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.


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 Trust the Process: 101 Tips on Writing and Creativity