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A-Musings, Community

On My 33rd Birthday

by Chelsea Leader Gold
 ∙ Sep 17 ∙ 4 Min Read

In my annual ode to community wisdom, I’m stopped short and brought to tears. Today I turn 33, and I haven’t gone one day in the last three weeks without letting tears stream down my face in deep, feel-it-to-the-tips-of-my-fingers-and-through-my-every-vein gratitude. 

Three weeks ago tomorrow, this happened:

This is Peter, the partner who, in showing up for me, helps me show up for me, and in turn, helps me show up for you. I married Peter on August 28, one year after I thought I’d marry him, 20 years after I first told him I would.

Peter’s bar mitzvah board. My message to him.

Pete and I got engaged in 2019 (my Grandy made it to that milestone), and after a pretty tough year leading up to the engagement, I thought I couldn’t be more sure of who I was, who he was, what our families together were…our potential. 

Between then and now, I’ve learned how little I knew.* How much peripheral vision I lacked. How much more is possible in every year — in every hour and every minute — when I am not trying to be in touch with how much I know, but instead getting in touch with how much else I have to explore!!!

Since my 32nd birthday, I…

  • – Found a therapist who’s a soul-match (thanks to Campowerment expert Joanna Kleinman for making the connect)
  • – Got to lead Campowerment’s first fundraise to bring to life, and grow!
  • – Got very close to owning a camp in Joshua Tree in a whirlwind two weeks that allowed me (and Tam!) to learn and collaborate and dream with two of the smartest people who’ve been in our lives for longer than I’ve been around 
  • – Broke down and almost completely rebuilt my relationship with my now-husband, revealing to both of us (and our families) all that we are made of
  • – Called on the best of friends for help, and got even more than I could have ever needed
  • – Had the most epic celebration of love with more than 100 humans we adore (and without COVID – bless)
  • – Was completely nurtured by my mom when I most needed her to help me move through my existential moments
  • – Started expanding my heart and mind, and I hope, the trajectory of our lineage, when my baby sister came out as trans and showed me what it’s like to transcend unnecessary barriers that hold us back or in
  • – Said “goodbye for now” to New York City after 9 years of magic, and hello to my next chapter (in Philadelphia, to start)

Last year on my birthday I shared this — 32 Things You’ve Taught Me — but today, I don’t share 33 lessons I learned this year, because I think I learned, like, 4…big ones, and everything else folds underneath those.

1  What listening to your heart, fully, looks like in action: unwavering conviction paired with grace

2 How not to see things in the binary

3 How to ask for help

4 Belief in change: Anyone can be anything if they are invested in it…and if they are invested in.

For a week, I’ve been thinking about what I would share with you all today. In my head I pined over making it more about the lessons you taught me, but when I sat down to really write it this morning (in that bday glow, ya know?), I wrote what I wanted to; I wrote about me, realizing that so many of you and the experiences we share have helped me find her.

So, thank you. For always, from the campfire and beyond…

*What is little? What is much? I knew it all; I just didn’t see it yet

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