September 6, 1979; 8:43pm. About half an hour from now, I will make my first appearance in the world as a 24 year old.

Birthdays seem to have taken on a new meaning for me, although I'm not quite sure how to define it yet. Do you remember when you were a kid, when your birthday was the most exciting day of the year (next to Christmas)?

There was so much anticipation behind this day it wasn't funny. Weeks upon weeks of buildup occurred because people were constantly reminding you by saying, "Someone's having a birthday soon!" or "What do you want for your birthday?!?" or "How old are you going to be? Wow! Such a big girl now! Not a baby anymore!" the sayings go on and on.

The day finally arrives, and I felt like I was emanating this blue light from the moment the clock struck midnight. The blue birthday light. Here I am! Today's my day! I even remember hoping my birthday was during the week, just so I could go to school and say "Here I am world! A whole year older!" (ok, a day older if you want to be picky, but you know what I meant). So many classmates to celebrate with while mom arranged the cupcakes on the long rectangular classroom table. Elementary school was great. I wish I could go back there some days. The best part was that the principal would announce each day's birthdays over the intercom, and those children would go to the office and ceremonially be glued to a red, yellow, and blue sticker with balloons that read "I'm (fill in the blank) years old today!" Oh those were the days.

I'm currently at the age where most 24 year olds go out drinking on their birthday, have a big party with their friends, go wild and crazy, and wake up the next day hung over and miserable, but knowing that their birthday was great the day before. Since I don't partake in the drink, and have very limited friends (most of who live no where near NYC) that option doesn't appeal to me.

The one person here who I want to spend my birthday with can't be with me. You see, 10 year high school reunions are just as important as girlfriend birthdays, especially when the latter slips the mind until it's too late. I suppose he remembered, and that's what matters most. He's promised to make an appearance, although when I've not been told.

I've decided to compensate by birthday shopping for myself. And I suppose that will have great advantages. No birthday presents you don't need, want, or know what to do with at all. No returning gifts that don't fit. No grinning and thanking people for coming to my party. Yeah, who needs it?

Wouldn't mind having my family around though. Where would I be without them at any rate?


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