Written on my super secret notebook on September 17, 2014:
#1: When I woke up, I smiled. It dawned on me then that, regardless of how much I spend my time worrying about not being able to make the most of my twenties, I’m finally one of those people who are genuinely happy and comfortable with growing older.
#2: Before turning 23, I decided to hide my birthday on Facebook. It sounds so nonsensical now, but back then, Facebook greetings contributed a great deal to whether or not I’d consider my birthday a happy one. And then on my 22nd birthday, I stopped caring about the number of wall posts I got and started caring about the actual content of the greeting. Maybe it’s the maturity that comes with the age, but I realized then that I only wanted to be greeted by the people I care about.
#3: Some time after midnight and 7 a.m. (the time I woke up), three of my best friends sent me a birthday text. My grandparents, my sister and my parents were next. After that, I felt like I would’ve been completely fine if no one else remembered. And that feeling made me happy.
#4: I used to expect everyone to make me feel special on my birthday. Now, though, I make myself feel special instead.
#5: And because I wanted to feel special, I had bacon for breakfast.
#6: I also had Frosted Flakes with chocolate milk because it makes me happy.
#7: And I sang Happy Birthday in the shower. And I danced to happy songs.
#8: While I used to want people to patronize me, I was never one to expect or ask for presents. That said, gifts, to me, are like a bucket load cherries on an already cherry-fied ice cream.
#9: And there are very few gifts that can make me happier than a beautifully wrapped book. Which is perfect because it’s one of the things I got!
#10: Another gift I received is a cool-looking watch. Which is also perfect because it’s been a long time since I’ve had one.
#11: But definitely the most interesting part of my day is receiving two separate bunches of Dunkin’ Donuts munchkins. One of my co-teachers gave me a box filled with 35 pieces of munchkins; my sister added another 5 pieces to that box when I got home from work. I didn’t even realize my love for Dunkin’ Donuts munchkins was that apparent to everyone.
#12: I’m going to say this because it’s my birthday so you can’t judge me, and even if it’s not my birthday I’ll probably say this anyway because I think it’s an achievement – I consumed 24 of those 40 munchkins. I didn’t even realize I ate that many until I counted the leftovers (which, by the way, I plan on eating tomorrow for breakfast). I guess subconsciously, my stomach wanted to eat a munchkin for each year of my existence. Also, this will sound more impressive (or gross?) if you ask what else I ate today. Answer: a whole lot more.
#13: I like that it’s the simple things that give me the most satisfaction. Like Dunkin’ Donuts or good books.
#14: I also like that I don’t need a big celebration. I only wanted my mom to cook my favorite cream of squash soup.
#15: So I spent my birthday dinner enjoying my mom’s cream of squash soup with my family and my best friend.
#16: For two years now, I’ve been spending my birthday with my best friend. Last year, she slept over for two nights, and we talked about the past and how it changed us for the better. This year, we talked about the future, and what adventures we’ll be having together. She actually wasn’t supposed to make it because of work. But God knew my birthday would be so much more awesome with her, so two hours before dinner, she was allowed to leave early and she was able to hitch a ride with a co-worker, who drove her straight to my house.
#17: One of my favorite birthday greetings came from a college friend who I had dinner with a week ago. She said, “Wishing for your next love life because you got everything else covered already.” I loved it not because she wanted me to have a love life (which I also appreciate, I guess), but because she sees me as someone who’s alright in life. No, I don’t have everything else covered and I still have my worries and doubts. But I like that she looks at me and sees that I’m alright, because I really am. Not perfect, just alright.
#18: Another favorite birthday greeting is from my best friend. Her first message, this was before she came over for dinner, goes, “See you this weekend, and I hope you don’t have a boring birthday because good lord, you’re 24. Can you please just go out and get wasted stupid already?? Or smoke a cigarette? Or you know, find a hot Brazilian guy to ogle or make out with.” And then after she went home, she goes, “Oh but sweetheart, make no mistake about it. I will be there to hold your hair while you throw up in the bathroom and afterwards, take you home the second you decide you finally wanna experience getting drunk for the first time.”
#19: I like that my best friend and I are polar opposites when it comes to life experiences, and that we still have the key to each other’s hearts regardless. I like that she finds me boring and devoid of craziness, but that we always have the best time together.
#20: One of the recent discoveries I made is that learning becomes a lot easier after you’ve graduated college. I’ve been taking a free online course on Sports & Society at Coursera.org (classmates, anyone?). I’m also trying to relearn Spanish until I become fluent at it. And I’m having a blast. Learning is so much more fun when you’re not expected to do it anymore.
#21: On my 18th birthday, my ex-boyfriend was an hour late for our date. I spent that entire hour trying to fight back tears, and failing miserably. That was the worst birthday ever.
#22: Fast forward to six years later, it completely amazes me how much my heart and spirit have grown.
#23: This might seem conceited and pretentious, but you know, I like me. I know me. I know what my heart deserves. I know my faults, strengths and weaknesses. I know where I am with God. And most of all, I know well enough to know there’s still a lot more I don’t know. And I am willing.
#24: There is no set formula for a good life. But I like to think that the basic ingredients to having one are all on this list… including, but not limited to, munchkins.