I have a birthday in 25 days. It’s “that” birthday and I’m having a hard time coming to terms with it all. Of course, everyone is like, “You’ll get over it.” Or “It’s not a big deal,” or whatever but it IS a big deal and I’m trying not to have a panic attack over something that is going to happen regardless of all my kicking and screaming.
Or at the very least getting in my car and escaping my reality.
I’m currently training for a half-marathon (on my birthday weekend no less) and running lots of miles gives me time to think. Usually I use this thinking time trying to plot world domination or zombie escape plans but lately I keep obsessing over this birthday. Why am I having such a big problem with it? I’m still younger than most people I know. Even when I turn 40, they’ll be turning 43 and that makes me the winner and still the youngest, right? Then, in the middle of some dehydrated coma on mile five, I figured it out. I know why and it’s just as obnoxiously self-absorbed as any other reason.
I’m the youngest in my family. By many years. My brother is 11 years older than me and my sister 9. This put me in the odd spot of being The Baby as well as, in many situations, The Only. Let’s be honest. We all know The Baby and The Only are self-absorbed messes. They rarely get along well with others, they whine, manipulate and generally annoy the pants off everyone else. And that’s when they are just one or the other. I have the beauty of being BOTH at the same time which is sort of an emotional disaster.
For many years I’ve worked being The Baby into part of my overall charm. Since I’m the youngest by so many years everyone else got married and started families when I was barely out of high school (if that). This allowed me an extra grace-period on being a flake. As the struggling college student or just graduated family member, it gave me an excuse for forgetting things like birthday’s or anniversaries. Against conventional norms, this situation extended past my own marriage and children. I’m pretty sure no one in my family thinks I can cook, even though I do this nightly for my own children. Typically, for family dinners, like Thanksgiving, I’m given the task of something like, bread or canned something or other. To be fair I have an aversion to recipes but once a year I can be a team player.
Of course I don’t really push this because what if they DO make me make something and I ruin it. Then I’ll get the side-eye for being a flake and not using the recipe (which I wouldn’t) and it will go down as the year the casserole was horrible.
So I’ll just bring bread.
When they come to my house and all my furniture is second hand (from my family BTW) and have to wade through buckets of bottle caps and assorted discarded material’s in the carport it’s just a reflection on my not having grown up yet, even though I should be decidedly grown up at this point. Honestly, no one really comes to our house that much. I think it’s because we don’t have a dining room table. Well, I do have a dining room table that my mother gave me but it’s in the basement. Adjusting the current living room to a dining room is a level of adulthood commitment I’m just not ready to take.
No one blinked when we opted out of the family beach vacation to go to ComicCon or work our schedules to hang out at the pool the most days over the summer. Well they may blink but I think it’s followed by a sigh. It's generally understood we can't go hang out at the lake over Labor Day because we're working on our costumes for DragonCon and no one is returning your calls because we are actively involved in a project using tape, staplers and shoe boxes.
When I turned 39 I knew my days were numbered. At some point you go from being The Baby to just being A Jerk. You’re no longer a flake because you’re young and wild spirited. You’re just a flake because you can’t figure your crap out. The way I see it I have 25 days left to act like an irresponsible young adult before I cross over into that place of Adulthood. Where people expect me to host Thanksgiving dinner on my dining room table using plates that match. Where my charming, yet eclectic collection of hand towels in the bathroom should be the same color. Where I make my bed. Fold my clothes and use something called “A Hanger.” That age where I have to start buying clothes somewhere other than Target (which do not require hangers).
Or god forbid, a recipe.
I’m having a panic attack just thinking about it.
I have 25 days to work this out. I haven't decided what will happen other than the fact in 24 days I'll be running a half marathon. Those are basically my only plans for the month. I do hope to chronicle my final 25 days of being The Baby on my personal blog as I attempt to Succumb to My Awesomeness. You can find it at www.angellawson.com.