I have made no secret of the fact that I love birthdays. I mean, I’m one of those annoying people who counts down the days and tells everyone when it comes and marches around collecting all the free drinks from coffee shops and that kind of thing. Ya know? I love to analyze the past year and see where life has taken me and for me it’s also a good mid-year time to make a few new resolutions. Finally, it’s the one redeeming factor of August (the month when you think summer may never end) and all around, what’s not to love about birthdays? I mean, cake!!
This past year has been an extra crazy one. I wrote in my journal, before any of the NYC move stuff came up, that I could feel change in the air, that my friendships and my life were going to change this next year in some big way whether I moved or not. My premonitions aren’t always right, but oh boy, I guess I hit that nail squarely on the head.
Between trips to Charleston and DC and Philly and NYC and the raining-camping-mountain-trips and magical Nutcracker performances and witnessing a suicide attempt and starting Striped Pineapple Studio and a 20’s party and a 90’s party, you could say I have kept fairly busy. And that was all before I packed up my life and said goodbye to my whole world of people and came to New York City to make a new life at a job I found online, living with roommates I found online. It’s been a ride, guys. I have found a wonderful church and made a smattering of friends, I’ve learned a ton of things at work and eaten just ridiculous amounts of good food. I am beginning to feel like I belong to this life, while at the same time realizing quite often that I’ve barely scratched the surface of all I want to do and see and experience here.
But back to birthdays-like a juvenile, I’ve made a practice of taking my birthday off work and doing something fun, because why not, and because I think people get crabby and doddery about birthdays much too young when they should be celebrating them whole-heartedly. But this year is different. I’ll be working on my birthday, spending the day training someone in, as a matter of fact, which is just the best kind of fun as anyone who has done it knows. Not really your rip-roaring kind of day.
In fact, I was walking down the sidewalk texting my sister earlier tonight, complaining bitterly. I had spent the evening baking cupcakes to feed to my coworkers tomorrow as expected per office tradition, and successfully ruining two batches of caramel frosting as my kitchen’s temperature climbed higher and higher. I burned my finger and my tongue, and turned out ugly little cupcakes and a batch of grainy frosting and a lump of caramel that refused to do anything at all except sit there and glower at me. Finally I gave up and ran to Target to buy frosting, because apparently this basic skill of cooking is one that has departed me in my old age. All I really wanted was to come down with the flu for my birthday so I could spend the day peacefully sick in bed, ya know? As I toddled along, voicing my complaints and lugging my heavy bags, suddenly I saw something out of the corner of my eye.
There on the sidewalk was a bookshelf, nicely perched among the trash bags for pickup. Or was it? Surely it was broken or missing shelves or something. I inspected it, hoping I didn’t look too homeless or desperate to the passersby as I eyed the garbage, but it seemed to be in working order. I had been looking for a bookshelf for weeks but hesitating over the expense of a new one and the inconvenience of figuring out how to get it to my house, or the struggle to assemble one if it came in a box. And here was one only a block and a half from my house, just waiting for me. A birthday gift from God in just the right size, and light enough that I could lug it home and up to the third floor without any help. I was tickled pink, and once I have time to fill it with lovely old books and a plant or two and candles, I’ll be even more tickled. Wasn’t that nice of him? If I were God I would have given myself a swift kick in the seat of the pants for all that complaining, not handed myself a free bookshelf just when I needed one.
So I sit here, feeling a bit chastened and rawther grateful, as I look forward to my 29th year. God has been really, really good to me this past year, far beyond the reaches of free bookshelves. He spent last year knocking a lot of my fears on the head (I can tell you the story over tea if you want), and this year he has constantly taken care of me in the big and scary changes I’ve faced. So here’s to the two final years of my twenties, may they be as full of learning and goodness as the last eight have been.
A Year Ago:
Little Letters: Birthday Edition
Two Years Ago:
Why Do People Like Birthdays?
The Birthday, and How I Spent It
Five Things Living in Honduras Made Me Finicky About
Three Years Ago: