My 26th birthday was a little over a week ago.
You know how people always ask you if you feel any differently on your birthday–to which the typical answer is, um….no? Well, after a week of walking around with a new age attached to my name, I strangely enough do feel a bit older and wiser. Perhaps it’s because this was the first birthday that I celebrated in my new home, or perhaps it’s because I finally feel hip enough to rock red, cropped jeans. Whatever the reason, I naturally feel a great responsibility to share my newfound older, wiser-ness with the greater dazed and confused 20-something population. Good thing my 25th birthday brought about this blog (cue a few creepy eyebrow raises and elbow nudges). And so without further ado…
The Top 4 Things I’ve Learned By 26:
1. I am no longer allowed to get sick. Ah yes, after 26 glorious years of living off of my parents in some capacity, the government has stripped me of that final bit of dependency. As of 12 August 2013, I no longer have medical insurance. This can only mean one thing: I am no longer getting sick. A fever? Get a cold towel on that noggin. Sinus weirdness? Neti Pot that sh*t. Unidentifiable growth on my arm? Windex.
But seriously. Nothing makes you feel like an adult more than knowing that a trip to the doctor could potentially cost you an arm and a leg (literally and figuratively). I know the logical next step is to get some medical insurance; and, yes, Grandma, if you’re reading this, I plan to. But in the meantime, this working girl is taking her adult chewy vitamins, drinking lots of water, getting as much sleep as her career will allow, and driving defensively.
2. Life is a giant popularity contest. It’s true, it is. And the trick to winning the blue ribbon? Drum roll please (badadadadada): give a crap about the people around you. That doesn’t mean lobby for a seat at the cool table (we all remember those days). It means reach out to others; ask them how they’re doing; smile at them; be helpful and kind as often as you can. It’s not rocket science, my homies. When you’re nice to people, they usually can’t help but like you. Sometimes that leads them to remember your name when a professional opportunity comes along. Sometimes it leads to a great friendship. Sometimes you end up charming a kooky, old blue-hair in a cat sweater at a bus stop and she gives you the keys to the universe in return. And ba-da-bing-ba-da-boom, you’re suddenly a little bit better at life.
Of course there will be days this will be a very difficult task. Days when you take the fall for some other jack @ss•s’ mistake, or days when you get high school mean girl’d for no reason at all. And they will suck. But when the crappy things happen, try this: don’t engage, but rather do something nice for someone else. Prove that the crappy things don’t define you by putting something better back into the world. It will make you feel less icky.
3. It’s time to give chocolate cake a chance. I was a unique kid. I didn’t like chocolate cake. All my close friends and family, however, did. And so every year on my birthday, Wham Bam (my dear mother) got a tiny individual vanilla cake for me, but a much larger chocolate one for the rest of the guests. And nothing boiled my hormonal pre-teen blood more then feeling like the weird food allergy kid at my own birthday party. Naturally in my older, wiser days I am a little less resentful [hormonal] and wee bit more apt to try new things [cake flavors]. Mostly though, I’ve been spoiled by Captain Kevmerica’s purchasing anything other than chocolate these past few years or so.
When I received my 26th birthday cake, I was delighted to find my sister and her significant other (newly present in my everyday life) had gotten me a Baskin Robbins’ mint chocolate chip ice cream/chocolate cake. It was just like the good ol’ days. And it’s a sign from the universe: time to ditch my prejudice against chocolate cake, grab a fork, and birthday gorge my way to an epic food baby. It is simply the way of my people.
4. The greatest validation comes from within. To celebrate my 25th birthday, I had perhaps the most ridiculous party I’ve ever had. I got wickedy schwasted on booze and sugar and proceeded to tell my 30 or so closest friends and acquaintances why I loved them as much as I do–the perfect way to celebrate my quarter of a century. It was my behavior that night that inspired the inception of Love and ADD. (In fact, I almost called this blog Love, ADD, and a Really Bad Hangover.)
My 26th birthday celebration on the other hand was quiet. I worked a 12-hour day as an office PA on a Disney Parks commercial (it was both chaotic and rad). I was working with a small team of people that either knew very little, or nothing at all about me. When I got home that night, Captain Kevmerica, and my sister/sister boyfriend roommates were at work. I found my cake in the freezer, sang happy birthday to me, and quietly gorged alone (re: my last point). The celebration was completely mine. It wasn’t about how many people wrote on my Facebook wall. It wasn’t about how many people showed up to a party. It was simply about congratulating myself on making it this far without f*cking up too horribly or accidentally killing myself (re: I’m getting medical insurance, I promise). And it felt pretty awesome.
I welcome you 26 (even though you put me in the “mid-late 20s” range).
ps. Happy Birthday to Love and ADD. Here’s to another great year.