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"This is the most exciting day of my life...and I was pulled on stage once to dance at a Bruce Springsteen concert."
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Friday, June 17, 2005

It's My Birthday And I'll Whine If I Want To

I can't believe it. I turn 28 on Saturday.

Where has the time gone?

As of Thursday, I have gotten a whopping TWO cards. And, depending on who you ask, the two don't even "count" since they are both from two different aunts. Now ask me how many plans I have for my actual birthday? That would be ZERO, not including the given dinner with the rents.

Pity party for one, your table is now available.

Now I know this may be a bit premature, considering it is not my birthday yet but I can't help but feel a little "Samantha Baker" about the whole thing. I'm referring to the lead character Molly Ringwald so expertly played in Sixteen Candles. For those of you who have been living in a cave the last 21 years, Sixteen Candles is a story about a girl who is convinced her family has forgotten her birthday as they are lost in the commotion of her sister's wedding which has fallen on the same date.

Only in my case, the tables are turned. It's not my family who has forgotten my birthday, but everyone else. And there isn't even a wedding coming up or anything remotely celebratory that should cause me to be the forgotten one.

Before I go and make myself sound way more pathetic than I already probably have, I know I have a few more people who will come through, even if it's of the belated variety. I also will, no doubt, get the obligatory phone call from a few of my friends on the actual date. And I probably, informally will celebrate my day the next time I see some of my friends.

But every once and awhile, I want more.

To be honest, just once I always wished my birthday was a bigger deal. My ex never understood this about me, but then again, he didn't see the point in celebrating anything, so maybe he's a bad example. But it's a catch 22 situation. The minute you talk about wanting your birthday to be more special to people, they go ahead and try to make it more special, which in essence, cancels out the specialness because you had to suggest it to begin with.

Once, when I turned 17 or 18, I had this conversation with my best friend at the time. So she decided to take it upon herself to throw me an impromptu surprise party. Don't get me wrong, it was a nice idea, in theory. But there were a few glitches in the plan. For starters, she didn't get in touch with all of my friends because she wasn't friends with them, but a few of her friends were there that weren't MY friends, and they came bearing gifts. Talk about feeling awkward. Then there was the fact that my friend picked me up but in her excitement to get me out of the car, actually unbuckled my seatbelt for me, (something she never did before, for the record, which sent up a red flag in itself) subsequently hitting me in the mouth and causing me to get a swollen lip. So, forever preserved on video, is the image of a handful of my friends, and a few acquaintances yelling "SURPRISE!" as I am clutching my lip, in desperate need of ice. But I didn't even mention the best part yet. Apparently all of my friends had gotten there a few hours earlier, but the friend who was picking me up was running late, so by the time I got there, the party was actually winding down. Ahh yes, those were good times.

The next best birthday as an adult that I can remember was the first year I was working after college. I suppose I turned 22. I had just started going out with my boyfriend so I had the flower thing. My work friends also went all out. They knew I wasn't a big sweets person, so they actually made me a mini-cake out of dip and surrounded it with fresh vegetables. Yum!

But let's face it. I'm past the age of the "fun" birthdays now. All I have to look forward to are birthdays of the "how old are you now?" variety. Not to say that I'm old, because I'M NOT. And no, though doth not protest too much.:) I'm just saying I'm past the age of milestones that anyone actually wants to admit to celebrating. Don't even say deny it. Girl, you know it's true.

As we get older, birthdays become less and less about friends and more and more about family. You might not celebrate it with your parents, but instead your boyfriend/girlfriend. Then your boyfriend/girlfriend becomes your husband/wife and you have kids of your own and so and so forth. If you don't have a family of your own, you tend to celebrate your birthday ON YOUR OWN, which I think is the part that has always been the scariest prospect to me.

This week, in the wake of my friend's husband's stroke, I am reminded of this fact. I am very lucky and fortunate to have what I have, but I can't help but wonder what would happen if something like that had happened to me, or something like that happened to me one day. Although he is suffering, he, at the very least, knows that his wife was and is there for him to help him through. When you don't have that though, you can't help but worry from time to time that there's no one watching out for you. So when I say that my birthday might not be special, I'm not really talking about a Fudgie the Whale cake from Carvel, but the bigger picture. More about my life, my existence itself being special to someone or someones, period.

Well, this post sounds damn depressing doesn't it? Don't worry, I'll be fine on Sunday. After all, Sunday is just another day. On Sunday, I'll be 28 and a day and really, who cares about that anyway? In the meantime, I'm gonna go light me some trick candles and perhaps wish myself into believing 28 is the new 18.



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