ie. I didn’t celebrate.
At least, I didn’t celebrate my birthday on my actual birthday, and I certainly didn’t celebrate the way a typical 22 year old typically does (birthday shots in strappy stilettos at some hip bar with a group of friends???!!???? i don’t know, honestly).
Don’t get me wrong, I had cake and dinner with my family, and got a slew of presents (I’m lucky!) earlier in the week. But on my actual birthday, I went to Moosejaw, spent my evening trying out sleeping bags on the floor of the store (sleeping pad and all), walked to Chipotle and ate a chicken burrito bowl by myself, then went to a friend’s house and drink an Oberon before tucking in for the night (and I only did the last part so that I could feeeeel just a little bit average on my birthday).
You know what the best part of my birthday was? Joking around with the associates at Moosejaw, watching video clips on their register monitor, asking silly questions about sleeping bags, and ultimately laying down in a mummy bag while shoppers roamed the store.
I may not have a big group of close friends to celebrate with, but I have something I hold just as dear: These beautiful moments spent with strangers. I’m able to cherish the way the associate said “Bye forever” as he handed me my receipt. I love that small interactions with people I barely know can put a smile on my face as I walk down the street, and stick with me while I eat my burrito alone at a messy table. It’s a little bit like having friends everywhere I go. It’s a little bit pathetic… But it also allows me to appreciate the moments/interactions/opportunities that so many people overlook.
This post isn’t really about my birthday, or what I did or didn’t do for it. It’s about loneliness. It’s about appreciating the little things. It’s about being happy as all get out for the beautiful things you have, and you have so many.
I have a family who makes cake for a 22 year old. I have friends in every coffee bar and mountaineering store across the nation, and so do you, if you want to.