Monday was a new beginning for me. Not just a new week beginning, but a new decade beginning. A fresh start. A "round three." A clean slate. Why? Because on Monday, I turned 30. (I am still trying that declaration on for size.)Â As we are obligated to do with any milestone birthday, I decided to bid bon voyage to my twenties and welcome my thirties surrounded by a handful of my favorite people on the planet. I live in a little house. It was built sometime in the 30s. I chose to live there after a good friend (who happens to be an interior designer) shared her philosophy with me: "Buy the smallest space you can make work for you... in the nicest neighborhood you can afford." Essentially, quality over quantity. As it turns out, I love my little house. My only real complaint is the tiny kitchen. It would be generous to say there is an 8x8 square of floor space. It is walled on all sides. And ever since the first time I entertained in my little house, it left me longing for an open floor plan. Whenever anyone comes over, I find myself apologizing for the little kitchen. Frankly, the little kitchen irritates me.
So there we were on Saturday night, 20 or so of my nearest and dearest Greenvillains (I'm not sure if they realize I refer to them as such, but now they do...) strewn throughout the house, eating, drinking and reveling in a general sense of merriment. At one point in the evening, I glanced over my shoulder to discover that nearly all of the guests were crowded in the little kitchen. They were chatting and happy and enjoying each other's company - shoulder to shoulder, but nobody really seemed to mind.
In a moment so full of life and love - a little kitchen has never seemed so big.
When the last of my guests had left, I found myself giving thanks for the joy of dirty dishes, evidence of an evening well spent. And it gave me pause to reflect on the relationships in my life.
These most important relationships and people cannot be summed up by the "about me" section on a Facebook profile, but here is what I can tell you about them...
They are the kind of people who show up early, volunteering to help party-prep so you could enjoy the evening just a little bit more. They are the kind of people who bring your beloved dog a housewarming gift, too. They bring you homemade biscotti for the morning after - and wine for whenever. They are the kind of people who Â pay attention to a dream you mentioned Â in casual conversation, and months later, show up carrying the dream topped with a bow. They are the kind of people who arrive with a hug and take a hug one last hug for the road. They are the kind of people who can fill a little kitchen with so much light, you forget it is little at all.
For me, my birthday was less about celebrating me - and so much more about celebrating the people, experiences, choices and relationships that have filled the first 30 chapters of the Story of Me.
"Buy the smallest space you can make work for you... in the nicest neighborhood you can afford." It's a theory that applies to relationships, too. In a time where "more" is often equated with "better," many people have lost site of what really matters: quality. Fill your small space, your little kitchen, your one, precious life with the best people you can find. The best friends, the most passionate people, the believers, the celebrators, the enthusiasts, the dreamers and doers. Fill your days with people who care about and believe in something you care about and believe in, too.
These are the people who will show up to your party. These are the people who will get down in the trenches with you, and rise up and take a stand with you. These are the people who will not only tell, but help you write The Story of You.
Which, in the end, turns out to be less "The Story of You" - and more of "The Story of Us."
Who will tell your story?