What's really getting me about my birthday this year is these photos of myself I came across the other day, from a couple of years ago.
Or so I thought. They were taken at Lake Erie, near Oberlin, on the day of my 20th birthday - four years ago. Four years is a long time. It's half a college career plus two whole years in the "real" world. It's seven addresses. It's about ten jobs. It's a handful of relationships. A good dose of heartbreak. Enough collective alcohol to wash down a small town. Recurring stages of wrenching confusion about life and a few lovely streaks of clarity.
Tonight I'm having dinner with nine friends, four of whom have been in my life since those pictures were taken. Georgia and Rachel have both been steady constants since a freshman year acting class at Oberlin. One friend, Samantha, has held the friend title since we unpacked our underwear together at Camp Ballibay 11 years ago. My sister Amanda takes the proverbial cake, though, as she came into my life when I was going on the Big-Girl age of three.
I've been trying to blast away the sensation of aging by hurling balls of various weights and sizes at vulnerable stationary objects.
(I'm either bowling, or ballroom dancing solo with a very tall partner.)
(Can't you just hear the contact? I'm going for number One there.)
Yes, I cut my hair - it was a birthday present to myself. In fact, those last two shots were taken only hours apart. I love it, but I'm going to miss rocking the long hair thing. There's something sexy and feminine about just having long hair.
(Shut up, it's my party and I can post pictures of myself if I want to.)
But I like the new 'do, I think. I feel older, which I guess is appropriate. One of those superficial changes that feels much larger.
When it really comes down to it, though... in spite of all the growing and developing and yadda yadda over the years... I still feel pretty much just like this.
Which is just the way I like it.