A letter to my sister on her 30th birthday.

Amber, I know. You're probably like, "God dammit. Quit acknowledging my birthday. I want to pout and feel bad for myself. Fuck my life." I know you. It's how you roll. OMG you're 30! Noooo! EMERGENCY! Make it stop! Life! As I know it! Is over!

You're sad. You're disappointed. You're not where you thought you'd be at 30-years-old. But. But... You're supposed to be married! With a career! Happiness! Puppies! RAINBOWS. Stop. Look around you. All around you. Who has that? All of it? Sure, they're out there. I can count about nine of my friends with my eyes closed and hands tied behind my back who have all of that. But look around you. At the people closest to you. Do we all have that? Absolutely not.

You were engaged. You were going to be married in a pretty white dress with pretty white birdies in a pretty white chapel. That didn't happen. And thank fucking God. You didn't want that. You didn't. That's why you left it. You've loved, you've lost. You've cheated, you've lived. You've hurt, you've cried. So have I. So have all of us. It's 2010. The year you turn 30 years old. Love and relationships aren't perfect anymore. They're hard. You cried because that relationship was gone, and when you felt lonely, you wanted it back. But lonely is better than the life you would've truly had. Because lonely isn't forever.

I was engaged once, too. And then married. And then divorced. And now I'm 28, living in a studio apartment. With cats. Trust me, I've already disappointed everyone in my life there was to disappoint with that one. Including you, I'm sure. I am where I am now as a result of that decision, but you know what? I like where I am now. You aren't a disappointment to anyone but yourself. And don't be. So what? You're 30? You hate your job. That demographic fits so many people. You're not married, boo hoo. Guess what? You're not ready. But you will be one day. And so will I.

Thirty is a number. Thirty isn't what it was in 1990, when if you didn't have your whole life in your hands, and two bouncing children and a doting husband, you had nothing. Thirty is where our lives start now. Don't forget, I'm right behind you. Seventeen months separate us. I'm the baby sister, picking up the things that break off of you, and chasing you down to glue them back on. I'll be 30 soon, too. And dammit, we're gonna rock it. I'm excited for 30. Thirty is going to be what you make it. And you can make it whatever you want.

That's the difference between you and I. You choose to wake up, say "fuck my life," and be unhappy for the day. I wake up, say, "fuck, it's early," then hit snooze. I smile. I roll around on the floor with Harley. I don't need a reason to be happy. I just do it because my alternative is crap. And who wants that? Other than that big difference, what really is the difference between us? We both live in studios. Neither of us is married. Hell, at least you have a boyfriend. And one that dotes on you, at that. Just like every other boyfriend you've ever had. I don't have that. Haven't had that in almost two years. We both have great friends. Amazing parents. We're healthy. We oftentimes behave like overgrown kids. We've both made (large and small) mistakes. Our lives aren't that different, but our behaviors are.

Choose happy. Be happy. Live happy. Accept 30. Because you know what the alternative is to not turning 30? Not turning 30. Not having life. No brand new, shiny Volkswagen. No Jenna. No Jeff. No Eric. No silly rabbit that chews on your stuff and pees in your bed. No Dave Matthews Band. No Harry Potter, no Edward Cullen. No Team Jacob. No awful job that introduced you to some of your closest friends. No baby sister. No mom. No dad. No Christmas mornings in our pajamas when we're way to old to even pretend there's a Santa Clause anymore. No laughing. No macaroni and cheese. These all mostly seem trivial. I mean, vampires? Really? Come on? (And you know I'm not judging. Shit. I sleep on a pillow with an Edward Cullen pillowcase. That I got from you. For Christmas). But these are the things that  do make you happy. That make you you.

I don't think you realize the things you do have. You choose to see the things you don't. It's time to open your eyes. Accept what you have and become what you want. You're 30 and that's awesome. You're hilarious. You're personable. People are drawn to you like damn flypaper. You're loud. You're adventurous. It's your damn birthday. Demand attention because you can. Celebrate. For a week. For a month. Shit, celebrate all year.

Maybe you're rolling your eyes. (Oh, I know you are. Hi! I can see you! You pessimist). I bet mom's crying, because she cries. I'll put five dollars down on the fact that you'll wake up tomorrow, go to the computer, and somewhere in your Facebook status it's going to say, "FML." I'll slap my forehead, shake my head and laugh at you. Because you're silly. Your skull is thick. I don't know what positive message will ever reach you. But this right here is physical proof for all of the internet to see that you have every reason to be happy. Every reason to be excited. Every reason to have a happy birthday, despite your foot stomping and pouting.

You are loved. By me. So, duh. What else do you need? God. But you know who else loves you? EVERYBODY. Even your damn rabbit. That's love pee in your bed every day. You don't disappoint me. And if I have to drag you along with me on my little road to happiness, you know damn well I will. If I have to pee in your bed, I so will. So quit your bitching today. And smile. It's your birthday.

Love, little sister.

7.22.10