Harriet: Age 33

Happy thirty-three to me!

[Insert birthday party here!]

I’ve not ever really been one to freak out about getting older, it happens to everyone and I do not somehow pedestalize youth–mine or anyone else’s. I’m thirty-three. Yesterday I was thirty-two. Not that big of a deal. (Although, I will say, that today I have cake and birthday candles, and yesterday there were no candles. So, it’s pretty clear which day I prefer.)

How will you spend your birthday?
This morning will be spent with bookish friends at the largest used book sale in the western United States, conveniently happening in Phoenix on my birthday weekend. I’m so glad they scheduled it that way for me. The rest of the birthday weekend will involve hanging out with said friends, with Blue Eyes, and generally enjoying a house full of people and birthday cake. This may go down as the best birthday ever.

Compared to this time last year, are you: a) happier or sadder? b) thinner or fatter? c) richer or poorer?
Happier-ish; thinner; richer (but still not rich. Powerball loser, right here.). I feel it important to note that correlation is not causation.

What did you do last year that you’ve never done before?
I was interviewed on the radio for my job; moved to a new state.

What was your favorite discovery last year?
Mary Wollstonecraft!!! Oh man, she was a pre-French Revolution major feminist. She was despised for her writing in her time, but she is such a power house!

What do you hope to learn this coming year?
Spanish. I received Rosetta Stone for Christmas and downloaded the DuoLingo app as well, I’m slowly remembering those 2 years of high school Spanish and improving my skills.

What would you like to have this year that you didn’t have last year?
New roots. I just yanked my Salt Lake roots out and still feel like I’m dangling a little, hopefully I can replant those here in Arizona and begin to feel like–at least for now–this is home.

What was your biggest achievement of this year?
I had a couple of solid wins at work this year. I single-handedly organized an enormous conference in September (793 attendees) that was a smash success; in November the program I manage for my state went off with tremendous success and media coverage, from all counts it was the best yet.

What was your biggest failure?
Probably a consistent tug of war on my attitude towards moving to Arizona. I kind of wish I had been better about that, although, I do miss home every day, so, there’s that.

Where did you travel this year?
I tried to fit in as much adventuring this year as possible, and I feel I succeeded in that. Some were documented here, others were not. I visited Arizona almost a dozen times in 2015, which kind of sounds crazy, mostly because it is crazy. I also went to Chicago twice to see my sister; visited a few parks and monuments in Utah; went on a delightful road trip through Colorado, Kansas, Nebraska, South Dakota, and Wyoming; laughed my way through a weekend in Northern California with my best friend; drove to Montana for a week with Family Blue Eyes; hiked the tallest peak in Nevada; spent a few days in Charleston, South Carolina followed by a 4 days of humid hell in Orlando, Florida (ugh!); and wrapped up the year with a couple of days in San Antonio, Texas before I spent every spare moment packing, moving to Arizona, and then unpacking…followed immediately by a trip back to Salt Lake for Christmas. Yowza, lots of traveling this year!

Do you have a destination in mind for next year?
I’d really love to spend a week or so alone with Blue Eyes, somewhere relaxing and quiet where we can sleep in and go adventuring and just be together. Schedules and available PTO and time with his kids means this probably won’t happen, but a girl can dream. However, the beach in Mexico is also only about 4 hours away, so that is definitely on my list, as is a long weekend in Santa Fe, New Mexico.

What did you get really excited about?
Russian history and Russian literature, art museums, home improvements (yes, really), and feminism (some more).

What do you wish you’d done more of?
Quality time with Blue Eyes…now that we don’t live 700 miles apart that should be easier to accomplish.

What do you wish you’d done less of?
Worrying. Not that I really have any true control over my anxiety, but man, I wish it wasn’t so prevalent in my life.

What was the best book you read?
I cannot actually narrow this down to a single book out of over 100. I did manage to narrow it down to 11 books, here, and that should be celebrated. That being said, the books that have probably stayed with me the most are Incidents in the Life of a Slave Girl, by Harriet Jacobs, followed closely by Romantic Outlaws, by Charlotte Gordon.

What did you want and get?
Adventure! A dishwasher! A laundry room! To live with Mr. Blue Eyes!

