"Fire is motion / Work is repetition / This is my document / We are all all we've done / We are all all we've done / We are all all we've done / We are all all defenses."

- Cap'N Jazz, "Oh Messy Life," Analphabetapolothology

Tuesday, December 25, 2007

are birthdays happy?


so, tomorrow, the 26th day of December, as is custom for this time of year, i will have my 22nd birthday.

yes, woo-hoo and all that...

but i am remorseful this year, more than any other year before (yes, even compared to yester-year) because this birthday, more than any other, signifies the end of my youth. i've dragged it on long enough, and i find that this year officially closes the door on that splendid carefree stage of youth, and launches me on the track toward adulthood, endless responsibility and trudgery.

looking back, i had it all wrong:
18 = i was "an adult" by legal definition, but lo! - still just a kid, but an empowered one at that - i could rock the vote, buy cigarettes and porn. i was riding out the end of high school, soaking up college like a dehydrated sponge... life was good. no, life was awesome!
19 = not really a "kid," but still a teenager. and living away from home for most of the year, i was far enough from home to still enjoy it when i came back. that is, i could be a kid, while still pretending to have my shit together the rest of the time.
20 = the end of the teenage years, in terms of numerology. a regretful time. but i got in enough wild debauchery just under the wire to make up for the lack of it in all the rest of my two decades of life.
21 = i earn the right to legally imbibe alcohol. the party seems to just be beginning! suddenly i can get into concert venues! the fun places to hang out and party double, no triple, in possibility! downtown Lexington is no longer a void! pass me a pint and turn up the music, all i wanna do is dance all night!...

you see, all those a priori assumptions and fears about my waning youth were unfounded. i put too much weight on the significance of numbers! and sure, this year could be no different, but here's a glimpse at what's in store for me as a 22nd year old:
-graduating from college, leaving my closest friends and the community i've become dearly attached to for a significant portion of my life for a world unknown (i consider 4 years of my 22 years - the first 5-8 years of which don't really count, i was hardly a real human being then - to be quite a significant amount of time, and they've certainly been the most formative)
-getting my first "real-world" job (that is: doing work for a wage that, livable or not, will have to sustain me and all my daily consumer habits), or possibly going to grad school
-living on my own, away from friends and family, and all the sturm und drang that comes with that
-moving to a new city, possibly having to buy a car, and etc. there's too much to think about

you see, i really am still a kid! i don't think i'm ready to be thrust into the world like this, and now turning 22... it just makes me wish i could slow down time for just a bit, just until i can catch back up to it.

i mean, i found clippings from the local newspaper about the Lord of the Rings movies in my room, remembered how much i loved going to see those movies in the theatres... and then i realized the newspapers were dated back to December 2002! that was 5 years ago! i was 16 then! i was in high school! i tried to remember what it felt like to be that young, to have so little in the way of worries, feeling absorbed by the immediacy of everything, having only to worry about getting into college and thinking that would be enough for now (for then...)

how strange it is to be turning 22. and to have nothing left after this but 23, 24, 25, etc. until i reach more decades, and then finally death.

are birthdays happy? maybe they should be... but i'll be spending mine writing my thesis.

meanwhile, i hope you enjoy these gifts [all links yousendit]

"are birthdays happy? or are they just a countdown to death? is there need to worry? there might not be much time left, i haven't lived my life yet!"

"there's only about 20 birthdays you should be allowed to celebrate. otherwise you are wasting cake and paper!"
"You are allowed 20 Birthdays" - Patton Oswalt


love and youth,
stephanie,
who was 21 when she wrote this


p.s. and all i want for my birthday? a decent enough ukulele, so i can play this song to my self, while wandering around in a nice pullover:


4 comments:

remaerydaD, presently hacking youtube said...

Um, how young are you in your present profile photo? If I may write so, as your virtual, um, wadaya call the guy who runs a university and hands out diplomas. Yeah, I regret to 'officially' inform you that you appear to be getting younger. This is very "sad" as you will now revert and begin living out childhood dreams.

Better luck in the next life, eh?

remaerdyaD, the snickering, sarcastic mega xmas cookie monster - i mean i think i have 300 cookies here from various sources to eat... sigh, my adult life is in such shams as well...

I must go "weep" now, in prayer...

POSTSCRIPT Part A
And just think: after you are a successful woman in your new city we can still meet and exchange kindnesses!!!

Rae Jin Devine said...

"RAE!!!!

this is fantastic news! i can't wait to hear all about your travels in S Korea, and to see you again. i can attest to many others being equally thrilled at yr return.

but hark, are you not returning to Miami?? i wish the same awaited me...

-stephanie"
I loved Korea so much I'm heading back for the Spring semester. I'm class of 2009 now and I must admit, it's freeing.

However, it truly is a mere delay and it does sadden me deeply to be away from you all.

As I said, I'll be visiting soon (around the 14th and most likely again before I leave) and I expect to see you.

It's a little late but:

Happy Birthday, Steph.

~Rae~

P.S.

I just hit 21 if you recall (Nov. 2, '86) and having multiple siblings I too have been pondering the steady march of my age.

I'm not sure where I will end up (or even graduate...) but for now I love what I'm doing, where I am, and who I'm with.

So ask yourself, "Is there somewhere else I'd rather be, honestly?"

If there is, go there.

If not, appreciate it more.

Little time is still time.

stephan!e lee said...

Rae,

that is VERY sage advice. i hope to heed it.

see you soon,
stephanie

stephan!e lee said...

daydreamer:

i hope i can bring happy tidings from my new city and that we will, indeed, still exchange virtual kindnesses from our respective places.

best wishes for 08,
stephanie