September 19, 2009

Birthday Girl

It is easy to believe that life is long and one's gifts are vast -- easy at the beginning, that is. But the limits of life grow more evident; it becomes clear that great work can be done rarely, if at all. -Alfred Adler

I woke up this morning and remembered what had happened yesterday. It was my birthday, and I've turned 25. I was reminded several times that this is a quarter of a century. I was completely unaware that someone my age could have a biological clock. Yesterday, I think it hit me in the face.

There were plenty of amazing things that have happened in the past few days that should cancel out any worries or negative feelings; Sky and I were awake at 2am on my birthday, and were able to tell each other happy six months from the night in Flora that we started dating. I've gone to a few shows and was able to see some of my favorite bands and be near the dark stages they sang from. I have seen many people I care about most, including watching my niece wave around a red balloon in excitement. This year brought me the best birthday presents I've ever gotten- a redesigned blog (if you haven't already noticed!) at Sky's request, made by his brother Nikomas- which meant more to me than any other present, because I've never had a gift before that made me feel like someone believed in me that way-as well as a huge book of photographs of Bob Dylan, one of my most favorite singers/poets. I got some lovely perfume that smells like a rose, some old movies I had wanted, and somehow, the coolest camera I never thought I could own- a Nikon similar to Sky's,one that is weighty and meaty, that takes pictures with deeply satisfying shutter sounds and could make someone as unskilled as myself feel like a professional photographer.

It was somewhere between two moments. One was my father asking me if I felt older. This is asked by my family every year- I had asked the same of my brother a month before. As a kid, this is funny. Of course people don't feel older already...or they shouldn't. But I thought about it for a second before saying, "Yes." I wondered why this was, nonetheless feeling it to be true. 25 is on the brink of older ages that can't be masked as younger, as 'barely in her 20s'. I laughed a little at myself but couldn't shake it. The next moment came as my little niece struggled to attempt a few steps towards me. She would grasp on to one of my fingers, but fall into my hands as I would slip out of her grip. After playing this game for a while, seeing her huge grin with the couple teeth she has showing, I got off the floor and sat next to Sky. He leaned towards me and questioned, "You want one?" although he knew the answer already. And when those two moments combined, a biological clock was born.

A friend and I email each other back and forth most days. We talk about a lot of things, but something we've both confessed is the hope for marriage and a baby by the time we turn 30. We are both 25 now. This time frame is a strange one for me- I had never felt like these things would be such a great need for my future. I was not hurried. I did not mind. Somehow, my heart has swayed this way, sometimes with such force that it frightens me. Suddenly, there are thoughts of 30 as if it's a finish line. Will we get there? Why does 30 mean we have to get there? If we have babies at 31, will the world come to an end? I can think these things through rationally. My heart and my head do not line up, however.

Anais Nin said the following: "We do not grow absolutely, chronologically. We grow sometimes in one dimension, and not in another; unevenly. We grow partially. We are relative. We are mature in one realm, childish in another. The past, present, and future mingle and pull us backward, forward, or fix us in the present. We are made up of layers, cells, constellations." Sitting here on this sleepy Saturday morning, I consider the pretty quote from the sex-crazed writer and wonder if it's true, what it means. It's a beautiful thought.

Then I have a thought; 25 does not feel like a constellation.

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