In Which I Find I’m 29

It’s my birthday, and it’s 6:44 am. I’m in the cavernous shared showroom of Coava Coffee Roasters & Bamboo Revolution, a steaming cup of Ethiopian Kochere beside me fitfully reflecting the overhead lights on its sheeny surface. Outside, just past the old drill press that doubles as a table, cars and pedestrians splash refracted puddles as Portland starts to come down off its mount of frozen shock.


With a sense of astonishment, I find I’ve slipped over the brink into my twenty-ninth year. The past few years have held relocation/dislocation, childbirth & mothering, romance, professional accomplishment, education, lots of Dickens novels, and even more coffee. As I lift my cup to my lips and savor its buttery mouthfeel, decipher dried blueberries and honey overlaying a mellow wine with an oaky finish, I find I don’t even have the strength to wonder what will happen next.


You see, I am content. Though parenting a toddler had me in tears last night, though a hard deadline rides me now, and though I have absolutely no idea how this whole “two-parents-working-full-time-sans-childcare” thing is going to work out, I cam content. I have battled for love, and won. At twenty-nine I have borne my pain and know I will bear more in the future. And I have tasted my wine, sipped my magic, dabbled in miracle. I bear some scars and know I will earn more.


Fully engaged in the sensory whirlwind that is life, I pause while past, present, and future converge here in the early morning in Portland, Oregon. I find I am content.


  1. Well put Em, being content is a good feeling. Wow 29 huh?? Where did the time go?? Proud of your accomplishments and can’t wait to hear about more.

  2. This is great, Emily. Your muscles have been worked hard. Your emotions have been stretched in all directions. Your courage has been tested, and your strengths affirmed. On your 29th Birthday, I am hoping that this next year will show bring you an good harvest of the fruits of your labor. Happy Birthday! Keep being awesome.

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