There is a special power to intentions set on a birthday: this is something one of my dearest friends reminded me of last week when I moved through a birthday of my own. At 56, I’m looking down the road to my elder-spin. I know it’s a ways off, and this is a good time for me to live in such a way that when it’s time for me to spin, I can still stand straight and tall after the sparkles wear off. And maybe, with powerful intentions and healthy, mindful living, I can avoid the spin entirely, and simply live through my days without cloaking myself in a label that attempts to limit and define our capacity, and live instead, with grateful acceptance of the transitions and change in form yet to come.

On the afternoon of her birthday, Sugar painted the final masterpiece needed to complete her Painter Extraordinaire aspiration.


That trip to Granite Falls provides a memory to treasure.

She gazed at the painting: Chandler fishing at Granite Falls.

I wondered, as I looked into her face, peaceful in its concentration, what powerful intention she was setting for herself. Is she choosing her next aspiration?

What do I know of this Sim and who she is and what she wants for her life?

There is so much more to her than these tasks I queue up for her to complete, than these whims I help her fill, than these milestones that, together, we keep knocking off.


What powerful intentions are you forming on your birthday, Sugar?

She has now, on the day of her elder birthday, completed her tenth adult aspiration.

Here are all the aspirations she’s completed, in addition to the four childhood aspirations:

Mansion Baron
Body Builder
Musical Genius
Friend of the World
Freelance Botanist
Nerd Brain
Renaissance Sim
Computer Whiz
Painter Extraordinaire

She has a whopping 44 traits.

I was looking forward to her birthday party. The family has moved through their period of grief, though they will still visit the graveyard autonomously to mourn for Chandler.

Salix, too, completed the Painter Extraordinaire aspiration right before the party started.

We had a great guest list: in attendance were the childhood friends, all now young adults, and Cassie, the beautiful woman with the short hair who seems a little interested in Doug.

While the guest were arriving, the family sat to a meal of sheesh kabobs that onezero had grilled up.

I heard a sound like chimes–or a ringing bell. What is that sound? I know I’ve heard it before.

And then I saw, on the table next to Sugar, the white cup. That’s what that noise was!


Where’d that come from?

But, Sugar! You’ve already drunk from the white cup!

She had taken it out of her inventory, where we’d been keeping it in case some romantic interest of Tam, Doug, or onezero were heading into elder-spin, and she had placed it beside her on the table.

And before I could say, “Pinstar compliance”–she drank it.


It doesn’t taste as chalky as she remembered.

So much for the birthday party. So much for Pinstar’s rules, which allow for only one serving per Sim.

This is her second helping. She’d had her first cup on the eve of her adult birthday.

When she had drained the dregs, she looked so happy, so satisfied with her decision. So fulfilled.


“There’s still so much I want to do!”

So this was your intention!

Autononously, Sugar has defeated time. She knew, on her birthday, that there was one thing that could prevent her from becoming an elder, and she knew that one thing was there, in her inventory, and, of her own free will, she chose to drink it before fate or the birthday cake impelled her to turn and spin.

I spent the rest of the party in awe, trying to put together the full significance of what had happened while I checked in with everyone else.

In the kitchen, friends and family danced and joked. Doug warned of the dangers of a musical library consisting solely of pop, and Cassie said, “It may be mindless, but we can dance to it!”


It’s a little harder to dance to classical–though it can be done!

Doug and Tam, in true snob fashion, discussed the semiotics of children’s tv shows, analyzing the signifiers like dancing hotdogs and singing Social Bunnies, in “The Bunny Farm.”


“It’s a fertility symbol, I’m telling you!”

I noticed that Nathanael, who has that special body build that seems to always find its way into the Bough line, looked at Tam with a certain sideways grin.


“I’ve been sort of waiting for you to grow up, Nate.”

onezero had her fill of conversation, music, and noise, so she found a quiet computer and browsed the web.


So much to learn!

Salix, the party mixologist, realized that she would be facing her elder years alone, without her little sister along for this particular part of the journey. Yet she was inspired by and proud of her sister’s decision. And to think! This way, her sister might be around long enough to see Tam’s children become young adults, and maybe even, to see them have children of their own. What would that be? Generation nine.


“To think! Maybe she will even be here to see the gen 10 baby born!”

As for Sugar, she knew what she was doing. She had calculated both the risks and the rewards. She had decided that her life was worth more than complying to arbitrary rules. She knew her power, and she saw no reason not to take it.


There’s not much she does that isn’t well-thought out.

It’s her life, after all. Not mine. Not Pinstar’s. If she has within her grasp the means to forestall the inevitable, she is going to use it. After all, autonomy means, “I decide.”


You made the best decision, dear heart. Thank you.