So if you don’t know me in real life, or perhaps even if you do, you may not know that I am sort of kind of extraordinarily young. How young? We’ll get to that.
My age relative to my current position in life results from several things. One is a September birthday that resulted in my being a year younger than everyone else in my grade, meaning I also started college a year earlier than your average person. Second is the large amount of AP and IB credit I accumulated through hard work and persistence in high school1, which got me in an out of college in three years2. Meaning that though I am at the age at which most people are a sophomore in college, I’m already out. Third is my penchant for doing things that are way beyond my maturity level, like living alone in a foreign country and working for NPR. Fourth is my tendency to gravitate towards and prefer the company of people who are a considerable amount older than I am. This, along with being raised by parents who subscribed to the medieval attitude of child rearing, i.e. treat your children like mini-adults, and my tendency to avoid booze, loud music, and crowds, generally results in me coming off as a fifty-five year old with amazingly good skin. In the words of my former roommate, Nevada, I’m a bit of an old soul.
Whenever I meet new people, particularly in mass, the “so how old are you really?” question comes up pretty quickly, usually because I try too hard to hide my actual age, then overcorrect, and end up giving myself away.
Really, I should be proud of my age. I’m going to have an MFA and be entering the world as a young working professional at the age that most people are barely escaping the jaws of the undergraduate degree. But I shy away from telling people my real age. Why? Mostly because I worry people won’t take me as seriously if they know how old I really am. Even though I know it is usually meant in good spirit, the most patronizing thing anyone has ever said to me3 is, “Oh, you’re just a baby!”
Baby? Friend, I graduated college before you were old enough to legally drink, speak two languages, have been around the world, and can recite the kings of England in order. I am not a baby. I deserve to be taken no less seriously because of how old I am.
Why am I telling you this?
Because friends, today is my birthday.
As far as birthdays go, I don’t have a great track record. Moving around as much as I have in the past four years has resulted in me starting over somewhere new around my birthday every year, meaning that no one around me knows it’s happening. And I’m not the kind of person who hangs up banners and throws parties for myself4. I don’t even put my birthday on facebook5. So if I’m being totally honest, the last four birthdays have been kind of miserable and lonely for me. The ones before that weren’t great either – all my best birthdays were pre-sharing this day with the most tragic event in American history. And, after a disastrous failed party in high school, I sort of swore of natal celebrations in general.
So I thought today would be no different. I was ready to draw myself a birthday cake in the dust like eleven-year-old Harry Potter and call it a day.
But today was actually kind of awesome. Utah friends sent gifts, and texted, and my grandparents and aunt and uncle sang to me over the phone. My landlady gave me socks6. My dad sent his customary inspirational birthday email. I treated myself to French toast for breakfast, and spent most of the day happily reading in the library. And then, in what I’m going to add to the list of one of the nicest things anyone has ever done for me, my roommate, TOMT, bought me balloons and organized a mini surprise party for me at the most delicious ice cream dive I have ever been to.
In short, today has been a kind of awesome birthday. An awesome 21st birthday7.
Thanks to everyone for everything you did to make today awesome – and to everyone reading this now, don’t feel obliged to leave a comment saying “Happy Birthday,” or anything. I just like to write about my life here, and sometimes, my life involves awesome days that just happen to be the anniversary of my first day of consciousness.
This past year was awesome: I graduate from college, lived in three different states, worked, studied, played, and was surrounded by some pretty amazing people.
And really, it only gets better. I’m on a rollercoaster that only goes up.
- Read: ability to BS.
- That plus me never changing my major. That really helped.
- And more than one person has said it. I’ve been slapped by this bad boy on multiple occasions.
- You know, none of that “I was born x amount of years ago today – you’re welcome, world.”
- But I blog about it. Figure that one out.
- On the matter of socks, I stand with Dumbledore – truly, they are the best present one can receive.
- On an unrelated note, I had a dream last night that Jim Moriarty, notorious Sherlock villain, took me out for drinks in honor of my birthday. Surprisingly, I went along without a fight.