B is for Birthday


Dear Self,
You’ve made it to your 26th birthday without winding up dead, pregnant, or in jail – congratulations! As your friend Joel once told you, and you have now adopted as your occasional motto, “It could be worse.” Ah, the negative spin on a positive idea… you have always excelled at such sentiments.

So much has happened since your 25th birthday one year ago. Most significantly, you packed up your little Honda and left your beloved home in Seattle. Even though you were excited for the adventure ahead and put on a brave and buoyant front, you were terrified. The unknown has always been an uncomfortable place for you, and when you left Seattle in September of 2007, you had absolutely no way of knowing what the impending months would hold.

Little did you know, the coming year was going to rule.

You drove through 30 states. You climbed some Rocky Mountains. You saw old friends, and met new ones. You snarfled your nephews. You charmed a snake on the streets of Austin. You attended various weddings and parties. You ran a 5K. You sat in the cockpit of a Navy plane. You saw both the Pacific and the Atlantic Oceans. You ate Lebanese food in Washington, D.C., and cheeseburgers in Alabama, and tapas in Boston, and seafood on an island off the coast of South Carolina. You gained weight. You lost weight. You gained weight. You lost weight. Get used to it. You saw the Appalachian Mountains. You crunched through crimson and orange and golden leaves. You saw “The Lion King” on Broadway. You wrote songs. You sang. You navigated the New York subway. You hailed a cab. You planted yourself in an unknown city. You talked to strangers. You found an apartment. You rounded up an entire household’s worth of furniture. You found a job. You quit the job. You found another job. You chopped off all your hair. You earned frequent flyer miles. You established a routine. You killed the cockroaches. You caught the fireflies. You read books. You recorded some demos. You started playing shows. You met huge country stars. You met ex-convicts. You explored. You tried. You experienced.

Of course, it wasn’t easy. You cried more tears in the past 12 months than you have ever cried before. A dog barfed on the backseat of your car, and on hot days, the smell still lingers. You had your heart beaten up a couple of times. You experienced true mortification and embarrassment. You hurt people. You had no expendable income. You walked through life’s nightmares with friends. You battled depression like never before. You were disappointed. You were let down. You felt lonely. You felt ugly. You felt afraid.

But through God’s grace, you made it to this point. Now, as you look ahead at the coming year, you are faced with the same uncertainty you had a year ago. Where is this all leading? What’s the purpose? What’s going to happen? Why are you here – in this job, in this situation, in this city, in this world, in this life?

But Self, I am learning that I don’t think we ever really get the answers to those questions. We just keep walking, and keep moving, and keep living. This year, I hope you’ll ask less and listen more. Keep your sense of wonder. But don’t worry, or agonize, or work yourself into a tizzy. There is a purpose for it all, even if you never see it.

You are young. You have so much to learn. However, 26 years and 100 years are exactly the same, depending on how long you’ve lived – so embrace today as a marker of how far you’ve come. Today, you break your own record of “most consecutive days lived” – so go ahead and break your alcohol fast already! Especially because this weekend, this man:

… sent you flowers in a beer stein, which were delivered straight to your bedside.

Cheers [*clink*],

Me. Or, um… You.



  1. erin on August 4, 2008 at 8:18 AM

    HAPPY BIRTHDAY!!!! I’m so so proud of you! What a huge year you’ve had. I feel so blessed for having known you this year, and been a little part of your growing up.

    I’m guessing the flowers/baloon is a little gift from across the street? Amazing. Your life should be a movie, and the only theme song i can come up with is Laverne and Shirley. Sue me.

  2. MB on August 4, 2008 at 8:39 AM

    What a bright part of my day your blog has become! I think we’re all inspired by your guts and honesty too. Happy Birthday Annie!

  3. luke on August 4, 2008 at 9:15 AM

    happy birthday annie parsons

  4. Greta on August 4, 2008 at 9:35 AM

    I remember the Hailing a Taxi blog. :)

    Oh Annie’s self… How I love thee. And whither and thither thou may’st roam, fear not that Verizon’s inter-network plan shall ne’er fail to provide free discussion of: wedding bouquets, egregious brandishers, hair-cuts, gigs, new songs, God, families, and, of course, Jim Halpert. Thou art my favorite, and a truer friend there ne’er was.

    Get ready for a really random birthday present… :)

  5. Rebecca on August 4, 2008 at 9:36 AM

    You are amazing. I’m so thankful you were born!!!!! :)

    Happy Birthday!!!! Love, love, love you.

  6. Greta on August 4, 2008 at 9:38 AM

    p.s. The word verification I had to type in for the last post was “igivmjy,” which broken out, looks like “I giv mj y” which sort of looks like, “I give my y” which could be further developed to, “I give my you,” which could be paraphrased as, “I GIVE MY LOVE TO YOU.”

    Which is true.

    The verification sequence this post is just ilztu. Which is. Nothing very spectacular.

    (Sometimes I can’t actually figure out what they say, and I type them in wrong… And… I feel really not intelligent.)


  7. breepick on August 4, 2008 at 9:43 AM

    Happy Birthday, Annie!!!

  8. Deborah Barnett on August 4, 2008 at 9:46 AM

    Annie – I love the way you process life. And I love you. ‘Nuff said.

    Accept that my word verification was apkzpj

    which I am sure stands for Annie Parsons Knits Zippered PJ’s.

    or maybe

    Annie Parsons Knows Zillions of Prison Jokes

  9. Deborah Barnett on August 4, 2008 at 9:48 AM

    and I meant “except” not “accept”

    So much for my being an English major

    (this verification is vhekq and I got nothin’)

  10. wrecklessgirl on August 4, 2008 at 9:58 AM

    hope you have an outrageous birthday, anniegirl.

  11. Kelli on August 4, 2008 at 10:12 AM

    Happy Birthday!!!

    26 is going to rock!! I hope you have a fantastic day!

  12. rachel rianne on August 4, 2008 at 10:40 AM

    happy birthday lovely.
    i hope this next year is as adventurous as the last.

    but maybe just stay in nashville long enough for me to come visit you.
    unless you want to just keep moving around so that i can use your friends and connections around the country.
    i’d be okay with that too.

  13. Jason Matthews on August 4, 2008 at 12:16 PM

    Hey Annie,

    Beth mentioned that I should contact you. Ha! Actually your name came up on Friday night when I was at testing Beth’s country music knowledge. I had to show her a cool video I found online about Ty Herndon. She told me, “Annie would love this stuff you are telling me.” Anyhow, she gave me your blog address and said your knowledge of music has got to be better than mine. Enjoyed reading your blog. Congrats on getting to another age. Looking forward to talking music when you come out for the wedding.


  14. Luke and Maggie on August 4, 2008 at 5:16 PM

    Happy birthday Annie! Hope it was an awesome day! :-)

  15. Sarah Kate on August 5, 2008 at 11:12 AM

    You got flowers…from an ex-con? Man my life is so unexciting.

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