TGIF: Now That I’m Older …


Thoughts on the eve of my 30th birthday.

“You get old and you realize there are no answers, just stories.”
— Garrison Keillor

Now That I’m Older …

I think twice before using the word “hate.”
I invest in good friends and good bras.
I avoid “beauty” magazines.

I say, “I don’t know.” Often.
I lean into the uncomfortable.
I feel pain and beauty. Deeply.

I know that …
I’m not as “fat, ugly or stupid” as I feel.
Everyone needs a friend they can call at 4am.
I like my eggs sunny-side up.

I sip, I savour, I sing.
I ferment, I fiddle, I fail.

There is something about …
“Landslide” by Fleetwood Mac that makes me weep.
A drastic haircut that feels like a second chance at life.
A kind heart that is sexy-as-heck.

Poetry trumps the news.
Channel pain to create art.
Don’t wait for perfect. Do it now.

I now know that …
Hurt people, hurt people.
Friends break hearts.
Friends (also) heal hearts.

Mama does know best.

Debauchery is a raisin Danish with a custard centre
Anger is a broken heart in disguise
Life is “brutiful” (brutal + beautiful)

I now know that …
There are no answers.
Only stories.

Oh Stevie … your voice wrecks me.

“Can the child within my heart rise above?
Can I sail through the changing ocean tides?
Can I handle the seasons of my life?”


My dear ones …

– Have you had a milestone birthday?
– Do any of my truths resonate with you?
– What do you know now, that you wish you knew then?

Love you more than Potato Chip Cookies, (<- Recipe)

To read more TGIFs from Tina: Click here.

Tina Francis
My name is Tina. Loved ones call me: Teen. Words are my chocolate. Music, my caramel. Photography, my bread. Girlfriends, my butter. Confession: Some girls dream about Manolo Blahniks or their next Hermes bag. Not me. I dream of freshly baked bread, perfectly barbecued meat & steaming bowls of Pho. My dream lover *cue Mariah Carey song* is someone who would read out a menu to me in Barry White’s baritone voice. I celebrate food, ask for help, interrupt conversations, laugh and cry hard, acknowledge the elephant in most rooms, fight for the underdog and believe in the power of storytelling. I was born and raised in Dubai and currently live in the beautiful city of Vancouver, known for some of the best sushi in the world.
Tina Francis
Tina Francis


  1. Shereen D'Souza says:

    Happy Birthday my dear friend. As Sherrine said, you make 30 look real good. I have to say every year does get better Teen and you make sense of a lot of ‘the changing ocean tides.’ Thank you for all that you are do and God Bless. Love you and big hugs xox

    • My dear fifth grade friend Shereen,

      Thank you for being such a constant source of love, affection and authenticity. My year has been richly blessed by having you along for the journey. So glad we have connected after all of these years.

      You are SO loved, Shereen,


  2. Aaaahhh….Landslide… many an hour playing repeat, praying and listening for MY answer from the Great Almighty. You are a beautiful woman/lady/girl/friend/inspiration. Thank you for making the choice to be the true you and then (the even bigger) to share you. Happy Birthday Tina Francis, and thanks fore helping me run <3 Hugs and Love, Kelly Dawson

    • Running with you was an honour, Kelley. Thank you for being real and passionate. I love the fierce woman that you are.

      You are by far one of the Top 10 huggers I have ever met. That is saying something.

      And oh….you make super-adorable babies. *insert squeal*


  3. Happy Birthday gorgeous!! Love your post.
    I resonate with the line ‘Time makes you bolder’ and it sure has.
    I realise now that – I don’t have to be Perfect, I just have to BE , I just wish I knew it years ago.

    It’s been over a year since I’ve caught the TGIF bug and with every post , I have learned to BE better , to BE the change I want to see in the world . So Thank you Teen .

    • When I think of you Heidi, I think of this little ball of light, that just keeps growing and growing and growing.

      I love the beautiful woman you are blooming into.

      So thrilled I get to witness the journey from the sidelines.

      Lots of love,
      P.S. Thank you for your super kind words and for being so open. You bless me in more ways than you will ever know.

  4. Words well said. I turn 30 next month and I swear to the Lord that I want to write these words down and repeat them to myself all the time. You rock, Teenz and you are SO special, I guess you won’t realize how much 🙂 Happy 30th again !!

