The Unbirthday

“Here’s to your 27th birthday!”
“No, T’s turning 27. I’m celebrating the second anniversary of my 25th birthday.”

Twenty-seven. When you’ve officially entered your late twenties, no ifs, ands or buts about it. 27 is the age I always thought I’d be an adult, or I’d have my shit together. I didn’t expect 27 to hit me as hard as it did when I woke up on Monday morning, just before 7am, right around the time my sister was born, the older twin by 14 minutes. After a fun-filled weekend of shopping, baseball, fireworks, hiking and lots and lots of beer, on my last morning in Massachusetts, I quietly grabbed my sister’s keys before she and her fiancé woke up. Pulling my hair into an almost-ponytail and cautiously closing the door behind me, I took my yoga mat out to the same riverside park behind their apartment where T and I did our first yoga class together two mornings before. I sat for a minute, watching the sun rise over the low river, enjoying the silence of the early morning, before everyone was awake and about, and just before starting my Sun Salutations, I took a look at the clock. 7:13, it read. Exactly the time I was born 27 years prior.

27 sounds like an adult age, right? And my life is starting to feel super adult as well, between all the weddings and whatnot. People I know are even starting to have babies, or have babies that are starting to look like humans instead of squishy adorably screaming things, and the fact that this all feels normal is the oddest feeling in the world.  I can’t reconcile reality with being 27 quite yet, I never gave much thought to life after 26, I don’t think, so now I’m in this weird age where it feels like I’m not at all where I thought I’d be and that’s kind of amazing. It’s also scary, though – which is probably why I’ve been telling everyone that I’m not celebrating my 27th birthday. I’m celebrating the second anniversary of my 25th birthday.

At first it seems a ridiculous notion on a number of levels, avoiding my birthday and therefore reality, but then again, turning 25 was when everything started changing for me. 25 is when I started getting tattoos again and when I dyed my hair red. It’s when I tried yoga for the first time and it’s when I started this blog. The years since 25 have been heartbreak and bad dates, broken promises and lots of starting over. I wouldn’t go back to 25 again, and hell, I wouldn’t even go back to 26 again. I’ve loved growing up in the past two years, and I wouldn’t change any of the lessons learned for anything. So if I’m going to be in denial that I have, in fact, crossed that late-twenties line, why not celebrate what it’s taken to get there in the past few years?

After a long weekend of traveling and drinking, I was grateful to have yesterday off from work, a day to decompress on my couch, snuggling with little miss and ignoring the suitcase that needed to be unpacked, the carpet that needed to be vacuumed. It was like a birthday present to myself, disconnecting from everything for the afternoon and just finding stillness in this adult life of mine. “27,” I said aloud to no one in particular at one point, letting the number roll off of my tongue and roll around in my brain. It’s starting to feel a little more real, this whole adulthood-thing, and that’s quite a scary thought. It helps in the meantime to pretend that I’m not celebrating another year, but an anniversary of when things started moving forward to the life I’m living now. Because this life might still be a little crazy, but to me it’s perfect. And it’s only taken 27 years to get here.

Hurry Up and Wait

“I’M PACKING!! Well sort of, I have a pile of things that may or may not fit in my suitcase on my floor. What should I bring?? Like non-negotiables.”
“Clothes.”

As a twin, my first 17 birthdays were not about me. I mean they weren’t about T either – when you’re a twin, your birthdays are about “the twins.” You share parties, even if you don’t share friends. You share a cake, even if one of you is desperate for all chocolate while the other swears she’ll cry if it isn’t yellow cake. And you basically share presents, because when you’re a twin, people assume you’re the same person, which for T and I meant 17 birthdays of people buying us the exact same thing (*occasionally in different colors). I don’t mean to be ungrateful that we were so lucky growing up to have people buy us gifts at all, or bake us whatever cake we could agree on, but let’s just say when T and I separated for college three weeks before our 18th birthday, the only thing I could think about was that for first time in my life, what had always been our birthday would suddenly become mine.

Birthdays are such a funny thing. When you’re little, the only thing on your mind is how much you can’t wait to be older. I remember feeling despondent around my birthday for years, like it was so exciting to grow a year older but I still couldn’t do any of the cool things, like drive or… well okay mostly drive. Once I had my license it was a desperate race to turn 21 so I could buy my own alcohol instead of asking someone else to do it for me not drinking at all because that would have been illegal (right Mama B?). Then it was a desperate race to be in my mid-twenties, wanting the credibility that comes from being over 25, instead of the constant eye rolls when I’d say I was 22, 23, 24, “you’re still a baby, you have all the time in the world.” And yet, the second you’re past 25, it’s a desperate want for more time in every year, the horrid slope till you’re 30, 40, 50, beyond.

