My birthday is this week. In fact, it’s on Wednesday. In my Delicious family, I am familiarly known as 621.
I feel…weird. It’s hard to explain. I have always felt “weird” about my birthday ever since I can remember understanding what a birthday meant.
My birthday was never a special day for me because there has always been some other more important event that has eclipsed it. If it wasn’t the end of the school year, then it was Flag Day, because you know, we should all rock out on Flag Day. If not Flag Day, then the Summer Solstice. If not the Summer Solstice, then....Father’s Day.
If I wanted to, I could accuse Daddy of stealing my birthday thunder my entire life, but in all honesty, I don’t really want to. In fact, I can’t. For some reason, Father’s Day butting right up against my birthday so hard that it knocks my birthday party with friends out of the question and turns into a joint family dinner of linguine with white clam sauce and a Baskin Robbin’s ice cream cake that squeezes both “Happy Father’s Day” and “Happy Birthday, Sarah” onto it has never bothered me. I am not sure if it’s just that I truly don’t mind, that I’ve never known any other way, or that I’m just so brainwashed into thinking that my own birthday is nothing special. It doesn’t matter, and until this year, I never even thought that it should bother me.
To be quite honest, I still don’t get it.
This year however, my birthday is actually bothering me. A lot. And still, it has absolutely nothing to do with Father’s Day. Or Flag Day for that matter.
My birthday, in and of itself, never bothered me much before because I never felt old before.
This year, though, I feel old. My hair and skin is as dry as an AA meeting. What used to be a tight tummy is now a fluffy puffy muffin top. Alright so maybe it “used to be tight” for all of three days, but now it’s a Dewberry overgrown muffin top. Not one of those little blueberry muffins you bake at home that never quite develop the perfect little mushroom of a top, but one of those ginormous bakery style muffins where the muffin top is about 90% of the 800 calories because of the buttery, nutty crumb topping. I have developed wrinkles. Sure, try and make me feel better by calling them "laugh lines." They’re big, fat, deep LOL lines, and I tell you, I bet I am the only person who really and truly does laugh out loud when she types out LOL because I can because I work from home, alone, in my "fat clothes." LOL!
Like I said, “I feel it. I feel the aging. I mean I never felt it before, but this time, it’s like doing it for the first time. I feel it. It hurts.” Yes, my thirty *bleeping bleep bleep* somethingth birthday really hurts.
But even moreso than feeling old, I just simply feel. It’s hard to explain because I am feeling a veritable maelstrom of a million emotions that I can’t separate from one another. All I know is that combined, it all feels a lot like…depression.
The easiest way to explain it is that I am seeing and feeling and realizing that my body is getting older, but my brain and life stage have not kept up. My maturity level, in fact, has gone in the complete opposite direction.
Supposedly, I am a woman. I am thirty-something years old. The place I am in my life right now, I feel like I am 21. Maybe 22. But not 22 in that young, carefree, "the future’s so bright I gotta wear shades" kind of way. There are some women my age who are married, have three kids, run billion dollar enterprises, and drive to the Country Club in their minivans-aka-SUVs to have lunch with the ladies.
I am not there. I am here, and I feel like…a girl. I’m not married. I don’t have kids; for fox ache I can hardly keep a cactus alive, let alone take care of a human child. I run a billion dollar blog in my fantasy. I drive…to Ralphs when I run out of toilet paper.
I feel like I just graduated. I graduated from business school three years ago, but I feel like I just graduated from...college. I’m in this mental state of “what should I do with my life?” Coming out of high school, the answer was easy. Of course I’m going to college, and though at the time, deciding where to go felt like the biggest decision of my life depends on it omg if I make a mistake it’s all going to go down the drain, I know now, looking back, that whatever I chose to do, I would still end up in the same place. Blogging. Taking pictures of food. Writing about it. Spending inordinate amounts of time pseudo-socializing via The Internets.
And even still, the thing is, I never even had to make the decision. Decisions were always made for me. Sure, there was an apparent facade of “making my own decision,” but in the end, it always came down to “what my parents would want.” They never once really said, Sarah do this. But for some reason, it was in my head that whatever deicision I made, it had to be okay with them.
I’m a girl. I still call my Mom when I need daily affirmation. I call her to hear her tell me that everything will be okay. It’s like I can’t take care of myself without my parents. If there’s something wrong with my car, I call Dad. If I don’t know if I should do the 401(k) at my new (now ex-) job, I call Dad.
And they never turn me away. My Dad is always there. They never question me. They never say. “Sarah, aren’t you a little too old to be calling us?”
I don’t think I ever grew up.
Or at least, I think I grew up at warp speed to the ripe old age of 23 when I was seven. Babysitting my sisters, taking care of things, being responsible. Now, at thirty-something, I’m acting like I’m....seven.
I'm at this point where I guess I have to make my own decisions, and I am frightened like all hell. I am afraid to make mistakes. When you’re 18 and you decide to go to the “wrong” college because all your friends are going there, it’s still okay. You will walk away with your degree and your diploma, and eventually, you will still get a job and go on to do great things. And if not, well you have time to make up for it.
That’s why they say invest riskily when you’re young because you have time to make up for your losses. Oh, but when you’re thirty-something, you have to invest in....mutual funds. Mutual funds are safe. Little to no risk.
Dad told me that.
Thanks Dad. For teaching me. I still don’t know the Rule of 72, bu
t I know you love me anyway. I’m still my Daddy’s daughter.
Maybe that’s why I feel like a little girl.
So, back to Father’s Day.
Why wouldn’t I celebrate Father’s Day? My Dad is an amazing man. He frustrates me to the deepest circles of Dante’s Inferno, but I still love him, and vice versa. I know that until the day I die, I will be my Father’s daughter.
But I guess now it’s time to grow up. At least I am acknowledging that. It might take some time. I don’t know if I’m ready to part with Pookie and Zashikibuta yet. They’ve earned the right to sit on my bed right between my two pillow shams. And I probably have to get rid of some of that Hello Kitty crap.
Because this week, I am a woman. Now I am an adult, and that means I make my own rules. We celebrated Dad on Father's Day, Baskin Robbins Pralines n' Cream ice cream cake and all. But I spend the rest of an entire week celebrating my birthday. I get to enjoy my birthday gifts - a purse that is a subtle hint from Mom to give my pathetically thrashed bag to Goodwill; a beach bag that will never see the beach, but will be used for my own Delicious purposes anyway; shoes, jewelry, and cash. I'll be taking time for myself at the spa (wait, don't I do that every week anyway?!?!), shopping and buying myself presents just like DeBeers tells me I deserve for my left hand, reading, dining out, partying, whatever I feel like doing. It is all up to me.
As long as it’s okay with Dad.
** a year ago today, ethiopian was love at second taste **