“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.”
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.