yesterday was my birthday. i turned 27, an age i used to think i’d never reach. i remember when i entered high school, a shy, chubby, unstylish freshman who thought the seniors were absolutely, unequivocally the coolest people to ever walk the earth. i thought seventeen was the age when dreams came true. when you magically matured into a confident, beautiful, interesting, funny individual who hadn’t a care in world.
of course, it’s never that simple – but now that i’m a full ten years past my supposedly golden age, i have to admit i feel a bit disappointed. it’s silly, isn’t it? we’re never as far along as we wish we were, never as good enough as we hope to be. around me, as friends get engaged and high school acquaintances pop out babies, i look around and i wonder, do i have enough? am i enough? am i doing enough? yesterday, i woke up and i thought to myself, “27. and what do i have to show for it?” and the truth is, i have a lot to show for it. i live in new york city, which is a feat in and of itself – this place is wonderful but everyone knows it knocks you down on a near daily basis. i have a great job at a great advertising agency, and my job title is exactly what i hoped it would be when i moved to new york in the first place (and it took me four years of sweat and many a tear to get here). i have an apartment that feels solidly mine and at last 85% like home. i can count my best friends in the world on one hand – people i’d go to the end of the earth for, and those i know would do the same for me. i have a cat i am 110% obsessed with (cat ladies unite!). i have a family i wouldn’t trade for the world – a sister who simultaneously looks up to me and offers some of the best advice a girl can get, plus two mothers who have fought battles both for myself and for our family to be recognized.
and yet? sometimes it doesn’t feel like it’s enough. and i hate myself for writing this, i really, truly do – but sometimes, i just wish i too had a serious boyfriend, or was engaged, or was married. most days, i’m just fine with who i am and where i’m at, but somehow, birthdays always bring it out in me – that drumming sense of “you’re not enough. you’re not where you want to be yet. you’re here and what have you done?” add on top of that the fact that i adore birthdays and always have such ridiculously high hopes for mine to be the best day of the year (and consequently, am always let down, my own fault), and somehow, the day never stacks up as i want it to, and i always go to bed feeling disappointed that yet another has gone by and i’m still the same.
last year, i baked my own birthday cake, because no one had done any dessert-related thing for me at my dinner the night before, and i wanted a cake. let me tell you, i’ve never felt more pathetic in my life. until yesterday, when my office completely neglected to do anything (my previous job went all out for birthdays; i was the resident cake baker for our team), and i seriously contemplated buying my own damn cupcakes just so i wouldn’t consider the day a wash. and admittedly, i was sad yesterday – until a wonderful friend went out and bought a cupcake for us to eat, making the whole day about a zillion times better.
this post is really just a long ramble that probably feels like i’ve thrown myself a pity party complete with balloons (hey, there have to be balloons at any good party), and for the two people actually reading this, i apologize. the reality is this: should i be less into my birthday and expect less? of course. but you know what? i’ve gone 27 years believing birthdays are important and attempting to make my loved ones’ birthdays the best they can be, and goddammit, i’m not giving up on the birthday dream! and when i have children, you better believe their parties will be special and their cakes delicious. and when i move up the ladder and have people working under me, i’ll schedule team lunches and get special cupcakes and leave flowers at their desk the morning of – because we only get one day a year that’s all about celebrating the fact that we’re still here, we’ve made it, and we woke up today with a smile on our face. and that’s a pretty special thing.
and you know what else? i’m 27, and i do have a lot to show for it. and when i forget that, i’ll look back on this post and be reminded that my life is pretty great. and when all else fails, i always have my cat.