I wish that I was writing this from my treehouse room in Bali’s Ubud rainforest, but unfortunately Birthdays don’t always go to plan…
Do you know what’s worse than sitting on a plane for five and a half hours the night before your birthday?
Not sitting on any plane because your flights have been cancelled and your birthday is ruined. (Sorry, I am being slightly overdramatic, but I had high expectations for my 21st Birthday and cancelled flights were not in the itinerary…)
I find Birthdays bittersweet: the awkward intake of birthday Facebook posts, the crisis of realising you are older and the expectations that are always set a bit too high. That’s why I usually skip the at-home Birthday altogether and spend some quality time with myself (and make a few new friends to drink with).
One year ago I was living in Iceland, climbing in volcanos and genuinely having the time of my life. My 20th Birthday was bound to be a hard act to follow, but I thought the detoxing effects of Ubud would refresh my mind, body and spirit for a smooth transition into full-blown-adulthood. Maybe the severe disappointment of the day was the world forcing me to grow up. Birthdays aren’t meant to be romantic and sometimes neither is life…
Being twenty was wonderful. But it was also hard.
Not long after my twentieth Birthday I ran into a boy in my life who meant a lot to me. It seemed too insane to be possible so I blamed fate and made the decision to come home. Yep, I came home for a boy and as I have told him many times, it was one of the best decisions I ever made (even if we didn’t have a fairytale ending). Coming home gave me the opportunity to not only spend time with him and my family, but it also gave me the opportunity to pursue something I had never had the chance to do – fly planes.
I was twenty years old and knew what I wanted to do, and I turned twenty one and simply continued doing it. Who knew life could be so simple? My first solo flight came a week after my twenty-first Birthday and I have never felt so accomplished in my life.
But twenty wasn’t all flying planes and having fun. I lost my Dad and had to deal with some real grown-up problems. It is safe to say I grew up a little bit (even if I didn’t intend to).
The American in me apparently isn’t quite ready to accept adulthood yet though, and in the fashion of a true twenty-one-year-old yankee, I dedicated a day to drinking any kind of alcohol that was offered. It wasn’t Eating/Praying or Loving in Ubud but somewhere between the Moet and Espresso Martinis I realised that sometimes celebrations need to be shared with family and friends. Family and friends that spoil me rotten and I am extremely lucky to have.
Beat that twenty two.