For so many years all we want is for time to move faster. School days are eternity, waiting for the weekend is miserable until you’re heading home on a Friday, the thought of four whole years of high school, college; I don’t even know what we’re racing towards in those years spent wanting time to move faster but all I know is I spent so many years wanting exactly that. And now, as I’m staring down the barrel of 27, all I want is for time to slow down. I want it to stop feeling like every time I blink it’s another month, another season, another year. I want more time with the Nickname Posse on rooftops and more walks in Central Park that last for hours. I want to savor every moment in this city, the way the sky looks over the George Washington Bridge just before the sun sets, how it smells like hot asphalt after a summer rainstorm, the quiet buzz of the Heights in the early mornings before the kids are up for school. I spent so many years wanting time to go faster and now that my wish is coming true, I’m practically on my knees begging for it to slow down.

A few weeks back I was looking at this upcoming weekend, my birthday weekend, and started feeling super depressed. I wanted to try and plan something but everyone is out of town at weddings or honeymoons, or not drinking in September. Frankly, I didn’t even have the time to attempt and plan myself a party, which in itself sounds depressing, and I had this moment on the subway as all of that hit me where I had to suppress a few tears, because the feeling that I’m actually, really alone here hit me like a dodgeball to the gut. I started breathing deeply to hold back the tears till I was off the train like a good New Yorker, when all of a sudden I remembered I’m not alone. I’ve never been alone – there are two of me. Or maybe there are two Ts. Either way, just before I started to cry about my birthday, I realized the best solution was to stop celebrating my birthday, and start celebrating ours.

Instead of bursting into tears when I walked off the train, I immediately called my sister and within 48 hours I had a ticket up to Boston for the long weekend. Oddly enough, switching back from calling it my birthday to our birthday brought me back to childhood. I couldn’t wait for time to move faster. All I wanted was for it to be my 27th birthday so I could celebrate with my twinster for the first time in 10 years. And once I had that mindset, it started applying to everything: I can’t wait to be 27. I can’t wait for my anchor G and my soul sister E to get here at the end of the month for our annual girls trip. I can’t wait for M’s bridal shower and bachelorette and wedding, I can’t wait to get my next tattoo, I can’t wait for Christmas and New Year’s and most importantly of all, I can’t wait for T’s wedding in the middle of all of that. Who’s to say if time will start dragging the way it did in grade school when six weeks, six days, even six hours seemed like an eternity, or if it’ll keep racing through my 20s like I’d wanted it to for years. It’s fine with me either way, really. Because all I’m focused on right now is this weekend. As for everything else? At least with all these years behind me, I know one thing for sure: everything else will come with time.

Quick Thoughts: A Beyonce Christmas (ish)

About a month ago, I got an email from my brother’s girlfriend D that was simply titled “Beyonce Birthday Celebration.” Now, if there are any perfect words when put together in the English language (besides “free wine”), it’s those particular ones. The email was an invitation to her pre-birthday celebration, a private class for 15 of us at a Chelsea studio that promised us drinks and dancing to celebrate her big day. D’s actual birthday is on Christmas day, and my family has been lucky enough to have her with us for the past few holidays, so I knew I’d get to celebrate her birthday regardless, but her including me in the pre-birthday celebration was a surprise, and a very welcome one. The party last night was amazing: champagne breaks every 30 minutes or so, toasts to the birthday girl each time, and a kick-ass workout with some amazingly hilarious people, complete with dance moves that I will for SURE be using the next time I’m out. After all, what’s the point of practicing body rolls for 20 minutes if you can’t show it off?

Since D’s come into our lives, she’s integrated seamlessly into my family. This Thanksgiving was the first time in four years she hasn’t been with us, and we felt her absence, her bubbly smile and perpetual cheer. My family is incredibly close, quick to trust and love, but we can be a lot to handle, so I always think how fortunate we are that it’s expanded with people that can handle our crazy, between D and my Twinster’s fiance. Last year around the holidays, I was newly single and very confused, trying to reconcile that instead of it being the first Christmas we spent together, it was the first of an unknown amount of Christmases I would be spending alone. For a long time, I thought this season would be even harder to handle, still single, the only one left. And yet, despite all the insanity of the past year, despite the ups and downs, the highs and lowest of lows, I’m going into this holiday season so much happier than I ever thought I’d be. I’ve moved away from thinking of myself as “The Lone Remaining Single Sibling,” and instead started appreciating that I get to spend holidays with two brothers and two sisters now, knowing there will be a day that I’ll have someone there with me too.

