The Ghost of Birthdays Past

So today is my birthday, which really only means that today I kick off another year of never knowing quite how old I am. Sara Gruen detailed this phenomenon quite aptly in Water for Elephants, wherein she said that after years of knowing how old you are down to the month, you hit a point in your thirties where you really have to stop and think about it. And Ms. Gruen, how right you are. I play this game a lot:

Well Meaning Person: How old are you?

Me: 32.

WMP: Ah.

Me: No wait. What year is this?

WMP: 2010.

Me: Ok, never mind. I’m 33.

And now that it’s 2011 and all, I suppose that means I’m 34. I must admit that the allure of birthdays has completely worn off of me. I used to get damn excited for my birthday. Cake and presents and a day devoted just to me! Hellz yes! But then the years passed, and I just sort of … stopped caring. Sad. Oh bother. This is me when it comes to birthdays:

But as birthdays are meant to be fun, I thought I would banish Eeyore back to the Hundred Acre Wood for a bit and look back on some previous birthdays that stand out in my mind. Yay? Fun? Let’s do this!

1982: My fifth birthday. My parents let me choose what restaurant I wanted to eat at, and being the sugar-loving munchkin I was, I chose the Waffle House. The staff brought me a waffle with a scoop of ice cream and a candle, which blew my five-year-old mind (waffles AND ice cream AND a candle??), and I knew right then and there that my life’s ambition was to be a waitress at that fine establishment.

1990: My thirteenth birthday. I’ve given up on the Waffle House career path. I did get Super Mario 3 for my birthday, which made this boy down the street who I kinda sorta maybe liked jealous, so that was pretty sweet.

1994: My seventeenth birthday. Also known as the day that Mark-Paul Gosselaar from Saved by the Bell came to my high school because we won some national essay-writing contest. A few friends dared me to tell him it was my birthday and ask for a birthday kiss, but I chickened out. If only I’d had the balls! I’d totally be Mrs. Zack Morris right now. Right? That’s how that works?

1998: My twenty-first birthday. Moving right along.

2001: My twenty-fourth birthday. Moving right along.

2003: My twenty-sixth birthday. This is a hard one to talk about, even eight years later. This was a bad day. Very bad indeed. Back in 2001, I was a first-year law student in Boston. I went to the Boston Marathon and was completely in awe at all of the runners. I’d never run more than two miles in my life, but I decided right then and there that I was going to run that race. I soon discovered the 2003 Marathon was taking place on my birthday, and that just seemed like fate. 26 miles on my 26th birthday. Was there ever a more perfect slogan?? I started training the summer of 2001, and I made my way up to 22 miles. And then I got injured, and then I got sick, and long story short, I didn’t get to run the Boston Marathon on my 26th birthday. I made the mistake of going to the race anyway, and all that did was serve as a reminder that I had failed. Bad times, man, bad times.

2006: What a difference three years can make. My then-boyfriend, now-husband took me on a trip to wine country in California for my birthday. From the lowest birthday to the highest.

2010: A husband, a daughter, a dog, and a barbecue with my closest friends and family at my house. What else do you need?

My 2011 birthday is looking pretty chill so far, but that’s ok. That’s how I like them these days.

What about you all? Any memorable birthdays? You can plead the Fifth on any 21st (or 24th) birthday stories, but bonus points if you spill the dirt!

Posted in Me

24 Responses

  1. Holly says:

    I totally have to stop and think about how old I am if someone asks. lol And I haven’t hit the 30 mark yet…I don’t think that’s a good sign. lol

  2. Happy birthday! My best birthday was my 25th. Most of my out of state friends came and there was an awful lot of partying. (I for one, still celebrate my birthday by making it all about me, but I stopped aging at 29. Yep, it’s like Groundhog Day but not at the same time.)

  3. Holly says:

    Meant to say HAPPY BIRTHDAY!!!! I got a little post happy. πŸ˜‰

  4. Happy birthday! I don’t remember which birthday it was (probably a conglomeration of several) but I had fun barbeque and bouncy castle parties. My eighteenth was the same week as my Midsummer Ball (think senior prom) and the next week was fourth of July so I got a week’s worth of celebrations: dinner with my best girl friends, a flying cake visit with family followed by a pub night with a big group of friends, a ball, and a fair with fireworks. Pretty sweet. And pretty much every birthday since then has been way low key minus last year’s bowling and pool.

