Nobody Likes You When You're 23
I hate birthdays.
I love other people's birthdays -- the parties, the drinks, the mingling, the celebration -- but I hate my birthday. Maybe it's because it's in the summer, so I never had the joy of celebrating it with classmates. Maybe because I'm a twin, so it never felt like my own. Maybe it's because ever since I was 20 I was convinced that I was too damn old to go after my goals, even when I didn't always know what they were.
23 is not old, of course, and I don't look a day over 17, but it reminds me that time is measured. At 20, I was in between my Wisconsin years, and I remember being unsure about life but I still had a zest for it -- the depressive episode didn't start until the following August. By 21 I was ready to move to New York, but I had been depressed for a good 11 months at that point and I didn't feel [i]anything[/i] by that point. By 22 I had fucked up the New York thing and had recently moved back home, peeing in a cup so I could get rehired at Walgreens. Now I am 23, and I am still at home, because instead of saving money for an apartment I blew it all on a year-long gym membership for Operation Get that Shit Tight.
I haven't decided how I feel about 23. 21 is your first year of legal drinking age in America, and you spend the whole year bar-hopping and feeling young, and the bartenders give you free tokens because you are cute and a good tipper. 22 still feels young and it's a fun number with the matching digits. 23 is weird. It's a prime number, but I don't feel like I'm in my prime. By my next prime number I will be 29, and if I am still living at home it will be in an urn.
I am hoping that 23 will be when my life makes sense, when I stop having fear and regret and instead have courage and gusto, even if I found a wrinkle under my left eye yesterday.