Tag Archives: birthday

Growing Up is For People Who Have No Imagination

Can't wait to be on conference calls one day!

Can’t wait to be on conference calls one day!

I turned twenty five today. There was no surprise birthday party, few gifts and less Facebook notifications than there have been in years past. This birthday just lazed in, almost unnoticed, like bread that looks normal but when you open it up it’s got mold all over it.

Growing up, twenty five seemed like the pinnacle of adulthood. By the time I turned twenty five, I thought I’d be married, have a career as a world-renowned neurosurgeon or something equally remarkable, wear makeup and shave my legs, and pretty much have figured it all out. The world, formerly known as my oyster, would now be a pearl that I’d wear around my neck as I laughed gracefully over a meal at a fancy restaurant with my best girlfriends. I would be wearing heels.

This has not happened. Life as I’ve lived it has had more surprises and twists and turns in it than I could have imagined, and it’s not at all simple. In fact, it’s only gotten more complicated. Where I once imagined that everything had a correct answer, I now believe that decision making is mostly a crapshoot. Also, laughing gracefully is for people who have no imagination.

Adulthood used to seem so well-defined. One day you would wake up and find your family in a house that you’ve purchased with a mortgage and have potted plants outside, and you would take certain things more seriously and not act silly with your friends. And that’s how you knew you were an Adult and that you’d done growed up. You were a Grown-Up.

Now I don’t believe in any of that. I know that adulthood is something else entirely from what you own and your relational status, and that I would rather never eat ice cream again than stop being silly. And I pretty much live for ice cream, so that’s saying a lot.

Now I know there is no handbook on any of this stuff, that there is no right answer, that there is no well defined path, and if there is one, I probably want to steer clear of it.

I used to think twenty five was the end of growing up, but now it’s clear that it’s just the beginning of a journey that will probably never end. And that’s fine with me. Here’s to one hundred more years of confusion and slow realizations!

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What My Birthday Means for You

There’s that sassy birthday girl!

We all know what my birthday means for me. In general, it means I’m better than you. But it also means I’m one year more awesome, one year funnier, more intelligent, and more beautiful, one year more likely to contract various kinds of diseases and arthritis, one year closer to retirement, and one year more likely to purchase a Buick and complain about kids these days.

But what does my birthday mean for you?

If you’re my triplet sisters, it means you need to call me and tell me happy birthday as we once again celebrate/lament the fact we share the same birthdate and have been doomed to splitting the potential stock of birthday presents by three for decades.

If you’re my parents, it means you need to remember to send me money. A call would also be accepted.

For relatives, see above minus the calling part. A card will do.

If you’re the 16-month-old that I babysit, it means that you’re going to be catering to my every whim and desire today, trying to calm me down when I throw tantrums, taking me to watch the dogs at the dog park and letting me touch every single one, especially the vicious-looking one, and catching the food I spit out in your hand.

If you’re a blog reader, it means you should either a. write a blog post naming 20 things you like about my blog or b. tell me how great I am and say happy birthday in the comments.

If you’re one of my East Coast friends, you need to remember the 3 hour time difference and try not to call me before 9 am (12 pm) because, as Solomon said, “A loud birthday call in the morning will be regarded by the neighbor’s as a curse.” Or something like that.

If you’re my friends on the West Coast and don’t live in the Bay Area, you should express your regrets that you couldn’t visit me on my big day in order to present your very large presents to me. These presents can be mailed, and you should probably rush them first class so I can open them sooner.

If you’re my boyfriend, things get a little tougher. Not only must you call, but you’re also required to present me with the birthday gift of my dreams, the thing I mentioned off-hand a couple of months ago when we were walking out of Dillard’s and I’m not sure if you heard me or not but that was really the only thing I wanted and if you didn’t get it for me I’m going to be really upset, but I’m not going to tell you I’m mad, I’ll just be kind of stand-offish for the next couple of weeks and repeatedly say I’m fine and nothing’s wrong. So…I look forward to receiving, cooking, and burying it. Hint.

