GENERAL INTEREST

Happy Birthday to Me and Many More to Come

Five years ago, I bought a hot pink dress at BCBG in the Anne Arundel Mills Mall back in my home state of Maryland. It was the week before my 21st birthday and I was determined to do what everyone does when they turn 21: Party. So, I bought this cute party dress and invited a group of girlfriends for a night on the town that Saturday, August 26, 2011.

Admittedly, I'm not a big partier, but this is what you do when you turn 21 even though the taste of beer kind of grosses you out. A satisfying night for me includes a new episode of Shark Tank and a nice meal with fruit for dessert. Every once in a while I'll mix it up and have ice cream for dessert. Ooh, scandalous! 

Three days before my birthday I was in my college apartment when an earthquake hit. Maybe it was a sign because three days later Hurricane Irene hit turning my scheduled night of partying into a complete wash. I wouldn't be surprised if Mother Nature and my biological mother were in cahoots. I spent my 21st birthday in Maryland fighting with a six-year-old for the last glass of Martinelli's Sparkling Cider. I never wore that pink dress. I think I may have donated it earlier this year. 

Birthdays have always been weird for me. Every year, this sort of grief washes over me like Hurricane Irene that it's my birthday and I just have to do something to celebrate. Birthdays are usually about bringing people together to celebrate your life. Which in theory sounds good, but the idea that the one day of the year that's supposed to be about me is spent ensuring myself that this day and place works for everyone, and that everyone will like the food or activity, and that everyone will have fun, is well, not fun for me. It also doesn't help that my birthday was always around the first week of school, so no one outside of my immediate family was really sweating it anyway. So yeah, birthdays and large celebrations in my honor have never really been my thing. I think I had my last major birthday party at the age of 12 at Dave and Busters in Anne Arundel Mills Mall. Hey, what can I say, it's a good mall.

Right now as you read this I am on a plane to Portland, OR. Tomorrow, Aug. 26, is my birthday and I am celebrating it solo. Last year, for my twenty-fifth birthday I took a solo trip to Minneapolis starting a new annual birthday tradition where every year on my birthday weekend I visit a city in the US that I've never been to. No, you're not invited. No one is ever invited because this is the one day of the year that is about me and I intend to keep it that way. 

My birthday last year was the best birthday of my life. I got to do exactly what I wanted to do and when. It allowed me time to reconvene with myself and refocus. As I write this, I am experiencing that feeling of anxiousness that washes over me right before my birthday. I'm questioning everything in my life even though everything is fine. I'm taking deep breaths to prevent another mini panic attack from happening. I tell you this because it's the truth. There's just something about the passing of another year that gets to me, so to get out of my own head, I'm getting out of town. 

Happy birthday to me and many more to come. 

Thanks for the offer, but I rather not do "birthday drinks" when I return since that kind of negates the point of this whole thing, no?