Saturday, 25 May 2013

It's a Good Life

My mom reused the birth-announcement-card as a birthday card this year. Now I know I was born at 00.25 AM. Being born at twenty-five minutes into the day turned out to be a good sign for my 25th birthday. It was the first time in my life that there was no one in the house with me on the day. Normally someone puts out flowers and presents and a cake, even if they had to already leave for work/school.

This time my mom wrote down clues for me to find objects stashed in the house. It wasn't entirely successful because she thought writing down clues about what the present was, and not about its location, would help me find them. No wonder we suck when we're partners in 30 Seconds. Nothing a phone call couldn't fix though.

I am aware that as soon as you hit the double digits, birthdays become less cool. No more goodie bags at the end of a party, no more running around and frolicking in the pool, no more waiters at Spur bringing you something with candles on it and singing to you. Then all you care about is turning 16, turning 18 and getting your licence, and, the big one, turning 21, because then you are an adult and your parents pay for your last big fiesta.

I am still not an adult, but somehow, 25 feels like no one can treat me like a child any more. At a quarter of a century into life, it is a great balance between having experienced enough not to be a completely ignorant fool who thinks she knows everything (me at 19) and still being young enough to depart from what I know without the weight of mortgages, car payments and a long career at the same company.

This was the first birthday of being a semi-adult where I thought, well, you might just be able to do anything you want successfully. And the reason for this was all the great people I have in my life. My mom made a gigantic effort to bake a cake and organise a treasure hunt. She also involved my aunt and cousin to fly up a cape I wanted (yes, cape, like superman-ish, but better). My sister also helped with this cross-country endeavour and spent hours looking for a silk dress she thought I might like (I do).

My friend K planned a super surprise brunch date, with awesome self-made presents. Another friend called completely out of the blue from France and sent me the funniest YouTube video. I got  'Happy Birthday' sung to me via WhatsApp and sent in messages, in emails, in Facebook posts. Other friends, family and neighbours called. Often, sure, it was because someone had been told by FB that this was the day of my birth, but I appreciated all the little and great efforts equally.

William Somerset Maugham said that "we are not the same persons this year as last; nor are those we love. It is a happy chance if we, changing, continue to love a changed person". A birthday provides the opportunity to reflect on what one has done in the past year, how things have changed or not, and which friends you still wish to invite to your party. I remember how I realised a friendship was over: for the first time since 7th grade, I was not invited to her birthday party. 

Somehow, this birthday made me realise the truth of W. Somerset Maugham's quote: things change all the time, people drift apart, and we should value the ones that remain, steadily, in your life because they are the one's that will make an effort to celebrate you being born even if you aren't throwing a party this year. They are the ones that will be there throughout the curve balls that life throws at us, and in turn, so will you, because nobody can make it on their own. 

Never without cake. This one: Frozen Chocolate Mousse Cake. 

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