And if you’re my friends in the Bay Area, go to the ATM right now and get some cash because you’re going to be buying me drinks tonight! It’s fun for everyone!

Thanks in advance for all the birthday wishes! It’s my day!

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Birthdays Mean Facebook Notification Overdose

This was the cake at a birthday party. My name is on it, and so are other people’s.

Roughly 22 years ago on a 24 hour day kind of like this, I and my triplet sisters emerged from my mother’s womb. That makes today my birthday.

My birthday this year round has been surprisingly good, and I say surprisingly because with a new group of people there’s always the chance that everyone will be awful and hate each other and celebrating their birthdays. But thank goodness I have made great friends who, though neglecting to gift me with a giant teddy bear as I had requested time and time again, provided appropriate levels of attention that I need to survive much like a plant needs the sun or some cheeses need to be refrigerated.

Though I think birthdays are great, they can also a little awkward.  I love spoiling other people on their birthday, when it comes to receiving said attention in kind, I always feel a little bashful, a little “aw shucks, me? All I did was exhibit the five signs of a thriving baby for the last 22 years.”

For us slightly birthday-shy types, thanks to modern technology there is a new delight that I and my sister, Frank, were discussing recently: the avalanche of facebook notifications that one can enjoy in the privacy of ones’ cave. Call me vain, self-centered, superficial, and crazy but I love love love seeing my notification count tick upward as the birthday rolls on.

I may have been out all day today looking for an apartment in the searing heat, escaping from the sun in an Armenian church, attending a belly dancing class, eating McDonald’s ice cream, or smoking sheesha on the Nile, but all I was thinking about was the boatload of notifications I was going to have when I got back to my apartment and did what I really wanted to do: look at my facebook.

The day before my birthday, there’s a little bit of apprehension: who’s going to be the first one to post? Will it be a cheeky friend trying to have an ironic day-before post or one of my friends from my many world travels (obnoxiousness intended)?  And then it happens, the first “happy birthday!” Just like spotting of the new moon, it’s a harbinger of brilliant things to come. Though it’s a complete mystery when they begin, one thing is for sure: once the notifications start, they don’t stop. They burst out of the starting gate with an initial rush of posts from your diehard fans who watched the clock to be sure to enter their good wishes right at 12:00 am. Afterwards there are usually lulls in the early morning and late afternoon, but the notifications never stop and eventually explode in the evening hours as most young people surf their webs and complete social media tasks.

One can also observe a shocking variety among the birthday posts.  Many friends are content with saying a simple “happy birthday!” However, some would rather die than posting something so obvious: instead they post in different languages, attempt to be witty, sarcastic, thoughtful, thoughtless, wistful, nostalgic, etc., all in order to distinguish themselves from the other birthday posts on your wall and prove themselves to be better, funnier, or more thoughtful friends. Friends you have not heard from in years will pay their dues to a friendship whose embers died out long ago. Those you would have liked to post neglect to do so, causing mild disappointment made up for by five posts from random high school friends.

Regardless of the manner of posting, I love them all.  In fact, I like to save all my notifications until I feel the birthday ones have about run their course and then I go through them and thank people one by one, responding as I see fit in order to ensure another happy birthday greeting the following year. Withdrawal from the facebook birthday high is one of the hardest parts of moving past your special day since you know you will not be this popular until next year, and then you’ll also be older so the expectation is slightly tinged with sadness as are all things of beauty.

Footnotes:

1. Facebook this year has not been tallying up all of my wall posts properly so I’m not sure as to the exact amount of “happy birthdays” I have. I think it’s over 5.

2. I realize that in many ways this is pathetic. There are real humans present who wished me happy birthday and that should be enough. I also realize this blog post will completely alienate some readers.

3. I don’t get that many notifications. This was a plea for attention in the facebook realm.

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