Several cards and a package have trickled into my mailbox since Monday, while the flu hit me with full steam over the weekend. Add that to the fact that it falls on an anticlimactic, middle-of-road and middle-of-the-week Wednesday — so call me crazy if my birthday isn’t feeling like it’s going to be the most exciting of celebrations this year.

Cowgirls and three-legged races: the best of birthdays.

I brought in my 21st year in a way I’d like to think only I could in my anomalous little fashion: dinner and a bottle of wine at Django with my pledge mother and best friend, then “after dinner” drinks at Peggy’s, one of about five places I could celebrate with the majority of my still-underage friends. While I proudly do remember that night, even in its hazy glory, it isn’t my favorite birthday in the history of birthdays (because God, that was one bitch of a hangover). Take me back to printed invitations, themes and party favors, please. The overalls, however, can stay in the ’90s.

Twenty-one: I dated for the first time since Scottie, starting that very night on a stool at the bar. I traveled and worked and lived and loved. I made new friends. I ate and drank (mostly) in moderation. I grew and became a grown-up in what I think are all the right respects for someone my age.
I felt the hurt of dating. I got homesick and tired of work. I lost friends, both to death and to the goings-on of life. I moved — a lot. I adjusted — a lot. I did and said childish things sometimes because hey, I’m only 21 and I think that’s allowed. But on the day before I turn 22, I can flip through my calendar pages and say to myself, Yeah, that was a good year.

Twenty-two: Seemingly not that exciting. A year after becoming legal? Three years from being able to rent a car on my insurance? Closer to being allowed to legitimately have a quarter-life crisis?
…But also.
The year I graduate. The year I get a job. The year I find a city I get to call home for the long(ish) haul. Maybe the year I find somebody neat. Maybe for the long(ish) haul. You may not sound very exciting, 22, but I’m waiting expectantly. Let’s see what we can do. And yes, I plan to have my cake and eat it too.

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