Well, friends. I'm going to Hawaii.
It's also time to talk about my birthday.
Don't worry, those two thoughts are sort of connected--I'm just struggling to start this post adequately.
On Sunday, I turned 26. What an odd age to be. I mean, it's not really. Not any odder than any other age, I suppose. But it still feels...odd.
Let me explain. Last year when I turned 25, I went through a crisis. For the first time, I really felt old. It's not like I thought I was elderly, or a senior citizen or anything, it was just the first age I really felt like an adult. I know 18 was supposed to do that, but I was halfway through my senior year of high school. I lived with my parents who still controlled my life. 18 wasn't very monumental. When I turned 21, I was halfway through my junior year of college. My birthday was on a Thursday. I didn't even drink. I was living in an on-campus apartment and very much still under the authority of the university. It wasn't as freeing as I would have hoped.
But 25 hit me hard. When you tell strangers you're 25, it's generally expected that you have your life together. You should be done with college, settled into some sort of stable job, and (at least in my Midwest culture) married or moving in that direction. I had all of those things. In fact, we owned two vehicles debt-free, plus we owned our own home. But 25 felt like it was time to really settle down. It was time to be responsible, stop running to Dairy Queen twice a day during the Buy 1 Get 1 for 99 cents Blizzard Special, start meal planning and shopping responsibly, start actually purchasing our own household necessities instead of running to my parents' house to borrow their stuff ALL THE TIME.
On my 25th birthday, I was disappointed that I felt like I hadn't accomplished everything I wanted to by the time I was 25. By 25, I felt like I should have spent time traveling and writing--seeing places like Rio de Janeiro, Seattle, Rome, and Greece. I should have finished my MFA in Creative Writing or gone to law school. I should have walked the Atlantic City Boardwalk, gambled in Vegas, swam in the Gulf of Mexico. I should have graffitied a train, bought a Coach purse, camped in the back of a pickup truck under the stars, and smoked a really great Cuban.
And I felt like I hadn't done these things, and now I never would because I was 25. I was a grown up, and I was going to settle down.
Because by the time I was 26, surely I would have a baby.
I lay in our bed in the middle of the afternoon on Saturday, February 1, the day before my 26th birthday, and pouted. Bobby lay next to me, brushing the hair from my eyes, wondering why his wife was a depressed blob, burrowing deeper under our comforter. I didn't put it into words, but I was so, so sad. He thought I was just frustrated that my birthday plans with my friends were falling through (they couldn't find a sitter--insult to injury). He asked what I really wanted to do on my birthday.
"I want to be in Hawaii."
"I want to be warm. I want to be far away. I want to do something I've never done before."
We talked for awhile, looking at each other sideways, soaking in the warmth of the sunshine through our windows. The fact that I really, truly believed I would have at least one baby before I was 26 was weighing so heavily on my heart.
"Next year, we'll go to Hawaii," Bobby said.
"For your birthday. If we don't have a baby next year by February, we'll go to Hawaii."
Well, there you have it, friends. I'm going to Hawaii next year on my birthday. Or I will have a baby. That's what I call a birthday wish win-win.