I don’t really know how well our pop ‘n lock skills will translate from “Lose My Breath” to “Jingle Bells” next week, but I have a feeling D and I will be putting on a show this holiday. Maybe in our matching Christmas pajamas, maybe just in sweatpants. And I’m sure at some point we’ll be teaching T the sweet moves, sipping on the ever-present Christmas cocktails, while my brother and brother-in-law-almost will most certainly be laughing and egging us along. Maybe it’s the confidence Queen Bey preaches in everything that’s somehow infiltrated my being, but last night felt like a perfect kick-off to Christmas week and for D’s birthday week, where I don’t feel like I’m alone, or that I’m the lone single girl. Instead, I’m a girl with an amazing extended family and some sweet-ass dance moves, someone with something worth sharing should the right person ever come along.

Friendly Conversations: Trois

On rules of a first date:
[Watching Don’t Be Tardy at my lovely friend M’s place]
TV: “There’s a list of the Don’t Dos on a first date: we don’t say fuck, we don’t bite people and we don’t do shots!”
Me: I sincerely hope you don’t have to say that to me someday.
M: Me too.

On loopholes
Mama B: So is that the fourth tattoo I see?
Me: Yup!
Mama: UGH. But that’s the last one, right? YOU PROMISED YOU’D ONLY GET ONE MORE.
Me: Right, but I already had this one when I made that promise.

On booze rules
Mama B: You’re absolutely covering the tattoos for your sister’s wedding.
Me: That’s incorrect.
Mama B: YOU PROMISED ME.
Me: I never made any promise like that!
Mama B: You may have been drunk when you said it, but I remember, so it counts.

On compliments
Coworker: Ooo, which one of you smells good?
Me: Oh, definitely not me.

On life updates
E: So give me an update on your life!
Me: Which part?
E: Uhh let’s start with how the boy is!
Me: …. which boy?

On birthday rights
Friend: You’re not wearing a bra, are you
Me: It’s my birthday.
Friend: Touché.

On snacks
Coworker: Is that a raw sweet potato on your desk?
Me: Yes.
Coworker: … Is that like a decoration or something?

On personal style:
M: Ugh. I feel like I look like a dirty hippie right now.
Me: Well since that’s kind of my aesthetic, I think you look great.

On sick days (and how I should have been a teacher)

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The Definitive List of my 20s so far.

Over the years, while basking in a post-birthday glow, I’ve always liked to reminisce about where I was the year before and how much has changed. Usually there are little things, like “I can finally afford Uber on nights out!” and “most of my clothes don’t come from Forever21 anymore!” However, now that I’m officially in my mid-to-late (gulp) 20s, I’ve been reminiscing about my formative years as a 20-whatever, from college to city. Each year has special milestones and memories, so I thought I’d put together a list ranking these years so far. So, my wonderful readers, enjoy my little stroll down memory lane.

A 20-Whatever’s Guide to My Early 20s

6. 20

Ugh. 20 sucked. To be fair, for the first few months I was still in living in Argentina and it was glorious. But once I was back in the States, I was: still in college, no job prospects, couldn’t drink with my friends, broke up with my college boyfriend, worked a terrible summer job for a few months, fought with my parents constantly…. the list goes on. Bai 20 see u never.

5. 22

22 was such a weird year. The day after my 22nd birthday is the day I moved to New York City, so I will forever love that year for nostalgic purposes, but when you drop a recent college graduate into this city, a lot of weird things happen. I was new to the workforce and trying to learn a job, while new to the city and trying to learn my way around. I still hadn’t figured out how to drink in public responsibly so at some point in this year I puked in a cab after a pregame and then ran out of the cab without paying before the driver noticed. I was consistently broke and lived in an apartment with a stripper, who would get home from work at 5 a.m. and proceed to sing loudly in the bathroom while she got ready for bed – the bathroom that was only accessible through my bedroom. I’ll give T. Swift the benefit in that I had some sweet dance moves at 22, but I could leave the rest of the learning experiences behind in my early 20s, thankyouverymuch.

