26.

I have always loved my birthday. For as long as I can remember, the month of June with the number 14 trailing behind it has given me a special little thrill. When I was working in an office and would come across the date on a random piece of paperwork, I would smile to myself and think, “That’s my birthday.” Historical events that took place on that day seemed to carry special significance to me when I heard about them (though admittedly they’d fall out of my brain almost immediately afterwards). I was almost inevitably disappointed every year, no matter how good my birthday was, because my expectations of awesomeness were so high, as I counted down the days with arm-flailing excitement (I remember one year in high school, I started counting down the days at 65).

This year, my birthday kind of snuck up on me. I blinked, and it was June 5. I blinked again, and it was June 12 (the day that I am writing this). I didn’t have time to anticipate my birthday with aggravating single-mindedness, I guess. Or maybe I’m just growing up a little.

My obsession with my birthday is a bit of a paradox when I think about it, because I look upon the passage of time with such deep-seated fear. I am forever scrambling to hold onto the passing moments, lamenting the speed with which days slip through my fingers. So one would think that I would abhor my birthday, marker of the passage of time that it is. But I don’t. Despite its tendency to disappoint me over the years, I can’t think of a single birthday that was less than good. It is still my favorite day of the year. Maybe it is because it comes on the cusp of spring and summer, when I tend to be fully emerging from my winter-induced depression coma. Maybe because it is a time when things get to just be about me. For whatever the reason, I continue to look forward to June 14 with child-like excitement every year. I wonder how long that will last, if I will always adore it the way I do now. Our society says no, that we are to fear aging with all the strength we have, and that women in particular have an expiration date, and I should wail and tear my hair at the thought of getting older. But I don’t. While I still think with discomfort at how quickly the years are passing, and that I am now in the late half of my twenties, I am grateful for the time that I have already been given, and hopeful that I will be given much more. Aging, after all, is a privilege, and one that I hope to take full advantage of.

This year, our plans were simple. We saw¬†Jurassic World at the VIP theatre with my brother- and sister-in-law. We went to Julio’s Barrio for bulldogs and amazing Mexican food with a few good friends. We headed¬†back home to Sylvan Lake to hang out with my family for the day, nothing special, just the people I love, a home-cooked meal, and a pie. Simple pleasures that weren’t killed by sky-high expectations.

So June 14 has passed for another year, and I am staring 26 in the face. I have a feeling it’s going to be a good one.

How do you feel about your birthday? What did you do for your last one?

26.

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