25 things on my 25th birthday

I’m not entirely sure how I feel – that’s how I’ve been quite often these past couple of months. Initially, I wanted to write something profound and spectacular for today, but my mind never stays in one place long enough for me to write something about it – that’s been happening a lot too. And every time I pause and dwell on these two observations, I get mad at myself and at everything else because nothing rattles me more than not knowing, especially when it comes to myself. So I’ve decided to just grab a pen and paper, and list down everything and anything that comes to mind because for my 25th birthday, I don’t want to be mad… I want to be honest.

#1: The one thing I’m most thankful for at this very moment is my sister. At 12 midnight, when I was in bed and so ready to sleep, Karen jumped on me and hugged the life out of me to greet me a happy birthday. Sometimes, when she’s in an exceptionally good mood and needs to express it through physical contact, she inadvertently becomes physically abusive with me. Sometimes, when she’s in an exceptionally bad mood and needs someone to witness her rage, she demands I stop everything I’m doing to be that person. But always, and I mean always, she is my rock.

#2: I wasn’t able to have a birthday breakfast because I woke up pretty late. But I had pizza for lunch. It was good pizza. And good pizza makes good birthdays.

#3: Halfway through the day, my mom asked me if I had already received a lot of greetings. I told her, without any hesitation or thought, “The people who matter already did so I’m good.”

#4: Up until that point, I had gotten less than ten greetings. I still keep my birthday hidden on my Facebook profile. So after thinking about that after my mom’s question, I felt good. I truly meant it. I am good.

#5: At work, Karen surprised me with my favorite cake and led all my students and co-teachers in singing Happy Birthday to me. I told you, she’s my rock.

#6: Aside from a chocolate mousse cake, I also received a new pair of red shoes (a first!), a good book and a coloring book. I’ve never expected gifts, but I’m always glad I get them anyway.

#7: My twin sister’s ex-boyfriend greeted me on Facebook. In his short post, he wrote, “Greet your sister for me.” That annoyed me. And since it’s my birthday, I felt bolder than usual. I wrote back, “Thanks! Also, my sister has a name. And I’m sure you know what it is.” Did I mention he cheated on her and broke up with her on our birthday? He apologized. That felt good.

#8: I’ve now spent three consecutive birthdays without my twin sister. This is the only time I wish we spent it together. I’ve always thought that I know Kat more than she knows me and I was always fine with that. Meaning, I didn’t care if she knew me or not. She acknowledged that when I visited her this past summer. But being with her for two months certainly brought us closer, and now I find myself wanting to literally grow old with her again. I find myself wanting her to know me the same way I know her.

#9: So naturally, I spent a huge part of the day thinking of her and how she’s doing everything she’s always wanted to do. And how I’m not.

#10: Last year, I wrote on my journal that I’d be somewhere else by now, a place that is at least one step closer to where I want to be. But I’m still exactly where I was when I wrote that.

#11: I’ve never felt as stranded as I do right now. I know where I want to be and I know how to get there. And I know I can.

#12: You know what else I know? The future I want is a balloon, the hand on my shoulder is the same one that taught me how to walk, and what I have in my hand is a tiny needle. I can either pop the balloon or I can prick the hand and watch it bleed. Both will hurt my heart.

#13: I feel the desire to let out a hearty “Fuck it.” more now than I did before. It’s the only word that comes to mind when I think of balloons and needles.

#14: I cried a bit today. Balloons and needles.

#15: But when I think of anchors, “Fuck it.” is the last thing that comes to mind. My best friend telling me how she’s quite possibly the luckiest person in the world to have me as her anchor is my anchor today.

#16: Ironically, the hand on my shoulder is also my anchor today. Because no matter how they unknowingly pull me down, nothing lifts me higher than my family.

#17: If I get married, I probably won’t let my husband call me sweetheart. I am forever my dad’s sweetheart.

#18: I’m 25 years old, I’m still single and, surprisingly (to me), I’m still okay with it. I think about love a lot more than I used to and I miss it more often than I normally do. But I look at my grandparents, who are sitting across from me at my birthday dinner, and I know I’d rather be single for the rest of my life than not have a relationship that is, at the very least, remotely similar to theirs.

#19: However, I’m hoping that won’t be the case because I like hugs, holding hands and long walks on the beach. And I can’t cook. So I agreed to a deal with my cousins. If I’m still single by the time I turn 27, I will sign up for eHarmony.

#20: Honestly, I’m hoping it doesn’t come to that.

#21: Earlier today, I was also hoping for Chili’s Molten Chocolate Cake… And I got it! I got it because when my parents asked me what I wanted, that was my answer and they gave it to me.

#22: So maybe, I should just ask again. Their answer could be different. Their answer could be the same. I wouldn’t know unless I talk to them, wouldn’t I?

#23: Today I gave myself two gifts. The first one is self-pity. I got so tired of programming myself into seeing the glass half full that I smashed the glass into pieces so that there wouldn’t even be anything to look at. The second one – and I think this is the better one – is hope. False hope? Fake hope? Temporary hope? I honestly don’t know.

#24: I’ve said this before: Sometimes, I struggle with hope. And sometimes, I struggle, with hope. I’m not going to lie. Today and in days to come, hope will come and go. But today, and hopefully in days to come, I will choose to keep struggling.

#25: After all this, would you believe me if I say I still had a good birthday? Because I did. My 24th was full of happy things. My 25th had pizza, chocolate cakes, a midlife crisis, a good cry, my family and Karen. So I’m still good…. honest. 🙂

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Karen. 12 midnight, September 17
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