On the Eve of 30

by Tabitha Kidwell

On my twenty-third birthday, Miami University (my alma mater) was in Columbus playing Ohio State (my life-long team) in football. All of my friends from college came into Columbus for the game. All of my extended family was tailgating around the stadium. It was a beautiful end-of-summer day. It had all the makings of a perfect birthday. Except that I was 9000 miles away, alone in my concrete house in Madagascar. I didn’t even tell anyone in my town it was my birthday. I just sat in my house and moped.

Yesterday, OSU trounced Miami yet again, and it would have been fun to kick off birthday weekend at that game. But I am again on the other side of the world. And, an even more fortuitous aligning of the stars is occurring tonight: Hall and Oates, my absolute favorite guilty pleasure (except I’m not guilty at all) is playing at the LC pavilion just a short walk from where I used to live. It would have been incredible to spend the last night of my 20s rocking out to Rich Girl and Private Eyes. But I won’t be there.

Still, I don’t regret these incredible moments of missed synchronicity one bit. The journey my life has taken of the last 30 years is what has made me who I am. Spending the lamest birthday ever in 2005 was only one day of my incredible two years in Madagascar that has, in turn, shaped the rest of my life path. And, no matter how amazing it would be to be in Columbus tonight surrounded by long-term friends and family, I know deep down that I am exactly where I need to be right now. I’ve been thinking a lot recently about the last 10 years, and I just feel so profoundly grateful for every experience I have had and every amazing person I have met. They have made me who I am, and at 29 and 364 days, I really like the person I have become. I am truly blessed to live in Indonesia and do whatever I can to make the world around me just a little bit better. So, thank you to everyone who has been part of this 30-year journey. I can’t wait to continue it with you.

“There was nowhere to go but everywhere, so just keep on rolling under the stars.” -Jack Kerouac

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