Anna Maria Locke



Last weekend I turned 27. A new age, a new year, a blank slate to fill. My birthday snuck up on me and then slipped right on by, just like all the days of April this year. 

I ushered in the first half of my birthday by myself, in central eastern Illinois, at an environmental educators conference. It was warmer than it's been up here in Chicago, the magnolias were in full bloom, and it felt nice to relax into nature, hundreds of miles away from the noise and chaos and cement of the city.

Then I drove back to Chicago and spent the rest of the day with Ben, quietly and filled with all my favorite foods. Lunch at Panera (where I got a free birthday cookie!), an afternoon nap, and a deliciously indulgent dinner at an amazing Columbian steakhouse, followed by a late night trip to the grocery store, giddy and tipsy on wine and rum, to pick up some cake and ice cream. 

Three years ago on my 24th birthday, I also ate lunch with Ben at Panera, after hiking in the mountains of Central Pennsylvania. He had just asked me to marry him on the side of an ancient mountain, and I was overwhelmed and giddy with excitement. So much has happened since that particular birthday.

Twenty-six was a year of big grown-up transitions. My first full year of lots of big things: marriage, holding a full-time job, owning an Etsy business, and making friendships that already run deep and have impacted the course of my life.

I'm looking forward to 27. My mom says that was her "ideal age" when she reflected back on her twenties--it's kind of a transient year between your early adulthood and the next phase of life, the big scary one that includes mortgages and babies. 

This is getting deep way too I will end with some pretty pictures from my wetland boardwalk tour in Kennekuk County!

I am looking forward to seeing what comes next in this new year of life! I have a feeling it's going to be a big one.