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Four years ago today I turned 25. I didn’t realize it at the time, but 25 was kind of my year. When I turned 25, I was in the middle of a really, really crappy breakup. What I also didn’t realize at the time was that it wasn’t the breakup that was making me so depressed and anxious, it was the fact that my life plan had changed unexpectedly that was making me depressed and anxious. I don’t cope very well when life hands me curveballs. I’m getting better, but it is still rough.
Anyway, in the midst of the deepest depression I’ve known, I planned an awesome birthday week with something to celebrate every night. It was known as Calee’s 25th Birthday Parade of Awesomeness. Complete with umlauts. And sushi.
My birthday celebration usually begins a good two weeks before my actual birthday because my friend Kelly’s birthday is the 23rd of September. We celebrated her birthday that year at my friend Molly’s apartment with some wine and a cake that Molly made. Molly makes awesome cakes. Oddly enough, Kelly’s blonde here and I’m a brunette. We’re now flip-flopped.
(here’s a pic from Kelly’s birthday celebration just a few weeks ago)
You’ll also notice I have the same haircut. I loved that haircut, so I opted for a repeat.
2009 was the year I met my friend Shelly when she started working with me at Drake. Shelly’s a foot taller than me, and a whole lot of awesome.
On Wednesday of our respective 25th birthday weeks, we went to Dollar Pint Night (which is actually what I did last night for my birthday) at a local brewing company.
And the following Saturday, all of my friends rallied and dressed up fancy for sushi. This is when I decided to combine my two groups of friends for the first time: my friends, and College Boyfriend’s friends (the one who had just dumped me) who’d stuck by my side through the shitty breakup. Oh hey, you might recognize one of those friends …
Hi Mark. We didn’t know it at the time, but we were totally into each other. The fact that we split sushi that evening probably should have been a tipoff. But … eh.
This was the point in time that I was living on the blowup mattress at my friend Molly’s place. I mentioned that I was in a deep depression. It was so bad that I needed some company, and I lived by myself at this point. So Molly was kind enough to put me up for a while and keep me company … and feed me (you can probably tell in these pictures that I needed to be fed).
And, of course, it wouldn’t be a birthday without licking some inanimate object. I don’t know when we quit doing this, but I think this tradition needs to return.
Yay. Weird gargoyle thing.
For my 25th birthday, my mom rescued a dog for me. Not just any dog, but the infamous Barnabus “Barney” Stinson, II. Here is our first photo together. I still can’t believe I was able to take him out in public without him being a total jerk to everybody. But hey, it was his first day with me.
That pretty much sums up my 25th birthday. My sister turns 25 this year (soon) and I hope she has as great of a year as I did. In year 25 I started dating the love of my life (hi Mark!), took back control of my life and personality (College Boyfriend had kind of emotionally drained me), ran the fastest half marathon I might ever run (20 minutes off my PR!), ran a successful craft business, and was just generally awesome. 25 rocked. I hope that 29 can be just as great of a year.
Speaking of 29, I think it’s time to check in on my 30 before 30 list.
[honorable mention on this list is to finally procure a painting by the fabulous Kim Kullmer, like the one I borrowed for this graphic — she is a whiz with color]
1. Learn how to play bass guitar (for realsies) This requires me to get my bass back from College Boyfriend and sign up for lessons.
I am actually working on this one now. Potentially getting the guitar back this weekend as College Boyfriend just started a job in this area and I might actually be able to procure my bass. Mark brought his guitar with him this weekend and we have plans to start learning songs together.
Further my education Start grad school, or get certified as a personal trainer — something. Started grad school at Iowa State University in Spring 2013.
3. Learn how to drive stick Guess whose idea this was?
4. Break my 5K PR (22 mins)
Considering that I can’t run at all right now, this isn’t happening any time soon and I might have to delete it from the list.
5. Plank for the entirety of Master of Puppets (8:17)
This … I could work on this, actually, so I’m glad that I looked at this. I realized I was doing planks way wrong at this time last year, so I’m working on the correct form. I’m up to 1:45.
Run another marathon Assuming I’m physically able without hurting myself. I had an overuse injury the first time, so I want to run one to get a real time (not proud of my 5:40-something time).
I decided to edit this #6. Running another marathon is on my life list, but I don’t want to cram it in before I’m 30. I signed up for the Des Moines marathon, which is in October, but a week or so later I twisted my knee, which led to my discovery of a whole host of things wrong with my legs/ankles/feet. All of these things are fixable, they’re just going to take time, so I’m not going to rush another marathon. I’ll probably run the Des Moines Half in October though. So, instead of this, I’m putting another great health / fitness goal on the list.
6. Touch the floor (past my toes because I can touch my toes now !!!).
Working on this. I can’t touch my toes anymore, so I’m working back to that.
Pay off my car Paid off in June 2013.
Visit at least one of these places: NYC, DC, Portland, New Orleans (again), Boston (again, with Mark)
9. Dye my hair a fun / funky color (not just regular red)
Working on this. Gone platninum, but I over-proteined my hair (yeah, you can do that), so I’m trying to get it back to normal because it feels like straw right now. Not dying or bleaching for a while.
10. Go backstage at a show
11. Break my 10K PR (52 minutes — no sweat! Just gotta get my mileage back up there)
This should be doable, but I need to be able to run again first.
Get a massage / facial
Unplug for an entire weekend (week would be better) and travel somewhere with Mark (Colorado?)
14. Live alone (with Barney) again
I’m technically not living alone because I have a roommate, but I think what I meant by this was living without my SO for a while. So I’m doing that.
Go sailing or boating
16. Go up in the Willis (formerly Sears) Tower or a taller building I’m short, and I’m deathly afraid of heights. This should help me with that anxiety.
17. Finally freaking see one of these acts live: Rush, Louis CK, Postal Service … etc.
18. Learn the Thriller dance. For real. this may count for Kelly, but not for me.
19. Get published (design work).
Try being Vegan for a week (maybe a month, but let’s not be too ambitious here).
Play miniature golf I’ve done this before, but not for so long. I’m putting it on this list so it has to happen. Did this on the trip to Michigan in July 2013.
22. See a Chicago Bears game AT Soldier Field. I don’t even care if it’s pre-season. This needs to happen.
23. Get my 3rd tattoo.I did this a few weeks ago, but I need to get a good photo of it before I share with everybody!
Learn how to make a GOOD gluten-free pizza crust.
25. Go to a drive-in theatre with Mark
26. Take a weekend trip with the girls (any and all of you are invited). No smart phones (except for GPS). No boys. Just us. Cabin? Breweries?
27. Do a race/walk for charity and actually raise some money.
28. Learn how to can. My grandma and granny did it, so CAN I.
29. Buy a house, or rent something more house-like.
I’m looking at one right now. Let’s hope it works out!
30. Mow a lawn. I have hayfever, so I’ve never, ever mowed a lawn. Ever.
What’s been your best year so far? Or best birthday?
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Hi there. I'm Calee (pronounced CAL-e). If that's too hard, just call me Cal. Also known as chimes or the chimes. I'm 28ish, a designer, a runner, a self-proclaimed fitness queen, a craftster, a foodie, a music snob — some might call me a hipster. Here's the unabridged version.
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