Liz: I’m sorry, you have a problem with the science of “Hot Tub Time Machine”?
Wesley: Not the time travel, it’s the hot tub. You don’t just turn one on and it’s immediately hot. I should know, I’ve been in a hot tub two times.

Over the past few months I have become somewhat obsessed with a particular baking book, with the ultimate goal that I make everything in the book that I have the equipment for (prior to this book I had never heard of a “pizzelle,” let alone a “pizzelle maker”). And so far, I love it. It’s more than just stress relief, though that’s part of it. I bake because there’s a warmth that goes into kneading bread and rolling out cookie dough and because I hope that whoever winds up eating my dessert will feel loved. For me, that’s the ultimate measure of success, not whether or not the pear and rosemary tart I made reminds people of sausage (yeah, that one’s still a little raw). There’s truth to the phrase “comfort food,” and sweets remind us of when we were little, when the world seemed bigger but somehow safe. I’ve told my sister several times throughout the course of baking all of this that I would make a great 1950’s housewife, as I don’t mind doing laundry or dishes and have a very strong desire to cook, bake, and take care of people. (On paper it doesn’t make sense that I’m single…)

Tomorrow is my 27th birthday. Around this time last year, I tweeted a few lists with the tag “#thingsiwilldomy26thyear.” And, being both absent-minded and stubborn, I didn’t save this list as a document so I spent part of my lunch break yesterday scrolling through my old tweets until I found the ones I wanted. Some are more vague (“smile more” and “give away my time lavishly”) while others are concrete (“buy a house” and “figure out how to make good chocolate chip cookies”) and I’ve done about half of the things on the list. There’s something in my soul that feels good when I can check things off of a list, so I’m happy that I got as far as I did over the past year.

During my 26th year I learned a few things that I hope I remember and keep in perspective. Like, if you want to spend time with people you really care about, sometimes you have to tolerate those you don’t. And that the easiest way to handle being around those people is to look past their walls and see that they’re the same broken mess that you are.

I understand that what I want more than pretty much anything is time. Time to spend with people, both one-on-one and in groups. Time to read more, to sleep more, to be outside more and, shockingly enough, time to work more. I want time to go on big adventures and little day trips, time to sew and draw and paint and write. And I want all of this time because in my head, time means love. You prioritize your time based on what you love the most and, as I haven’t figured out how to be in multiple places at the same time, I have to make choices and miss things.

I am learning that people value me more than I think they do and that I don’t really make it easy for them. As much as I claim to be well-versed in multiple love languages, that’s more about expressing love, not receiving it. I am both humbled by and thankful for those who invest in my life because they love me.

And, most importantly, I’ve learned that I’m never going to get all of the attention/affirmation/affection that I need from people. We weren’t made to be the end-all, be-all for each other. There will be times when I’m hurt because I lose this perspective and become cynical, but this can’t be an excuse not to love people extravagantly. There is something about showing love that is so amazing that it’s how I want to spend my life. It’s how I was made and what I was made to do.

I have a lot of hope for this next year of my life. I want to find more stability, meet my future husband, and learn more about who I am. I am already excited to read next year’s birthday blog.

Love, always.