Surprise, Surprise, Surprise.

In June of 2004, my newly-wed husband and a few close girlfriends threw me a surprise 30th birthday party at the home of another beloved friend. I was dressed for a lazy day at her pool, (i.e. ratty t-shirt, ball cap, no makeup – you get the picture), not a happy greeting from a few dozen of my closest friends. It took a few minutes for the shock to wear off.  (In fact, I started to bawl.)   BUT after I brushed my hair and had a beer, it was was a banner day.

Who could have known that “surprises” would become my unofficial theme for the next 10 years.  My 30s have been chock full of big ones, little ones, happy ones and of course, a few sad ones, to keep me on my toes.

Here are just a few:

  • Baby #1: A boy in 2005.  Vader’s birth was not only really late, but his gender was a surprise.  He came out screaming and peeing all over the place.
  • Family migration: Not one but TWO sisters would leave South Florida and move to North Florida, making it the place with the highest concentration of “Bloch Broads” in Florida.  How did that happen?
  • Baby #2: A pregnancy in June, 2007.  We had just bought a 1970’s traditional house (complete with a green potty) and planned to spend 2 years fixing it up.  THEN, we’d planned to have another baby.  “Well,” we said, “I guess, we can handle one more kid?!”  But then, 6 weeks later…
  • PSYCH – IT IS TWINS!  Now we are really getting the whole “Want to make God laugh? Tell him your plans.”
  • Start an IT company:   HH said, “Hey you have a good idea.  You should go tell someone about it. You never know what could happen? Perhaps it will turn into something.”    So I register and pitch my idea at the 2012 Jacksonville Start Up weekend, win the whole thing in dramatic fashion, meet my dream business partner along the way, co-found, make the front page of the Jacksonville Business Journal (two times), and become a 2013 Top Innovator in North Florida. Huh??!?!
  • Lose loved ones: In the span of 3 years, HH and I lost 3 parents, all way too early.  Never any way to prepare for that.  Sandy, Lou and my dad are all missed daily.
  • Start a 2nd company: After confessing to my friend that I could not simply take on one more thing, I did anyway (thank heaven.)  Even when the Bank of American layoffs impacted HH last fall (another surprise), we have not missed a beat thanks to Rodan + Fields. In fact, we are better off now than we were when he was working full time.  Now HH gets to focus on his dream job for a change.  Meanwhile, I have been pleasantly surprised with trips to Napa Valley, Nashville, Austin and (hopefully) San Francisco.
  • Build a kitchen where our dining room once was, and then demo the old kitchen – because…hmmm…well, I am not sure, but it seemed like a good idea at the time.  (Just ask my friend Meghan, who helped swing the first hammer for demolition back in January 2011 during the Super Bowl.)  Every step has truly been a surprise, because I am the designer, and I have no idea what I am doing next.
  • A kid with ADHD:  This one has been HUGE.  I have learned so much about what my boys need, especially Vader.  Coming from a family of all girls who got good grades and sat still in church, the surprises keep coming.  Some days are filled with “ah-ha moments”; others are chock full of random grenades being lobbed in our direction.  You just have to move out of the way, let the bombs go off, and move on.
  • My friendships.  I had good friends in high school and in college, but the group of gals and guys who I am lucky enough to call friends in my 30’s is so diverse and talented, loving, funny and smart, I am in awe. From my Cruise Girls, who I have celebrated birthdays, babies and holidays with, to my Junior League friends, who have seen me at my finest (tailgating before the Whale of a Sale or buying not one, not two, BUT THREE Christmas trees at the Festival of Trees – SURPRISE HH!) to the folks I am lucky enough to have served with on philanthropic boards and worked beside at volunteer events, to my co-workers at the Chamber, Cornerstone, Mystical Basket, and at my current job, to the moms I have laughed and cried with about parenting, to the ladies I am lucky enough to work with as business partners at Rodan + Fields… I am surrounded my amazing people. So many of these people came into my life in my 30s (or became a bigger part of it over the last 10 years) and I am constantly surprised (and grateful) at the marvelous company I get to keep.

There are others…

I have left out a few of the surprises that taught me life lessons through pain or heartbreak, but like the ones above, I could not have predicted them.  While I would not want to go through the ugly ones again, I wouldn’t change a thing.

My 30’s have been, hands down, the best years of my life.

So bring it, 40.

The 30’s set the bar pretty high.  Let’s see what you can do.




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