A little under two weeks ago, I turned twenty-seven. I'd been accidentally telling people that was my age for the past couple of months anyway, so when it became reality, it didn't really make much of a difference to me. Always plan ahead.
I celebrated my birthday the day before it actually happened, using the beach and the Emmys and the fact that it was a Sunday to entice my friends to drive all the way to the south bay and get sunburned with me for a couple of hours. My bad habit of not putting sunscreen on my legs resulted in a lobster-red thigh burn with a mysterious white handprint in the middle of it on my right butt cheek. I ignored it and went in the hot tub that evening, a decision I regretted later that night as I wincingly applied generous amounts of aloe vera gel to my skin. Let it be known: wisdom doesn't necessarily come with age.
Sarah and Cameron made Toby and me breakfast at their apartment in Hermosa Beach before everyone arrived for the day: pannekoeken and maple syrup and bacon and strawberries and raspberries and whipped cream and homemade juice, all consumed in the morning sun under a hummingbird's nest in the middle of the jungle of greenery that surrounds their balcony. My friends know what's up.
And then we went to the beach. It was a cloudless day, the air the temperature of bath water, the ocean the temperature of normally freezing cold water that is warmer than usual, the breeze a perfect ruffling speed. It exemplified the reason I wanted to move to Los Angeles in the first place. The boys played in the ocean while the girls sat around on the towels and talked; occasionally we joined them in the water, splashing around and tossing a tennis ball back and forth. I dove through crashing waves and got wet from head to toe for the second time in a month - without my wet suit. This is a record for me, one that should not be taken lightly.
If I'm being honest, my birthday has lost some of its appeal for me. I mourned the lack of specialness this year, not because I need myself to be celebrated, but because I miss the sweetness of anticipation. It used to be a day I looked forward to, and now I often find myself forgetting about it altogether. I'm also not so sure how I feel about this whole "passing of time" thing. I'm suspicious of it. I feel a discomfort in knowing that the future will not be the same as the past, and that with each year I get a little further away from the first twenty years of my life that were such a safe harbor for me. I've been spending a lot of time wishing for this train to stop ("So scared of getting older, I'm only good at bein' young". Oh, John. You get me.).
The good news is, I'm not the only one who gets older. It's a shared experience. And when you have fantastic friends who gather together to spend time with you and celebrate life, it's hard to feel sad for too long. Life is ultimately beautiful and good. (It should be noted that I'm saying this partly because I believe it, and partly because I feel an obligation to end this birthday post on a happy note, mostly for the sake of my mother and father. I'm fine, you guys. Really.) And because we can't stop the train, we have to do our best to enjoy the ride. Cliche, yes, but also true. I plan to spend this year getting into the habit of doing just that.
Happy weekending, friends.