1 birthday card
1 Remember When, 1989 KardLet
1 natural dark chocolate with raspberries bar
1 note of a wine-and-painting date reservation
1 action figure of Ripley from Alien
2 coupons for a full body massage
2 magnets describing the bright and dark side to a Scorpio
This Star Wars lunchbox was the first thing I saw when I woke up on the morning I turned 25, which was last week. Grinning, Kent placed it on my chest as I peered my eyes open. I became increasingly alert as I went through the box of goodies. That was the best transition from asleep to fully awake I’ve ever had, I thought.
A dozen of thank-you and good-morning kisses and a shower later, I stepped out of the house in a outfit I felt teacher-chic in and carpooled to work with Kent. (Side note: I still work for Convo from home, but I’m also a part-time Long Term Substitute at TSD. I teach Health Education and Theater Arts. Separately.)
Well, it all went downhill from there. The short story is that several hours later, I got really sick and my period. So, it was a day of battling mucus and blood while also managing a classroom of teenagers with a short attention span or an attitude problem. And then my body said, Throw in a side of cramps, too, and it’ll be a good ol’ circus going on here!
Needless to say, I was under the covers fairly early that night. The sensation was all too familiar; I also felt miserable and fell asleep early on my birthday last year. Only, the diagnosis that time around was heartbreak. The memory of that day comes with a perpetual fog. I remember that the day of my birthday was a grey one, a day in the lull in between fall and winter. I remember I had a small group of friends around me and I remember falling asleep during a movie in my living room, but not much else. I had just returned from a 10-week backpacking trip in Southeast Asia and was coming to terms with a bunch of hard things. At times, it felt like depression enveloped me.
Shaking that memory off, I returned to the present. It was my birthday once again and I might have looked as sick as a dog on the outside, but at least on the inside, my heart was well. I felt so glad to have gotten through that slump and to be where I was in the present. So much had happened in a year. Isn’t that the way it always is though, every year?
Flipping through the pages of the Remember When KardLet in bed, I wondered at the world during the year of my birth. It seemed to be from another era. So much had happened and progressed in the past quarter-century. In 1989, the Berlin Wall went down and Seinfeld went on air. A movie ticket cost $3.50. Salvador Dali passed away. The average word count in an advertisement was like, 900% higher. Check out this one from the KardLet.
The answer to the question on the advertisement now is a complete 180 degree turn from a quarter of a century ago. Computer usage was so rare back then that it was the selling point for that word processor company. And now? I’m typing this on a computer. I literally can’t remember a time I went a week without using one since I was a kid. Our smart phones, the same ones so many of us go everywhere with, are our miniature computers.
Even more so for somebody like me, who works in Content and Creative Marketing with co-workers that live remotely. I’m on my computer, typing away, every day. What’s funny about this picture is that I also make advertisements and, although I type way more than the average person in 1989, I get told “Less words” all the time. Nobody has time to actually read advertisements; we merely glance at them. The fewer words, the bigger impact they make on the reader. Use bold words. Cut the fluff. Make your point so we can progress.
Progress. Now that’s a powerful word we can all understand. We’re progressing at such a rapid rate that it can be startling when looking at the big picture. Did you know that if the history of Earth was compressed in 24 hours, humanity only appears at around 11:58 PM? In those last couple of minutes of Earth’s history, humans have managed to consume and produce a lot of shit on this planet.
But anyway, about progress. I made a lot of that during age 24. I moved from Berkeley to Austin, lugging everything I owned in my black Dodge halfway across the country; adopted a dog with Kent, the first one for both of us; bought a house together, the first big decision we made as a couple; got a second job, the both of us; and finally, adopted another dog, thus becoming a family of four. That miserable girl I remember from last year seems… so unattached and direction-less, in comparison. I sighed contentedly as I drifted to sleep, and stayed that way for most of the next day.
Friday came around. I had a birthday celebration that night and, after plenty of R and R, found myself feeling recovered and energized as I got dressed for the night. I went out to an Indian restaurant with friends and had some seriously good curry eggplant. Then we went to a bar where we had a private karaoke room. We got drunk and sang songs. I had a grand time.
Indian food and some karaoke were just how I wanted to celebrate. It felt good to take control of the way I wanted to welcome a new age, a new circle. I had come down with a flu on my birthday, but I nurtured my body and bounced back. I went out and did some of my favorite things with my friends. It’s the simple things in life, folks.
The sharp contrast between my 24th and 25th birthdays is a proof of growth for me. I like documenting my growth. It’s a way to measure my progress and going back to my journal is like reliving moments frozen in time. Sometimes I put those frozen images against my current view for comparison. It helps me see more clearly. My 24th year was a hell of a year. At some point, I found my way. Or at least the beginning of that path.
And now, it feels good being 25, better than any age ever did. But I’m already changing. I’m already progressing further into this age and growing. This journal entry is my love letter to this moment in my life. I am twenty-five and I am happy and I am in love: It is documented.
Time’s a goon that cannot be stopped. Here’s to my 25th circle around the sun and to the year 2015.