Last Saturday, I did something I’ve never done before. I turned 24. The great wheel of time, to which I am strapped, completed a rotation and left me all of the sudden an entire year older. My 24th birthday was on my mind constantly as a 23-year old. I was always thinking out loud to my friends about how I wanted to celebrate, debating between redwall-themed singing picnics to contra dancing to singing sea chanties in the Maritime National Park near Fisherman’s Wharf in San Francisco.
This is partly because my last birthday kind of sucked. I had just moved to San Francisco, had 3 friends, and worked until 10 pm at a restaurant where I felt as valued as an empty toilet paper roll one does not care enough about to throw away. In hindsight, it wasn’t all that bad, but I sure did like to complain about it to myself throughout the year.
I also thought about my birthday constantly partly because I am a ham and couldn’t wait for the next spotlight. So I wanted to make sure my next birthday party was awesome. AND. It was. I had new friends, we went to karaoke after eating family style Italian food and I wore a Scottish skirt with a peasant shirt and felt like the belle of the ball, and I think I was. My friends confirm that I was.*
But something was missing. There was a gap somewhere, even though my belly was full and I was surrounded by my dearest friends whose cheeks I want to pinch and whose backs I occasionally massage.
After contemplating this issue deeply and inhaling some of the second hand smoke from the KLM flight attendants sitting in the courtyard where I sit writing this blog post, I believe I’ve come to the conclusion I seek. My birthday was missing Deb. Deb is a plant. She is a succulent. Her full name is Deb Echevaria Elegans Drevets, and she is wonderful.
She is my little darling and I want to tell the world about her. The way she sits so patiently and silently, the sly way she grows, the way her leaves sometimes die and I have to pluck them off – it’s all too magical to put into words and sometimes, when I look at her, I just want to hug her and tell her that she’s all mine. I can’t, of course, because the oils on my skin can stain her leaves, so I just look at her and beam. It’s nice to care about something aside from myself, to move the focus of my life from me to Deb.
So when I say that I’m so over my birthday – aside from the literal way that my birthday has passed and that I’m metaphysically done turning 24 – I’m also done with the party being about me. I’m not that great. I’m only great in relation to other plants and in relationship with them. I’m great in my capacity to care for Deb and give her everything she needs, whether that be a new pot every 4 years, a good watering every 2 weeks or putting her outside for some socializing with the neighborhood flora. I’m gearing up for act two of the play, featuring not me, but Deb and me and starting with a musical number in a style known as deb step. I know I’m ready for this next phase in my life, but is the world?
Send your thoughts to [is] [the] [world] [ready]  [deb] [and] [emily] [at] [gmail] [dot] [com].
*They did not, in fact, confirm that I was the bell of the ball. I just assume they would agree with me.