4. 24

Oh, 24. The year you’re old enough to look disdainfully on the youths running rampant in the Upper East Side but not too old to black out during unlimited sake/sushi in Koreatown, screeching a heartbreaking (if I say so myself) rendition of My Heart Will Go On with your best friend, while his boyfriend looks at you like you’re insane. 24 was great for a while, but things started to fall apart somewhere in this year, so it just wasn’t my favorite. Sorry 24. You tried.

3. 21

How do you not love 21. My 21st birthday is only edged out by my 25th for most fun: it was a Monday about 2 weeks into senior year of college. My soul sister E planned a party at our on-campus townhouse apartment, complete with handmade banners and Skippy, the delectable college brew of cheap beer, cheaper vodka, and Country Time Lemonade mix. We invited people haphazardly, thinking a Monday crowd would be a small one, people trickling in on occasion; we ended up with probably 40-50 people cycling in and out of the apartment throughout the night. There was a fistfight over leftover pizza and I woke up in my party dress on the couch, a half-eaten cookie next to my face. 21 is when I started dating the one-time love of my life, it’s when I graduated college and when I made the decision to come to New York. 21 rocked.

2. 23

This was a tough call as the runner-up, but 23 was a fantastic year, kicked off with what is still the craziest birthday party I’ve ever had: on my brother’s rooftop on a perfect late summer night, loud music and everyone I loved. That was a full year of happiness in the delicious, wonderful, perfect, still-new-but-maybe-serious stage of a relationship, half learning and growing, half enraptured in each other like we might make it to forever. That was a year where I partied in the Hamptons on my boss’s lawn, the year I fell in love with Washington Heights after countless trips to visit my lovely friend M, and had the craziest Oscars party to date; the year where I was just old enough to enjoy the city while learning limits, the year I discovered my favorite little tapas bar in Manhattan, and just a year of happy moments. I don’t remember all of them anymore, marred with time and a changed life, but I look back on that year with all fondness.

1. 25

Let’s be real for a minute: the past year for me has been an absolute disaster. In no particular order, I: dealt with a broken shower for 2 weeks; changed jobs; resigned a lease on an apartment I wasn’t supposed to stay in; spent six months trying to convince my landlords to fix my door (STILL BROKEN); fought more than once with more than one friend; budgeted and rebudgeted and still subsided on coffee and peanut butter for three full days before pay day on more than one occasion; broke my own heart when I ended what I thought was The Relationship; met the person I thought would change my life on the A train and had my heart broken all over again. It’s a lot for anyone to live through in such a relatively short period of time, and I’ve never felt more confused and alone trying to pull through it all. This year has beat me bloody and picked me up for another round. I’ve handled blow, after blow, after blow, just waiting for a reprieve, hoping maybe this is the day things will turn around.

But it’s also the year I learned more about myself than ever. I found out I can run a Spartan Race and subsequently brag about it for months, paint an entire living room in under 48 hours and plan a trip to Texas in under two weeks that was quite literally the time of my life. It’s when I discovered yoga, my favorite part of my day, and added to my tattoo collection, my favorite parts of my body. This is the year I watched someone I used to play Barbies with walk down the aisle and say yes to the love of her life; this is the year I watched my sister say yes to a lifetime with the person she was always supposed to meet. I had countless Sunday Fundays with the Nickname Posse, from fall football to cozy winter brunches to spring picnics in Fort Tryon and summer wine on my fashionista C’s roof. This is the year I let myself open up to love, the year I learned where my walls are and what someone will need to do to break them down. And most importantly, it’s the year I finally learned that I really, really can’t go out two nights in a row anymore unless I want to sacrifice two full days to third circle of hangover hell.

Looking at the list, it seems I don’t have great luck with even years, but all things considered, I didn’t have luck at all times with the odd ones either. So here’s to 26, all of the memories to be made, and all the fabulous PLDs to chronicle along the way.

~*CUMPLEANOS*~

It’s my birthday!! CHEERS TO ME, LEO.

leo

I’ll be spending this special, special day sleeping off an epic post-Japas reminder why I swore off of going there two years ago, after a night out with the Nickname Posse. Stay tuned for a little round-up of my 20s posting soon, and later this week I’ll share the next PLD Montage: Birthday Edition.

Sending thanks to everyone who came out last night and/or sent texts today, and a polite head nod/acknowledgment to those who maintain our relationship by annual Facebook posts. 26 is shaping up to be an interesting year.