#47 If They Were Me and I Was You
What's killing me here is the inscription in mom's distinctive handwriting to both my brother and me. Our birthdays are 3 weeks apart.
I have a birthday coming up in a couple of weeks.* I’m not an overenthusiastic birthday person. I don’t celebrate my birthday month. I like hanging out with my people on the day, but I’m not into making elaborate plans. I like getting presents, but I don’t expect them. I’m also notoriously bad at remembering other people’s birthdays and even worse at giving gifts. I get angsty over trying to come up with just the right gift that communicates “I love you, I know you, I appreciate you, and also this gift is so on the nose perfect that for years to come you will remember the depths of thoughtfulness and creativity I achieved.” Usually, I end up buying an insanely overpriced candle or something equally generic.
But, to be clear, I don’t hate my birthday. I don’t dread it or try to hide from it. I’ve always wanted to be older than I am and particularly love a good milestone birthday.
At 21, I met my friends exactly at midnight at a dingy college bar and sang karaoke for the first time. (The rest is history, obviously.)
At 25, it was overpriced cosmopolitans at a trendy place in the east village. I was worried my credit card would be declined but damn we had fun.
At 30, when many of my friends were in the depths of birthday-fueled despair, I was thrilled. I just loved the idea of 30. I wanted to leave my turbulent, insecure, and broke-ass 20s behind.
My 30th birthday was unbelievably fun. Friends from all areas of my life showed up. I had caramel highlights and wore leather pants.
At 40, a bunch of my friends joined me for a weekend in Vegas. Usually, a trip like this fills me with anxiety because Vegas is a night club town, and I am not into night clubs.** But we had a fantastic time because we got to hang out together, having cocktails and dinners and so much hard laughter. I leaped into my 40s knowing the net would appear.
I literally went blonde about 4 days before my birthday. My mother always said I would. I also grew a giant mustache.
50 is fast-approaching and, to be honest, it’s not exactly what I was expecting. I was supposed to be living in Europe for the summer. I was supposed to be performing at the Edinburgh Fringe Festival. I was supposed to be celebrating the big 5-0 on a boat in Mykonos with my closest friends. There might have been t-shirts planned.
So, I’m mourning that a little bit, I think.
It’s fine, we’ll do it next year.
2020 is a wash for everyone.
But it’s still a stage 4 bummer.
On a positive note, I’ll be at the shore for my birthday this year which is actually where I’ve been for the majority of my non-milestone birthdays. I’ll get to be at the beach. I’ll be with people I love. There will probably be cake and booze and zooms.
There might even be a t-shirt.
*The 26. Mark your calendars. I’ll wait.
** Probably because, in my broke-ass 20s, I literally couldn’t get into night clubs unless I hid behind a sexier, prettier friend and watched the bouncer roll his eyes when he realized he’d need to let me in, too.