Happy Birthday to Me!

Today is my birthday.

I love my birthday. From the minute we turned 365 days old, my parents have made a big deal of mine and my twin sister's birthday. Our first birthday was an elaborate affair, with a homemade cake from my grandmother and frilly dresses and balloons and far too many presents. And maybe that first birthday set the tone for the rest of our lives, or maybe because my mother was always very, very keen on making sure that my sister and I had a grandiose celebration that usually lasted about a week to show how happy she was that we were on this earth - whatever the reason, I have come to believe that my birthday is the most important day of the year.

Today I am 26 years old. Last year, on my 25th birthday, I had what can only be described as a quarter-life meltdown. While my parents drove from Mount Pearl to Gander, where I had already spent a few days with my sister, I was sitting on the cusp of a mental breakdown. When my mom called to say she hadn't been able to get the cake I wanted - and cake is the most important part of my birthday - I burst into tears and began a long, solitary walk in the rain.

While I was indeed disappointed about the cake, it wasn't the real reason for my inconsolable sobbing. I was struck by the fact that I was 25 years old, that I had lived for a quarter of a century, and I had no idea what I had to show for it. What had I accomplished? I wasn't married, didn't have a house or a career, and hadn't traveled very much. All I had was a commonplace BA, 9 months in a big city, and job where my main task was photocopying. I hadn't accomplished anything that the books and movies said I should've, and I watched as my friends all moved away or had money for extravagant trips or got married, bought a house, and filled it with puppies and/or babies. I felt like I reached the plateau of adulthood but didn't really belong there.

Was I being melodramatic? Probably. I mean, tears in the rain always carry a sense of a Nicholas Sparks novel about them. But I don't think my quarter-century crisis is unique; in fact, I know it isn't. And I think maybe these milestone moments serve as markers for us to look back on, when we are older and (hopefully) wiser, and see how much we've learned since then.

And how have I grown from 25 to 26? The logistics can be argued, but I certainly feel like I've tentatively stepped across the threshold of adulthood without feeling like I've stumbled into alien territory. I now have 2 half MAs, hydro and internet bills, and I own half a couch. On two separate occasions, I've managed to not cry in public when I really, really wanted to.

Mostly, as I begin my 26th year, I don't feel as though I've lived 25 wasted years; rather, I have more good friends than anyone could hope for; a cast of supporting family who believe I can - and will! - succeed at whatever I set out to do; and a raspberry coloured couch that pulls out into a queen sized guest bed. What more could a girl want as she approaches the first year of her half-century on earth?

Happy birthday to me, indeed.

Current book I'm reading: Eating the Dinosaur - Chuck Klosterman
Current TV series: Lost season 6
Current nail colour: Essie's "Saturday Night Disco"


Becca said…
My main takeaway from this: YOU HAVE A TWIN??

okay actually, no, my main takeaway was that I can so totally relate to crying in public. Two weeks ago I was crying in front of the pretzels aisle at Winco because they didn't have the ones I wanted. No, I was not on my period. I was jut crying, about pretzels, in front of like a hundred people. I think not doing that when you really, really want to is surely a sign of adulthood.

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