Wednesday, November 24, 2010
One and Twenty
Then: Cat, Music, and Care Bear required.
There's just something about saying one and twenty instead of twenty-one that makes me smile in that little way. Don't ask because I really can't explain it.
I know that last year I did this whole big post where I talked about my year in review, and then kind of looked ahead to what it was going to be like to be twenty. I wrote that in my corner single in Jackson, back in New York, shortly after getting a tattoo and accepted in the study abroad program for Wales. One whole year later, I'm sitting in my single with an en suite bathroom in Carmarthen, Wales, and I'm staring my birthday in the face. And I thought about doing another year in review type of thing where I made it a little easier to keep track of events by going month by month, maybe adding some pictures, and I was sitting there planning and creating and I more or less decided that I didn't want to do that.
It would be a lie to say it hadn't been an interesting year. I was a little out of my depth at times (Two Cities, anyone? The chemist trying to be an economist and sociologist?) and I nearly spazzed out completely on an occasion or two, but I bucked it up, got some assistance, and finished out the year strong. My adviser was a wonderful help - the one line he said to me, when I was freaking out about organic II, This is not beyond you, I wrote into my novel - and my family, as always, was with me, too.
They're still with me, even though they're three thousand miles across an ocean and I call them twice a week.
Twenty-one is that magic number in the States, the one that says you can legally consume alcohol. Europe in general? Well, people have been drinking for about two years already, by that time, so it's not that big of a deal, and it's not that big of a deal to me, either. I'm a big fan of hand-pulled cask ales, but, I'm not really interested in getting so inebriated that you can't remember what you did the night before, let alone who you did it with.
On another note, my drivers license expires tomorrow. Mostly so NYS DMV can give me a new one that doesn't say Under 21 in red down the side of my picture. That picture? I was sixteen when they took that.
Which seems like a long time ago now, truthfully.
If you ask me what I want for my birthday, I'm going to tell you that I don't want much, if anything at all. I'm currently living in a foreign country for another month; my mother has come visit me in said foreign country; I've had another year of good health and good fortune (I do count when I fell down the stairs at work and didn't break anything incredibly good fortune); I've made great friends while I've been over here, and I've made memories to last me the rest of my life.
I've been handed an amazing opportunity so far, one that I'm pretty sure I've done a good job of making the most of. And maybe that's all I can do, at this point, is take each year that I'm given and continue to make the most of it. We only get one ride on life, and it's what you do to make your ticket count that matters. You don't have to live loud to live big, but the important part is that you remember to live.
So, I propose a toast. Not just to me for tomorrow when I turn another year older (and possibly wiser, too) but to all of us, who take it one day at a time and leave no open space unwandered. Here's to another year of good health, good fortune, and plenty of opportunities to come your way. Cheers.
Also, it's perfectly acceptable to substitute Oreo Truffles and/or Sticky Toffee Pudding for birthday cake when applicable. They're both very delicious.
Oh, and one more thing before I forget completely (as this happens some years), to all of you who celebrate Thanksgiving tomorrow, have a very happy Thanksgiving in whatever way you celebrate.
Now: Backpack and Adventure Required