    • So far, 30 has been great! 🙂

      You should write down these words and some of your own truths on your birthday! I would love to read them.

      Thank you for being such a great ally and supporter of my writing. It means so much to me, Urmi.


  5. Happy almost-30, teen!

    I now know that …
    There are no answers.
    Only stories.

    I loved this. I was listening to a keynote on artists in the church this week and something similar was there:

    “We think that our method will heal us, but your art alone will never put your broken pieces together. Art is a way to speak; but the way you really reach the world is your story–the rough stuff, the brokenness. That is what heals you and heals them. You must share your “cancer” so that others might be connected and healed by your story.” Mark Steele

    • “You must share your “cancer” so that others might be connected and healed by your story.”

      Beautiful. WOW.

      Thank you for sharing, beautiful Jana.

      Much Love,

  6. We are SO sisters.

    Wednesday night, I was driving home after a long day at work followed by SFU. As I was waiting for my ridiculous car to defog my windows (also a problem we share)..’landslide’ came on the radio and I wept like a baby. I tried to sing along..but all I could let out was a couple of flat, unlady-like squeaks.

    There are some lines in that song that just hit me in the gut. I can’t say what they are..because they will give me away completely to this cyber world. Lol. There will be no mystery whatsoever left to this girl.

    But there.

    I feel ya. Big time.

    But I must say this…life has gotten kinder with every extra minute I’ve lived.

    You make 30 look good and you’re getting me totally excited for it.

    I think I said amen after EVERY line I read. Every.

    And..maybe your 30’s are going to bring out a more poetic side of you? 🙂

    ps..Can’t wait for our afternoon tea with the menfolk 2mm afternoon. Should be amusing. Wear your new dress.

  7. Kelley Johnson Nikondeha says:

    Ah, Landslide. “Time makes you bolder…” so resonates with me!

    I remember 28 being special – I cooked my favorite meal for some women friends and we commemorated / celebrated the year. I took as much time to reflect and remember as to anticipate. There was something sweet about doing that with my friends. And since they were each older than me, they each shared what 28 was for them. Wild stories! It was great to see where they were at 28 and where they were now, I found it so encouraging and surprising, too!

    Birthday Blessings to you, Tea.

    • The line “Time makes you bolder…” stands true for me in so many ways. I feel like I’m on a freaking growth spurt ramped up by steroids lately. Haha.

      I love turn of the decade stories and advice from you and Idelette so much.

      They bless me, deeply.


  8. Christiana says:

    This is so beautiful! I have no artistic talent whatsoever, but I still have this urge to paint these words on my bedroom wall. It all resonates so much.

    Congratulations on living 30 years!!! And thank you for the words of wisdom!

    • “Urge to paint these words on my bedroom wall?
      It all resonates so much.”

      SO grateful for you, right now!

      Thank you for reading and sharing a little piece of your heart!


  9. Happy almost birthday!

    I think I was 13 when I first cried to Landslide. Still do. Love it.

    • Tears of a thirteen year old is pretty potent stuff. I would know. I cried. A LOT.

      Yay, for good taste in music!!

      Thanks for reading, Maggie. I absolutely loved your post about the lenten discipline of solitude this week.


  10. Kim Manzey says:

    Happy Birthday Tina!

    Friends break hearts….and friends also heal hearts….true….so true…still learning that one! :0)
    I’m in my early 40’s and when I turned 40 I can say that some things started to come into focus for me. Realizing that I didn’t have all of the answers is one of them. Other people who love God deeply actually have different philosophies than me….and that’s ok.
    I also am starting to be ok with the things I love and not just trying to love what every body else does to be just to be accepted. I know that sounds like high school but I think we can still feel like that even when we are older. I LOVE Broadway musicals and 70’s music….always have, even when I was a teenager! I can now freely admit I love it and I don’t care what other people think of that! Lol! :0)

    Hope you have a great birthday full of all the things you love! :0)

    • Peeps that cant appreciate Broadway musicals and 70’s music are missing out. BIG TIME! You sound like you would be a blast. 🙂

      Your comment made me think of the fantastic Judy Garland who said, “Always be a first-rate version of yourself, instead of a second-rate version of somebody else.”

      Amen, Judy!

      Thanks for reading, lovely Kim!


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