This is a very important week.
I don’t mean this calendar week. I mean the next seven days.
This is the last week of my 20s.
Yup, that’s right, folks. A week from today, Lauren Miller turns 30.
There are two ways this post could go. This could be a yay, birthday! kind of post or an OMG-I’m-30 kind of post (either way, I will use OMG repeatedly (perhaps excessively) in order to demonstrate how young and hip and decidedly un-30 I am).
So which is it? Yay or yikes?
It’s both. For now.
First, the yay.
I make a big deal out of birthdays. Mine, other people’s.
I am that girl. The one who treats her birthday like it’s a Major Event and yes, expects you to do the same. Before you write that girl off as (OMG!) horribly self-involved, let me explain to you why she does it.
She wants you to have fun. She wants to give you a reason – an excuse – to have One Of Those Nights. A night that stands out. A night you remember. A night you’re still talking about a week later. Ten years later. So, you see, the big, ambitious, often elaborate birthday parties that this birthday girl throws every year (OMG!) for herself, they aren’t actually for her. They’re for everyone else.
(Okay, so they’re partly for her. But they’re mostly for everyone else.)
That’s the main reason I do it. I like giving my family and friends a reason to don their fancy pants and dancing shoes. I like creating a fun mandate: It’s my birthday, dammit! OMG! You will not go home early!
That’s the main reason. But it’s not the only reason. The other reason is harder to articulate.
Harder to admit.
Which brings me to the yikes.
On one level, I love birthdays. And not just the birthday festivities – all the cake-eating and glass-clinking and wish-making – but the birthdays themselves. The idea of them. The notion of celebrating someone’s birth. Commemorating their existence. Paying annual homage to their life.
But at the same time, I kinda hate them. Not birthdays, exactly, but what they, by their mere occurrence, represent. And by “hate,” I mean fear.
Yes, I realize this makes me a cliche. Which is why I’ve spent the past 29 years actively hiding it, pretending to OMG! LOVE BIRTHDAYS! Celebrating them with a gusto that borders on mania.
Until this year.
This year, there will be no party. There will be good food and good wine and good times with family (more about my upcoming trip later), but no big hurrah. And it’s no accident that I’ll be out of town when the day comes. I want it to go quickly. And quietly.
I don’t want it to come at all.
And yet, there is a part of me (okay, so it’s an itty bitty part) that’s looking forward to the big 3-0. A tiny ounce of me that’s excited to become a Woman in Her Thirties because it means I can stop being That Girl In Her Twenties who spent so much time worrying about where she would go and who she would go with and OMG! what she would do when she got there.
So, you see, I’m caught between the yay and the yikes.
(Are you caught between the yay and the yikes? Do you have a love/hate relationship with birthdays? Are you afraid of aging? Do people who obsesses about aging annoy the crap out of you?)