This past week saw a couple of fun milestones: the Just Tegan Facebook page reached and exceeded 100 “likes,” this website hit a new record for daily page views, I ordered some business cards with a fancy new design by Micah, and I turned 30. In the interests of full disclosure, I was frankly more excited about everything than I was about my birthday. Yep. Birthdays have always been hit-or-miss with me, mostly miss.
Back in the Day
I’m going to try to keep this bit brief because, really, who wants to hear about me, right? Right. Okay. It’s hard having a solidly Summer birthday. When you go to Elementary school, you’re lucky if you get to share a celebratory day with the rest of the off-season birthdays. For the most part, you get to watch with envy as your classmates get their birthdays celebrated at school. When I got to middle school, we graduated from cupcakes to decorated lockers, lovingly plastered with streamers by friends. Then, when it’s finally Summer, everyone’s out of school and your party options open up only to realize that, well, with everyone out of school, some people actually go on vacation.
There was this one year that my parents gave me the following options: I could go see the touring production of Beauty & the Beast in DC or I could have a birthday party. Being a kid who wanted gifts, I chose the party. We prepped for it, I sent out invitations, and no one showed up (okay, there may have been, like, one or two people there, but in my mind, it may as well have been no one). It was one of my worst fears made manifest: I had been forgotten. For years after that, I made it my mission to see Beauty & the Beast on Broadway to make up for the fact that I missed it due to my misguided desire to have a party. I did finally see the show, by the way, and it was awesome.
Then, there was my 21st birthday when I went through Plans A – D in rapid succession only to land on Plan E. While it was a pretty good day by the end of it, no one really expects to spend the evening of their 21st birthday in their friend’s basement drinking wine coolers and watching Repo Man. For my 25th, I splurged on myself and spent the night at Nora Roberts’ Inn Boonsboro. That was pretty sweet.
Last year, I decided to be proactive and stake out a day months in advance. I created a Facebook event and invited a bunch of folks. Periodically, I’d remind people about my party (reminders became slightly more frequent as the day approached). For the folks not on Facebook, I did try to reach them to let them know what was going on. It felt like a lot of work and while I had fun, I hated feeling like I had to engage in emotional blackmail to get people to attend.
For this year, I didn’t plan anything at all outside of going to see a late-night showing of Guardians of the Galaxy. Planning parties takes a lot of work and I didn’t have it in me to be bothered. I was perfectly content with what I thought I was going to end up with: dinner at a tasty restaurant with my parents on my birthday, going to the movies, having dinner with a friend, going to see a movie on Saturday with my brother and sister-in-law, and then just chillin’ the rest of the weekend.
Then, I got home from the movies on Saturday to a surprise party that my friends had orchestrated. I was well and truly surprised and I am so grateful to everyone who helped pull that off. For extra bonus fun, all of the decorations were Avengers themed. The party mastermind, Tihana, had gone out and acquired a lot of Avengers supplies for the event. I’m not going to lie: I very nearly teared up thanks to everyone.
Just Another Year
I don’t remember who first said it, but I love the phrase: “Growing older is mandatory. Growing up is optional.” My mother used to joke that she loved that I could still go to the toy store to buy presents for my friends. Whereas you might think that’s ridiculous and childish, I think it’s great to hold onto that sense of whimsy.
All too often, we are told that it’s “time to put away childish things” as if that is somehow an important step to becoming this mythical grown-up type person. I have friends with houses, children, and all those sorts of adult responsibilities who still love playing games, collecting toys, and enjoying media that’s theoretically targeted to a younger audience. Whoever decided that adulthood had to be the death of fun was doing growing older a disservice. With age comes experience and with experience comes the realization that there are more fun things to be doing that cause less damage.
I’m going to proudly grow older and continue to delight in the simple things that I’ve always loved. I’m going to walk down toy aisles and wish I could buy some things that I’m “going to give my future offspring someday. Really.” There’s no shame in staying young at heart.
So, thanks to everyone out there for being a part of the shenanigans of the past week. Thank you for tuning in. Keep an eye on the site because there are more fun things on the way. You’ll see. I’d hate to spoil the surprise.