What did you want and not get?
A lime tree and a pomegranate tree. Don’t worry, the yard is almost ready for them!

What one thing would have made your year immeasurably more satisfying?
Being able to afford a professional moving company to pack up the apartment in Salt Lake, load all the boxes and furniture on a truck, drive it south, and unload and unpack. Ugh. I hate packing.

What kept you sane?
Friends, reading, painting (canvas, not walls), nature. Not necessarily in that order, but probably pretty close.

What political issue stirred you the most?
I am still baffled that Trump exists as a viable “political figure”, let alone a candidate for President. I also think that fear over refugees, religious differences, and generally of anyhting “other” is at a freaking insane fever pitch. Stop, just stop.

Also, last year’s answer could easily be copy-pasted into this year’s post. In fact, I think I’mma do that: I am so annoyed and irritated by the lack of true gender equality in all its forms. I can get riled up about feminism and why more people should care more about it in about 2 seconds flat. I want more people to understand the actual definitions of patriarchy, benevolent sexism, and feminism. Hint: “feminism” does not mean “man hating.” It is really just the radical notion that women are people too and deserve the same full range of rights and benefits as their male counterparts. If you think feminism = man-hating you really need to educate yourself and examine why you think that, i.e. what person or institution is trying to convince you that championing the rights of women is somehow a negative thing.

I’d like to add that flippant ignorant comments by the General Population about how women are somehow less than, should be degraded, should accept their subservient lot in life, etc. Ugh. People are the worst.

Did you fall in love?
Yes, with Salt Lake (again) and with Blue Eyes (again).

Who did you miss?
My people in Salt Lake, my nieces and nephews, siblings, and the glorious rocky mountains.

Did you learn a valuable life lesson this year?
I’m not sure if I truly learned this or not, but Dory has been in my head a lot lately:

Just keep swimming.

It’s pretty easy for me to shut down completely when I feel overwhelmed, but–shocker–that does nothing to dissipate the overwhelmed-ness. Even when I really didn’t want to, I tried to continue to put one foot in front of the other, break big projects down into smaller pieces, and just tackle what I could, as I could.

Harriet sig



Previous birthday posts here: Age 32

0 thoughts on “Harriet: Age 33

  1. onestepmomentatatime

    Happy, happy Birthday! Enjoy! Don’t forget… My mom has always told me you can celebrate as long as someone will celebrate with you (although I don’t see the harm in celebrating by yourself either), so keep enjoying that cake! And books. And anything else!

    As always, just keep swimming is a good reminder.

    Have a great one!
    From a fellow powerball loser. One of these days…

  2. Nic

    I was 33 when I decided to move from Ohio (where I’d lived my whole life) to Utah to become someone new. Best decision ever. New friends and adventures and perspective. I think 33 shall be the new coming of age…er, age. 😀

  3. Jen

    Happy happy day! I love these questions; I’m a big sucker for self-awareness and reflection and crap like that. Also: I’ll be 33 this year too. I feel like we might be internet soul mates.

  4. nonsequiturchica

    Happy belated birthday! I would definitely recommend Santa Fe- we went for our 5 year anniversary and it’s a wonderful place to visit!

    1. Feisty Harriet Post author

      YESSS! Now, if it will only cool down a little so we can plant, that would be lovely. (92 here yesterday. Kill me. IT’S FEBRUARY!)


      On Thu, Feb 18, 2016 at 2:35 PM, Feisty Harriet wrote:


  5. Kelsie O

    We have so much in common! What a year you’ve had. I also moved to a different state within the last year.

    Do you have any Russian books you’d recommend?

    1. Feisty Harriet Post author

      I have two Russia-y that I really loved, the first is “Master and Margarita” by Mikhail Bulgakov, it was written in the 1930s but not published until 50ish years later, it’s kind of magical realism and a critique of the Soviet government as well, it was so unexpected and just fantastic. I also really liked Nicholas and Alexandra, by Robert Massie, which gives a solid history of the Russian tsars and details about the fall of their reign and the destruction of the Romanov family.


  6. melanie

    I’m late to wishing you happy birthday but I truly enjoyed this post and getting to know you. I can never pick a favourite book either, that’s always an impossible question. I hope 33 is a wonderful year for you – it sounds like things are going really well.


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