This photo was taken early this morning at the train station, right after I’d missed the express I wanted, as I stood in the rain to make the most of the (mediocre) light for this birthday selfie.

For today I am thirty-four years old.

As much as I love birthdays (Presents! Cake! Messages!), I have also, over the years, taken the opportunity of using these as a yardstick for what personal achievements I have – or haven’t – made over that time period. And because I’m pretty hard on myself, that ledger has traditionally been in the red.

I feel a little differently now. As the chronological number clicked over from thirty-three to thirty-four, there’s been much to feel happy about and proud of accomplishing: a new book, my New York trip, a few publication credits here and there, work. There’s been some not-great stuff too; my jaw problems, obviously.

Where the difference lies is in the way I’ve been able to conflate these all together into one word: full. It’s been a full year.

I’m quite satisfied with that definition.

I wrote a little yesterday – nothing to really brag about, a couple haiku and a tanka. But the cogs began turning. Hopefully they will keep turning, with greater ease and speed, in 2013.

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Karen Andrews is the creator of this website, one of the most established and well-respected parenting blogs in the country. She is also an author, award-winning writer, poet, editor and publisher at Miscellaneous Press. Her latest book is Crying in the Car: Reflections on Life and Motherhood.