It is now hour 18 of being 23. So far… so good. The 16th of February always feels more like the start of a new year than Jan 1 ever will. It denotes a chapter break in my story, an asterisk on the mile long to-do list. So often I feel like birthday celebrations are weirdly misguided. 23 years ago, I was forcefully removed from my cozy womb because I refused to leave. That’s not an accomplishment, that’s the epitome of laziness. We should be celebrating the wonderful people who gave me life (shout out to mama and papa Albers)! They are the true stars of February 16th, not me.
I really like that my birthday falls on a Tuesday this year. Is there anything less sexy than a Tuesday? Absolutely not. Thus, I did a lot of solo celebrating. An extra birthday mile at the gym. Sprinkles on my pancakes. Palak paneer from my favorite Indian place down the street. Sparkle koozie constantly deployed. Today illustrates how much my world has changed in the past year. I now live 12 hours from my amazing parents, 1,412 miles from my best friend, and for the first time in six years, I am single. That’s right folks, you heard it here first! I am a hip single lady killin’ the birthday game.
For those reasons, I am learning new things about myself at an alarming rate. I love shopping at the fancy co-op 45 minutes from my house. Leg day is my ultimate frenemy. Pistachios are an incredible amount of work and happen to be a delicious snack. Going to the movies alone is way better than people say.
And maybe that is the first real lesson for all recent graduates: How to “Do You” 101. At 23, we get to be completely selfish with our time, our careers, and our expendable income¹. As a generation, we are just beginning to figure out who we are meant to be. The coming years will be filled with huge milestones, and not just the heteronormative ones like marriage and having babies! I am talking about real life biggies like getting your own HBO GO account instead of stealing someone else’s. Hosting a dinner party just to use the matching dishes you bought. Donating to a charity because you have EXTRA MONEY². As Lin-Manuel Miranda [insert praying hands emoji here] wrote “look around, look around at how lucky we are to be alive right now.” And we are. We are so so lucky.
Tonight I will drink lots of mediocre red wine and do a Google Hangout with some spectacular humans. Would I prefer to have them sitting on my couch IRL? Of course. But, for now, I am just enjoying my life as a twenty-something. Still me, still single, still really into the Hamilton soundtrack.