The Countdown

When I was a kid, I used to have what might be called annual birthday freakouts. If you were being nice. I think that somehow my streak of sentimentality combined with my love of order and numbers and things being just so and my incredible talent for thinking entirely too much created this monster. This little girl monster who would get a little thrill each month on the 21st and count months on her fingers, and who would turn the weeks leading up to her birthday into a veritable countdown of extremely significant events.

“This is the last time I’ll ever ride my bike to town while I’m 11!”
“I won’t ever eat ice cream as a non-teenager again!”

While I have largely grown out of this annual birthday freaking out, milestone birthdays give me a little shiver all the same. I avoided it entirely on my 25th birthday, because two of my great friends got married the day after, so my birthday was spent running errands and eating meals and celebrating at a rehearsal dinner at which they actually sang to me which was so crazy sweet. I don’t really remember 20, but 21 was a big one, a big one that contained the distractions of everyone other than me being drunk and thus needing care.

But my birthday is coming around again, in a little more than a month and a half, and it has me thinking about the remaining items on my 28 To Do List. (Still achievable: baking cupcakes, spending time outside (and lying in the grass), working toward a rainbow of shoes, and finishing the list of 365 things that make me happy.) So I’m feeling pretty awesome about that, and starting to gather materials to work on the book to document the list.

I’m not sure, though, what to do about a list of things to do while I’m 29. Will that bring on a “holy crap I’m turning 30 and what have I done with my life” birthday freakout? Will it give me 29 reasons to FIGHT the birthday freakout that is so damn cliched that it annoys me to even think about it? Am I totally jumping the gun seeing as how I’m not even 29 yet? Does the fact that my boyfriend’s birthday is a few days before mine, and he’s enough years older than me to be hitting his own milestone age mean that my birthday freakouts are even more totally ridiculous?

I don’t know. But I have a few ideas for next year’s list brewing, so maybe I’ll keep at it. Not having a list after two years of having one might give me hives anyway.

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