As a kid you are so excited for your birthday; what you could get. Where you’ll spend your $20 in birthday cash from the grandparents. The cupcakes! at school. It’s your day. (Sorry to any of the unlucky blokes that had to share it with some other kid in class.)
You get a little older. Maybe you get $25 now...but probably not. Birthdays become milestones: 13 for movies. 15 for a job; 16 for a license; 17 for more movies; 18 for “adulthood”; 19 for drinking in Canada; 20 you’re no longer a “teen”, and for whatever reason at the time, we were excited about that. At 21 we can be legally drunk. I mean…I totally didn’t drink before I was 21. Also, I’m still a virgin. Twice…
And then you get to the ones where you’re clinging to a milestone: 23 you can rent a car; 25: Your car insurance in lowered. And then you’re 26 years old celebrating the last of the true mid-twenties. And then you’re 27 and your mom is worried you’re dating an asshole and never going to get married. And then you’re 28 and you start to cling to your 20’s and jesus holy hell where did the 2 in my age go?! (And why am I still only getting $20?!)
I guess I’m clinging...but not really. The celebrations are gone: Sometimes it’s just another day; albeit, another day with justified ice cream cake. (Which, let’s be honest, is reason enough to celebrate.) Again, I gain a number. I did it, I’m here and I made it through another year. I’m the age my mom preached forever to wait to get married: I will be twenty-eight. Out loud it sounds so formal and constricting and, perhaps, even old. In my head, I’m 27, going on 23. I don’t want to be married right now – as my mother recants her advice, which she now says was to serve as a date in which to get married, not to wait to find someone you maybe want to marry. Oops? Regardless, her advice was poignant: She married young, before knowing herself and having the confidence to stand up for what she believed in; to stand up for her life. At 28, she had three young girls and a divorce…but she finally knew who she was; who she wanted to be. And she
I stand now, on the heels of 28. Where my mother was getting divorced (and re-married) and raising children, I'm training for a 10 mile run two days after my birthday - still mildly uncertain who I am or who I want to be…aside from an Army 10 finisher and, um, not homeless. But I have fallen down and picked myself up, collapsed with despair and regained my composure, melted into a goo-ball on the floor to later compose myself into a better, stronger, wiser, kinder, more humble person time and time again. Each time I learn something and each time I gain further perspective into who I am and what my mother raised me to be. I am 27 going on wise. I have no timelines for my life, but I am thankful for the life I have, the hard times I have endured and the lessons I have yet to learn.
Everything will fall into place, mom. I’m just not 'twenty-eight' yet.