I turned 28 on Sunday. Usually, sometime during a birthday, someone will ask me if I “feel any different” now that I am a year older. That question usually seems a bit absurd to me but this time, much to my surprise, I found myself answering in the affirmative.
I suspect that it’s largely due to the fact that the other students in my grad program are as young as 22 (it was made explicit to me by more than one classmate that we were never in high school at the same time) and, while I don’t feel old and certainly don’t envy their youth, it is clear that we are living very different lives. Or maybe it’s because we bought a house this year. Maybe I’m realizing how close I am to 30. Whatever it is, I actually DO feel older this year.
A always refers to Daddy as a “big boy,” herself as a “little girl,” and Mommy as a “special girl.” I have no idea where she came up with these designations, but the other day I thought I should teach her to call grown-ups “men” and “women.” I told her that Daddy’s a man and Mommy’s a woman. I believe that might have been the first time I have ever called myself a woman, as opposed to a girl. Almost overnight, I feel like an adult, a realization I didn’t expect to ever happen.
One other thing I love about being older is that birthdays are now a lot more fun. I used to drive myself to anxiety anticipating my birthday, setting up expectations that were unlikely at best and impossible at worst. I remember so many emotions riding on whether or not people would remember that it was my birthday. I remember wanting to celebrate with a party one year but was too embarrassed to plan one for myself. Now, all that anxiety seems like such a waste of emotions. P had a nightmare a few weeks ago that I was mad at him because he had gone all day forgetting it was my birthday. When he told me about the dream, I laughed out loud and told him that he can rest assured that he could never go all day forgetting my birthday because I would simply remind him. It just isn’t that big of a deal anymore. If I want to celebrate my birthday, I would just call some friends and have them over. This year I didn’t want a present* (dude, we have a new house) and was too busy to have a party. And it was a great birthday.
*Despite my protestations that I didn’t need a present, my super generous older brother gave me a Kindle for my birthday. I am really excited about the actual device but just as cool is the fact that we decided to all read the same books together, which will be yet another way to keep in touch with my brothers.