Many of my friends take their born days as the opportunity to stop the entire world and celebrate themselves with large parties, weekend-long festivities or engaging in some sort of pampering, self-indulgence.

*Hums Lyfe Jennings’ “Must Be Nice'”*

I have never been one of those folks who went all out for and/or felt particularly special on my birthday. July 22 was more often than not a pretty cool day during my childhood; while I am from very modest household, I was usually gifted with something I really wanted, some sort of special meal and maybe even a cake. In college, we drank on my birthday; to be fair, in college, we drank on days ending in ‘y’. This is around the time homies started doing big b-day celebrations, but I never saw fit to make myself the center of attention in that sort of way.

Birthdays didn’t really get bad for me until I graduated and moved to New York. Yes, my life here has been very fun, full with friends new and old. But that one day of the year that was supposed to make me feel special, accomplished and grateful has become a reminder of goals unfulfilled, increased proximity to a looming milestone birthday (thirty is young, yes, but it for damn sure ain’t “the new 20”) and an overall sense of failure. Shouldn’t I own a house or an advanced degree or a perfect credit score or at least a cat that doesn’t hate my guts by now? How am I going to raise my Huxtable kids if I’m still earning what I would imagine what Claire spent on groceries for her brood? And will I be able to produce little Miles and Malcolm before my parents are too old to get their (seperated) Anna and Russell on?

*clutches brown paper bag and hyperventilates*

When I was sixteen, I often referred to myself as “almost 18”; at 19, I was chomping at the bit to turn two years older and use my real ID when I went out. Now, I’m gonna just keep saying I’m 24, as I have been in the however many years it’s been since I turned 24. Its a good age! Old enough to be respectably mature, yet young enough to be defined more so by potential than what one has already achieved. WIN-WIN. The age I’m turning today? Combined with my socio-economic and career situation? LOSE-LOSE.

Surely someone who is a bit ahead of me in years is laughing at me and thinking “foolish little girl”, but I can’t help but to feel like I’m losing a race and turning a year older just makes that distance between myself and the finish line (whatever that may be). I’m alive, I have groceries and I’m relatively healthy. But I’m still giving a big old ‘bah humbug’ today.

Am I alone on this Clutchettes?

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