I turned 28 on Wednesday.
My coworkers and I went to lunch at Red Robin. The waitstaff brought me a melted ice cream sundae, gathered around our booth and lethargically sang a birthday song. They gave me two helium balloons to tie to my wrist. I clapped along to their song, mostly because it would have been more awkward to sit silently as one would during a serious performance.
I’ve seen others blush and look away when the waitstaff at chain restaurants sing birthday songs to them. It didn’t bother me, really, because in my everyday life no one sings to me. If you would like to gather around my table and sing to me, be my guest because it’s only going to happen to me once a year at best. I will clap along! Though I am not a little blonde boy, as this picture may suggest, I was smiling like he is (green smudge on cheek included).
Thoughts on being 28:
#1. I can remember what I was thinking 10 years ago
Until now, I could always use the excuse that 10 years ago I was a kid and therefore didn’t have to take accountability for what I was doing/saying/thinking. But I clearly remember turning 18 years old and embracing the full responsibility of Kari. I liked it. I liked realizing that I was legally an “adult” and that I could pretty much do whatever I wanted. You know those conversations:
Betty: Did you hear that (insert name of person who just turned 18) got a tatoo and moved into the slums?
Marilyn: Well, she is 18 now.
I can’t say that I tested many boundaries when I turned 18, but I knew that I had the freedom to and that’s what was so appealing. My decisions were mine, my money was mine, and the consequences of everything that I did belonged to me. My car insurance, on the other hand, was still under my parents name. Let’s not rush into anything too adult.
#2. I am officially in my late 20s
Should I be having the best years of my life?
I suspect this is the time period that some middle aged people look back on as their wild times. Rampant socializing, rampant late nights, rampant poor decision making, rampant not-knowing-where-I-woke-up mornings. The paychecks are coming in for the upwardly mobile but no children to sap the money, rent not mortgage payments, you can still watch MTV and not be creepy. It’s ‘young adult’ world.
Where IS this world? I believe it exists like I believe heart disease exists. I’ve heard of people who have experienced it, I’ve seen evidence and heard stories, yet it only touches my life tangentially. It’s not that I choose to stay away from ‘young adult’ world, it feels more as if it were never an option for me. When my father died in 1998 (I was 18), I let go of my care-free thought life like a child lets go of a helium balloon. Gone.
#3. I have two years to get used to being 30
I’m primed. Reference thought #2.