Thursday, August 30, 2012

29 on the 29th

When I was a senior in high school, one of our friends turned 19 on December 19th.  We were sitting outside during lunch (I guess it wasn't that cold because I wouldn't have been out there), and I remember Laurie saying, "Hey, Howard! That only happens once! It's a special birthday."  I was only 17 at the time, and I thought to myself, "Jesus, my 29th birthday is at least a million years from now."


It's here. Actually, it's gone already.

The day started the way I would never wish for my birthday to start: I had to go to school.  In my world, hell is going to school on your birthday.  Ugh, I just hate it.  In many respects, I realize I'm an extremely lucky person and I feel that I'm being rewarded in this lifetime for some good things I must have done in past lifetimes.  However, I would REALLY like to know what I did in past lifetimes that is SO UNFORGIVABLE that I'm being forced to live in a world where my birthday routinely coincides with my least favorite day of the year.  I must have done something really awful.

Much to my relief, it turned out to be a good day.  My first class was cancelled to accommodate some event I didn't care about on campus, so I started my day a little late.  AND, it was a very good hair day with the low humidity.  Finally, four of my best students from past semesters signed up for a new class that I'm teaching which is a REALLY good thing since I am super nervous about all of it.

In my next lifetime, I think I would settle for being a Fluff. But only if my owner was exactly like me.

My mom ordered Thai food for all of us so I could have dinner at her house.  (Ron had to spend the day out of state--he strategically shared this bit of news with me in California in the hope that I would be too drunk or too distracted to be upset about it.  He begged the other party to pick any other day except yesterday, but no one could agree on a date. My salary sure as hell ain't payin the bills, so you're not allowed to complain when the breadwinner is called out of town.  In this economy, only a fool would complain about that.)

My mom had never really had Thai food before (spicy food literally gives her mouth third degree burns--it's completely bizarre), so I had to pick out the order really carefully.  In the end, her verdict was, "Huh. I guess it doesn't taste the same as Chinese food ... I like it."

My mom gave me this huge, gorgeous button fern.  Ferns are my favorite.  Maidenhair ferns are my big fave, but they're so delicate and die so easily. (Doesn't stop me from buying them.) Button ferns are more hardy, but they do thin out in the winter when the air gets so dry.  I'll be so disappointed if this guy doesn't make it through January.  Ah, one day I will have a huge terrarium--like a big fish tank, only prettier--for all of my ferns.  That way, Penny can't eat them and the HVAC system doesn't kill them before Penny eats them.

"Make sure my crocheted rock is in there!" --Mom

To go with the Thai food, my mom picked up mini cupcakes from Cupcakes Gourmet in Frazer and she made these adorable pumpkin and chocolate dessert cups.  There's a chocolate cookie crust in the bottom of the mini jam jars, pumpkin mousse on top, and then a dollop of nutella in the middle.  I know that Erin, Laurie, Lauren, and Tiff are going to be like, "Where is the recipe?!!"  I don't have it, but maybe my mom will email it to me.  Ooey, gooey moussey desserts are my fave--this is a great one.

This picture has nothing to do with my birthday. It just makes me happy.
For whatever reason, I am just not excited to turn 29.  I'm not hating it. It doesn't depress me.  I guess  just feel stunned--the same feeling when you trip and fall when you least expect it, BUT you don't get hurt--you just think, "Whew! That really took me by surprise, but thank God I didn't break my wrist."  That kind of stunned.  I remember my 20th birthday so clearly. I remember that was also a first day of school.  I remember what I wore to class.  I remember exactly which classes I had on my schedule that day and who taught them. I remember running into Ryan at the light in front of the church and him saying to me, "You know? I think it's going to be a good day," and I replied, "I think you're right."  He didn't know it was my birthday. I swear, that was ... two weeks ago.  But, it's not.  It was NINE YEARS AGO.

A few years ago, I had to go to a birthday dinner for somebody who was turning 30.  She was miserable.  No matter what conversation was going on at the table, it always turned back to, "Oh my God, I'm turning THIRTY." Imagine the worst expression of distress you have EVER seen on a person's face--that was this person's expression.  "I'm just so old."  At several points, I really thought she was going to start sobbing at the table.  Everything that night focused on "how old" this person had become and what an awful thing it was.

Are you freakin kidding me?  The whole thing was so bad, I just wanted to get up and leave.  I remember staring very, very hard at my plate because I knew if I didn't, I would end up ROLLING my eyes and saying something awful like, "Oh, shut the F up already.  You may as well be 70 at the rate you're going.  Who wants to listen to this?"

(And let me tell you, after listening to the pool ladies, you learn that 70 is really not that old.  They barely blink at 80 which is awesome.)

No one in my family mails a card without a sticker or a stamp on the back.

Anyway, my point is that it made me nervous yesterday that I wasn't thrilled to turn 29.  At the worst, I've only been indifferent to the new number.  So when I caught myself thinking, "29? Really?  REALLY?!" yesterday, I become pretty disappointed in myself.  Am I going to be that girl sobbing into her 30th birthday dinner because (just typing this is so lame) "her twenties are over"?  Ugh. I sure as hell hope not. I can honestly say that I've never been the kind of person who wishes and wishes to roll back the clock.  When I screw something up, I want the clock to forge ahead so I can fix it.  (I'm incapable of forgetting anything--a very painful affliction ... I wouldn't wish it on anybody.)  But, yesterday was the first day ever that I really acknowledged, "Ok, so I can't roll it back even if I wanted to? Wow."  I was thrilled to exit my teenage decade (THRILLED!), but my twenties have been so great--only one year left!

Ok, so one last rambling.  My 22nd birthday took place on my very first day of grad school. Awful, awful day: Katrina was going on, it was freakin hot, and I made my first of a thousand 90 minute commutes ... and then the prof didn't show up.  His plane didn't make it in from Brazil, and we had to make up the class on the following Monday ON LABOR DAY.  Hindsight is 20/20: I should have skipped BOTH CLASSES.  They were totally inconsequential to graduate school.


Later that month, I had to have a sit down meeting with this prof because he wanted to just say Hi and get to know us.  I remember he looked at me and said, "I'm sorry ... how old are you?"  I said, "I just turned 22 last month." And he got this very concerned look on his face and said to me very solemnly, "You know: You are very young."  I took it to mean, "You are, thus, too dumb to be here."  Now I think to myself, "Maybe he was just having a moment of, 'Holy crap. She's 22?? How old am I?'"  I didn't get it then, but now I do.  You were right, Lewis: I was very young.


Cat Lady, Esq. said...

I wish I could remember more about turning 7 on March 7, 1995.

Youth is a way of life! Not a number. and not wrinkles. There are 90 year olds who are younger than me.

It's true. Think youthful, be youthful. Change your thoughts, and you'll change your world.

(Please save this and tell me when I turn 25 six months from now).

Happy Birthday. I'm sorry it wasn't all you dreamed turning 29 would be, but the jury is still out on the rest of your year as a 29 year old so that's exciting right? I have had some mediocre birthdays if it makes you feel any better,24 being one of them. I have high hopes for my 25th and your 30th next year though (self-centered-ly because the bar exam will be over by the time its August 29 again).

Anyway, I also have high hopes for the next year! MAKE WAY FOR THE NEW

Jo Harper said...

Since when are you so philosophical about birthdays?? ; ) I think next year will be great too.

Tiff said...

Happy belated golden birthday!