From a completely hilarious book I began reading yesterday:
‘Really, the last truly happy birthday an adult ever has is twenty-one! Twenty-two and twenty-three go by in a blur, and then you hit twenty-four! Twenty-four is mixed. You know why? Because twenty-three is the last year a person can officially be considered a wunderkind. Twenty-three is the last year you can be photographed for Details magazine in black leggings/at an art gallery/electric guitar/Sean Lennon/funny glasses . . .
‘You know what I mean,’ I say. ‘There’s this certain kind of cool photo of a young creative person suddenly flaring up out of nowhere that simply will not work after the age of twenty-three. Then you turn twenty-five, ‘quarter of a century,’ you joke, and yet deeper angst is starting to gnaw. The Olympics, for instance. In . . . like . . . sprinting. That door is forever closed to you, at twenty-five! Or Wimbledon. People winning that are like sixteen, seventeen. How did this happen? These wraithlike moppets in ponytails, whipping by!’ (p86-87)
Well, at thirty-six, Sandra Tsing Loh’s main character in A Year in Van Nuys has several more years of disappointment and unfulfillment under her belt than I do, so it’s no wonder she’s more freaked-out about her birthday than I am.
Honestly, I don’t feel this way about turning 25. Sure, I’d love to have been one of those black-leggings-clad wunderkinder (is that right?) at 23, but I’m one of the youngest in my cohort, and from them I’ve learned not to worry about my future overmuch at my age. This year has been one of deep introspection and reflection, and I think it’s finally paying off — there are things I know about myself now, and there are decisions I’ve made about my future (in my head at least, if not publicly), that put me in a much better place now than I was a year ago (although that was a nice birthday day, it must be acknowledged). I’m not getting any younger, but I definitely feel like I’m moving forward with my life.
I would love to have drawn some thoughtful meditation on my twenty-fifth birthday in my sketchbook today, but I didn’t have time! Thank you to all the wonderful friends and family who kept me running to the phone and computer all day, and those who kept me company in person. It was so lovely to hear from each and every one of you. Thank you for remembering! Love goes especially to Erik, for the coolest wrapping paper on his present (he drew it himself!), and Jackie and Ying, for sacrificing an evening out of their finals-studying and paper-writing crunch for a girls’ night out with me at The Grove.
I thank you all with sincere and overflowing gratitude for your constant love, support, and camaraderie. Each birthday I am reminded afresh how incredibly blessed I am to be surrounded by such generous kindness and affection, and from so many wonderful individuals. If I am in any way a better or more complete person at twenty-five than I was at twenty-four, the credit goes to you.
*kisses and hugs*
[This post was imported on 4/10/14 from my old blog at satsumabug.livejournal.com.]