But you’re a grown-up, so buy your own damned cake.
My birthday is this week, and I was asked last night – a benign question, really – “What do you want for your birthday? What can’t you buy for yourself, that you’d like to buy for yourself? I know you don’t really have any money.” It was asked because I’m loved, because gift-buying is hard, and because anyone who knows me well knows that to me, birthdays matter.
Bit what do I want that I can’t buy myself? What, on the twenty-seventh anniversary of my birth do I want, but cannot afford?
That list is, almost by definition, endless. But to name a few, I want:
- Peace of mind, whatever the hell that is; I assume it involves sleeping at reasonable times, every night and eating actual meals, among other things?
- A doctor willing to investigate any and all of my neuroses until we figure out, definitively, what is wrong with me
- A room of my own (into which my mother cannot burst at an unannounced moment and yell at me to clean up this or that).
- An-honest-to-goodness Job (with a capital J) with benefits, clear hours, and a liveable wage
- An awesome best friend to whom I can rant, and joke, and share wacky observations about the world, who will entertain my ridiculous thought-experiments, and stretch them to lengths I couldn’t imagine on my own
- My cat to stop eating every wire I own
- The time and money to drive around and explore every state in the country (yes, even Alaska and Hawaii)
- To live on a beach somewhere warm, but not too warm, and also be permanently safe from hurricane, tsunami, or any untimely death, and to also have fantastic wifi, and even better coffee
- To either weigh 15-20 pounds less or suddenly love my body unconditionally
- To consistently sleep when I’m supposed to, and be awake when I’m supposed to
- To never be left out of anything fun or exciting, and to live giant moments inside the smallest ones
- To eat an entire white chocolate cheesecake from that place that fired me without having to give them my money
- I want to find a cocktail I can reliably drink without my stomach turning before I’m even buzzed
Mostly though, I want to actually feel like 27 is how old I’m supposed to be. To not feel like I’m living the same way I was when I was 17, except poorer and with less reason to leave the house. I want a moist yellow cake with dark chocolate buttercream frosting, topped with an offensive 27 candles followed by some thoughtful gifts from people I love who just want me to know they’re happy I exist on the anniversary of when I started existing, and all of this preceded by the most delicious Mexican dinner I’ve ever tasted. The evening will culminate with my firing up a time machine, and being able to relive these past ten years, but this time, avoiding the trajectory-changing missteps that, as of right now, had no silver lining.
Is that too much to ask?
Oh, something you can buy at the store? Yeah, I have no idea. You’re on your own.