    The book I won from you arrived safe and sound (and so pretty!) so thanks again! I hope your bday gifts make you as pleased.
    – Sophia.

    • Meredith says:

      Wait … so England has 4th of July celebrations? Your birthday sounds like it was a lot of fun! Pub night + ball + fireworks = birthday WIN!

      Glad the book made it there!

  5. Happy birthday!! What a fun post πŸ™‚ I’m right behind you, 34 in a few weeks. I’m not so into celebrating them anymore either. Best birthday in recent memory may have been my 27th, when my husband took me to Universal Studios and we acted like kids. Worst by far was last year, because we started it off by totaling our car at 4 a.m. Not fun.

    • Meredith says:

      Happy early birthday to you! Spring 1977 was THE time to be born! πŸ˜‰ 27 sounds like an awesome birthday. Who doesn’t love theme parks?? Eep to totaling the car! May this birthday find you free of any accidents!

  6. TerriBerri says:

    My 36th birthday. It was the one and only surprise party ever thrown for me (odd birthday for a surprise party, but whatevs!). My then bf now ex-jerkface threw me a party at my favorite restaurant with all my friends, and proceeded to completely ignore me for the entire night and even refused to sit with me. So sort of super nice and sort of not so nice.

  7. Meredith says:

    Booo to your ex, Terri! But it does sound like a lovely time notwithstanding. πŸ˜‰

  8. Sari Webb says:

    Happy Birthday! Hope it’s awesome for you, even if it is low key. πŸ™‚

  9. I know how you feel about losing track of my age. For the past two years, after celebrating my birthday with family in town, I’ve been hopping on a plane to San Francisco for the Night of Writing Dangerously.

    I’m starting up a ‘Critiquing and Supportive Crusaders’ program, where participants in the Second Crusade can find other writers to exchange critiques with or form supportive critiquing circles. If you’re interested, come by The Kelworth Files to check it out!

  10. Karen Strong says:

    Ha, those birthday flashbacks were funny.

    Hope you had a fabulous birthday! πŸ™‚

    And you’re just a baby!

  11. Trisha says:

    My favourite b’days so far have been my 21st, 25th (it was my golden birthday too), 26th and my 30th πŸ˜€

  12. HAPPY BIRTHDAY!! Oh I have that same problem (though I’m a few years older). My friend asked how old I was, and we had to sit there and count years. I was within like a year of the truth…

    Great bday memories (except 26).

  13. So hopefully this will help you feel better! My b’day is May 1st. Last year, I was fortunate to have my “annual” exam, about a week after my b’day (and I say that in the most sarcastic tone I can muster). My doctor walks in (whom I’ve seen for half my life, at least) and says, oh! I see you just had a birthday? What number is it this year?
    It’s not like she couldn’t have found this in my file somewhere – or the fact she’s known me since I learned how to drive – so I wasn’t bothered by her asking.
    I looked her dead in the eye as I subconsciously tugged at the paper “gown” I was wearing and said, “24”.
    She stopped writing on my chart and looked at me funny over the top of it, with an eyebrow raised.
    “24 doc, what’s the matter?” I continued as her eyebrow got higher – which then made my temper raise equally. I mean, who was she to question my age? After all, that is kind of rude!
    Her response, “Are you sure about that?”
    For a moment, I almost used my fingers (yes, fingers) to count off the years. And proceeded to repeat the same age I’d said, twice before.
    “So, you were born in 1976 and you’re 24 years old, really?”
    I stared at her long and hard, refusing the strong urge to bounce the speculum off her head (too much information? This was before my appointment had happened, if that helps).
    My next question, “What year is this?”
    Yeah, 2010. Which would’ve put me at 34 years old. Exactly TEN years older than I was so vehemently adamant I was. Not one or two, but TEN.
    Maybe I need the big ole’ party, hat, buttercream frosting cake and balloons to help remind me exactly how old I am…cause I have a feeling, it’s only going to get worse.
    And sadly, 24 I am not!
    Happy belated birthday to a fellow Taurus (could be Aries?)! May we always be “24”!

  14. Debbra Kielar says:

    i always love essay writing because it enhances my writing skills.:

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