess that’s the exciting part!

      And what you said about still feeling like you’re in your early thirties – my mom and I were talking about that recently. She said she thinks we all have funny ideas about what we will feel like at such-and-such age, but that idea rarely matches. I still use quotation marks around the word “adult” (see?!). Does anyone ever really feel like an adult?

      I’m glad you are so happy and that life had a big fat awesome surprise for you. I hope you have many more happy surprises in store (and me, too)! I’ll be checking out your blog…

  6. If it’s not too inappropriate, am I allowed to say how much love I feel for you and everyone who has commented here?? As a lifetime writer, at 32 years old, I am so pleased to read so many wonderful renderings of different experiences! It has taken me over SIX years to get my blog rolling and I am so relieved to hear of you and every one else who has commented here having so many UNIQUE yet similar thoughts, feelings and experiences. I was 26 years old when I finally mustered up the ‘balls’ to ask my partner (I’m an EMT- at the time I worked for a county 911 system) if she ever felt like a child playing ‘dress up’ and ACTING like an adult. She assured me that she did at one time, but then she realized that this is a more shared feeling than a lot of people want to let on. I realize it takes a lot of self-realization for people to overcome that adolescent ideal of what or who we could have, should have, or expected to have been.

    I am so pleased to find like-minded people who understand and can (finally) enjoy our experiences in life that truly define our journeys. It really is the journey, isn’t it?!!! Thank you (all of you) for you candid thoughts on life and all that includes!!

    BTW your cat is truly the epitome of feline attitude… and beautiful to boot!

    • wordythirties said:

      It’s such a relief to realize so many people feel like they are “dressing up.” It’s like the first time in middle school you realize that everyone is thinking the exact same thing: “everyone is looking/thinking/judging me,” when everyone is just thinking about themselves.

  7. Awesome perspective. Recognizing the power of choice was an epiphany for me, and I’m just 32, so I feel like I understand what you wrote up there, really well.

    I appreciate your tendency to overshare and still be anti-social, is that a common thing with bloggers or what?

    I just started my blog to focus on all of the positive wonderful things about my new home in Sicily, even though about 30 categories of my life are nowhere near where I wanted them to be, living in Italy is one of my biggest dreams. Just goes to show you can’t have everything at once and in order to reach one of your dreams, you have to let others go (at least for the time being). I like to think that I can allow myself, my expectations and my dreams to change and evolve as I do in my personal experiences and perspective.

    I look forward to following you!

    • wordythirties said:

      I love that last bit – that you can allow yourself, your expectations and your dreams to change and evolve with you. I will need to remember that!

  8. I am two and a half weeks away from my 35th birthday and STILL do not feel like a “grown up” – whatever the heck that is.
    And like you, my life is not exactly where I thought it would be. But I make my own happiness and I share my life with wonderful people: family, friends, my boyfriend and MY cat, Winston.
    I’ve created another family with all these people and I find happiness in each day.
    I’m thankful I’ve stumbled across your blog and HAPPY to know that I’m not the only one out there…

    • wordythirties said:

      You sound so much like me. It’s hard sometimes to appreciate the wonderful people and things we have when our lives aren’t what we expected. Ah, expectations, the bane of my existence! But I love that you “make your own happiness.” That’s what it’s all about!

      PS Eric thinks Winston is an awesome cat name. 🙂

      • I think the hardest part for me is that I had expectations for myself and sometimes I feel like I’ve let myself down. But THEN I realize that my expectations stemmed from (a lot) from my parents’ lives. I just have to continue to remember that my life is mine and times are different than they were in the 70s.

        PS – Winston a 25 lb, pure white beast of love. 😉

  9. i’m so happy to find your blog! i’m 32 and i think this whole happiness issue is pretty important… it was always my goal to “be happy”, without really understanding what that meant. and i’ve put off so many things in my life until this future time when i’m gonna be happy (i daydream about this happy, future me all the time). lately though, i’ve been trying to act on that whole “it’s a choice” thing. i’ve realized that if i call it “contentment” instead of “happiness”, that helps me. i’ve also started a blog where i write three things i’m grateful for every day. some days i’m overflowing with gratitude, other days it’s quite hard, but i think it’s meaningful for me.

    anyway, congrats on freshly pressed! and on your newfound attitude! 🙂

    • wordythirties said:

      YES! Contentment. That’s exactly it. Sometimes it’s about redefining happiness to be more inclusive – contentment, satisfaction, gratitude, peace…

      Love your blog, by the way. And love your Three Things project!

      • thanks so much!

        and yes, i find the answers are always either “it’s about being inclusive”, like you said, or “it’s about balance” – those two things on their own could get me through life. 🙂

  10. Hi there! I’ve been reading your blog for some weeks now and thought I would finally stop and actually say ‘Hello!’. I’ve found everything so great to read, and really inspiring! I have some back problems too, albeit not as bad as yours, but I can relate to what you’re feeling with exercise! And, I’ve totally been enjoying the cat photos… So cute!

  11. hey there, i’ve given you the liebster blog award! thanks for being awesome!


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  13. Hey! I know this is kinda off topic but I’d figured I’d
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  15. Hi, Sarah!
    Just stumbled upon your blog as I was trying to figure out a way to beautify a cat tree… and then I started reading. Your blog is so tried, true, and honest; I also suffer from oversharing, with the fear that if I abandon this perhaps I may implode. Well, anyway. It seems as though you stopped writing this blog a little while ago, but I felt the urge to let you know how meaningful it is for me.

    Savannah, from South Carolina

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