Monday, January 23, 2006

How My Birthday is Very Much Like MLK Day, only BETTER
I'll get to that in a moment. But first, some thoughts about my 30th birthday, which took place over the weekend.

It truly was a weekend of celebration, as young and old alike gathered to watch me gracefully enter another decade. We only start a new decade a handful of times in our lifetime (unless we are those people who manage to live past 100, and quite honestly I'm not sure I want to begin a new century - these decade changes are hard enough.) So really, the start of each new decade should be celebrated with much fanfare and rejoicing.

Highlights include (but are not limited to):

1. A haircut - what better way to start your 30s than with good hair? It's a must for any new 30-year old.

2. A housecleaning - what better way to start a new decade than to clean out all the crap from the decade before, then show off your sparkling home to a whole lot of people.

3. Newly painted furniture - technically this took place the weekend before I achieved 30, but it was done to prepare for the new decade, so it counts. It's like all new furniture, cost about $35, and it is fabulous.

4. A nap - before the celebration of aging another decade, one deserves a thorough napping. It was just what I needed, until the phone rang. But it was a phone call related to my party, so all was well.

5. Have a big party - what better way to start a new decade than to have 30 or 40 of your closest friends show up, hang out, bring a party with them, and stick around until the wee hours of the night. Plus, no chairs were broken, which made the entire evening quite magical.

6. Have a surprise guest - what better way to flaunt being much older than most of your friends than to see Friend C fresh off of a plane from New York, in your house, unexpected, and bearing pizza and cake? I am super impressed that folks were able to pull this stunt off, and I still can't believe she came all the way from New York just to watch me turn 30. Apparently, it's quite an exciting thing to witness live and in person. I am honored that she was here for me. Best surprise of my 30s so far...

7. Have brunch with your parents - it might seem cruel to make your daughter get up before noon on her birthday, after a late night with houseguests, but since I am now old and unable to sleep late, it was perfect. I was up, I was hungry, and I was looking forward to the company of my folks. What better way to start a new decade of aging than on a full stomach and with the ones who birthed you?

8. 30 gifts for 30 years - immediately following brunch, opening 30 gifts from your parents (one for every year they've known and loved me) is an EXCELLENT way to bring in the new decade. Each gift, so thoughtful, so perfect. It was another fabulous surprise for a birthday well done. Even my 17-year old dog got me a card and signed it herself. So thoughtful...

9. Watch the Miss America Pageant with 8 or so of your closest chick friends - with Frind C still in tow (I got her all weekend!) we gathered to watch the DVR'd fabulousness of one of America's favorite pasttimes, the Miss America Pageant. With leftover goodies from the birthday bash, plus more goodies prepared by one of our very own Betty Crockers, Friend E, we embarked on several hours of snide, sarcastic, beauty pageant fun. And we hate Miss Oklahoma. Sorry, but it's true.

10. Go to church - especially while wearing your "It's My Birthday" t-shirt, and especially if your church gives you more gifts and praise for achieving 30! I know church should really be about God, but last night I'm pretty sure it was all about me. At least for me it was.

11. Make your church go to dinner wherever you want to go - I don't know that it was exactly where I wanted to go, but since I didn't know where I wanted to go and it wasn't anywhere I didn't want to go, I was happy.

12. After a weekend full of celebration, take the day off from work - here is where my birthday is like MLK Day, only better.

Reasons why my Birthday is like MLK Day -
Almost everyone I know had last Monday off from work to celebrate the good Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. However, I did NOT have that day off from work, nor do I EVER get that day off.

But at my place of employment, we do get one day off in honor of our very own birthday. So I have taken today off from work, making today TCT Day (The Cynical Tyrant Day).

While all of you were off last Monday as I worked relentlessly all the livelong day, today I am off from work, doing whatever I want, while all of YOU work relentlessly, all the livelong day.

I have not done anything to change history, or mankind, and I rarely have a dream that changes the world in any way. I don't get a parade (except for the one going on in my head right now). But, today is all about me. Just like whatever Monday that is closest to MLK's birthday is all about him.

I am celebrating my personal holiday by doing laundry (don't judge me as weird, but not many things make me quite so happy as the smell of fabric softener in the morning - I just hate that that usually involves the act of doing laundry). I am watching movies, eating leftover cake, I haven't showered, yet, and I am finally letting it sink in that I am, in fact, now 30. A new decade has begun. It was fun this weekend, but alas, reality has set in.

I am getting old.

If I hear ONE MORE PERSON tell me that 30 is the new 20, I will think up something tortuously horrible to do to you, and you will not like it. I am 30, and I'm having a little trouble thinking of something horrible to do. Or perhaps since my memory is failing much more so than two days ago at 29, I have thought up something horrible and have simply forgotten what that was.

But since the only people who say that 30 is the new 20 are much younger than 30, just shut up. Right now.

I don't wish for my 20s back. Those were some tough years. But, I wish we got, like a free decade. One decade of aging that didn't add up in years. You keep counting years until you turn 21. Because everyone WANTS to get to 21. Then you stop counting for a few years. You learn stuff, you make mistakes, you become wiser and more mature. You get your stuff together. THEN you go back to counting the years that go by, when you're good and ready to continue getting older.

To sum up, my 30th birthday celebration was far more wonderful than I could have hoped for. I am behind on returning phone calls and emails wishing me good birthday thoughts. I behind on thank-yous for all of the wonderful things people did for me this weekend to make it a good birthday. So for now, this will have to do.

Thank you to each of you who planned, participated, got on a plane to be here, drove north of the Loop to gather at my house for celebration, fed me, lavished gifts upon me, and humored me all weekend long by yelling sweet "happy birthdays" in my ever-aging ears. It's not at all the birthday celebration, or even the cast of characters I ever imagined having when you think of one day turning 30, or even throughout this last year of ups and downs and whatnot and so forth.

Fortunately, it was MUCH much better than what I could have imagined. It rocked. I felt super loved and appreciated this weekend, and I assure you that was much needed.

I was reminded this weekend of how many wonderful people are in my world and how blessed I am to know each of you, near and far. Each of you has a special place in my universe, and I consider it one of my favorite achievements of my first 30 years to know you and call you friends and family. However you fit into this weekend, and into my life at this time, thank you for being there and for making Day 1 of being 30 totally sweet.

And by sweet, I mean really friggin' awesome.

See? I'm not so old that I can't keep up with the street lingo of you younguns these days....

Much love-
C.T. - 30 and counting...

No comments: