There is almost nothing I love more than my birthday. After a certain age, you probably aren't supposed to admit to this little narcissistic fact, but, um, what can you do? In my mind, your birthday is the one day of the year when you get to make all the rules and map out your day any way that makes your heart happy. You guys aren't a big fan of crepes? I'm sorry, but it's my birthday. We'll go out for Vietnamese food on yours. Oh, you want to stay out for drinks? I'm sorry, but it's my birthday and I just want to go home, put on comfy pants, crawl in bed and watch VH1's Tool Academy. We can always have drinks back at home. (See? I can compromise.)
A few days ago I turned 31. Now I am not usually a person who is scared by age and the passing of time, but this particular number - 31 - just seems, well, kind of boring. The picture posted above is me on my sixth birthday. I'm wearing my favorite red gingham dress with Big Bird on the front and blowing out candles on the strawberry cake my dad used to make me. Maybe if I currently had a red gingham dress (with or without Big Bird on it) and my dad's strawberry cake, I could muster up some excitement about the sound of this new age and the unpleasant number attached. Maybe...
I have always considered myself lucky that my parents had me when they were older. There are both advantages and disadvantages in having older parents, but in doing this, they gave me a different template for growing older than a lot of people have. In some ways, they gave me a certain freedom around the idea of age and this freedom has liberated me from having to be that whiny gal who bemoans invisible wrinkles and says variations of statements like, "Can you believe I'm 30... and not more successful, not married, don't have kids, etc.?" Ugh. I actually cringed when writing that because it's so far outside my experience and seems to be such a limited, and dare I say sad, way for women to look at their lives. This whole attitude conjures up one dreaded image for me: the Cathy comic.
* To me, one of the most hilarious lines of six seasons of Sex and the City is Miranda making the insightfully snarky comment that "the only thing sadder would be if I had a Cathy comic taped to my fridge." When Carrie then snaps "never say Cathy comic to me again," smart women everywhere are in on the joke. *
I may have digressed...
Last year, I had a really fabulous 30th birthday party at a gorgeous, modern hotel suite downtown. My latest birthday did not call for the same bells and whistles that the previous year required, but it was absolutely lovely. My roommate and my boyfriend took me out to breakfast followed by an appointment at the spa and a delicious nap. During dinner later that evening, I looked around the table at my family and my friends and felt what I hope everyone feels on their birthday, loved.
This last year has been my favorite so far and if birthdays are any indication of what's to come, I think the future looks good. I have a theory that life gets harder with age, but it gets better. So, while the number 31 may not have the most exciting ring to it, I'm confident this will be one exciting, happy year.
"If you'd never been born, well what would you be? You might be a fish! Or a toad in a tree! You might be a door knob! Or three baked potatoes! You might be a bag full of hard green tomatoes! Or worse than all that... why, you might be a WASN'T! A Wasn't has no fun at all. No, he doesn't. A Wasn't just isn't. He just isn't present. But you... you ARE YOU! And now, isn't that pleasant!" - Dr. Seuss, from Happy Birthday To You!