The Birthday Gift Theory

A really honest view on how confusing getting older is and a present

I love birthdays in general and treat mine birthday like a national holliday since I can remember.

When I was at school I used to begin planning next year’s party many months ago and each time I did something different. I had pj parties, pool parties (I live in Bogotá that in case you don’t know is a very cold city, so pool parties are not exactly common) and when I turned 15 I had an unicorn piñata hanging from the ceiling, unicorn headbands and painted t-shirts.

I don’t know what I find so exciting about it but it works in a similar way with my closest friends. I get crazy and start planning things that may never happen, but I try, right? That must count.

I’m obsessed with cake too. If there’s cake, I’m going.

Uhm, Cam? How can I say it… It’s not your birthday this time!

Right, sorry. When it comes to others I like reminding them all day long it’s their day, asking how’s everything so far and kind of awkward questions sometimes. Here goes my long time favourite one:

Cam: How does it feel like to be *insert here the age they’re turning*?

Birthday guy: Are you seriously going to ask me that every year… ?

I’m always curious about feelings, sensations and impressions caused by getting older, mainly because when it happens to me that’s all I can think about all day: “Is this real life?” “Am I really getting older?” “God this feels funny”.

Cam’s Fun Fact #1: Each year I look for a song about turning the specific age I’m turning and make it the first one I listen that day. When I was 15, it was Fifteen by Taylor Swift, at 17, Seventeen Forever by Metro Station and I’m already looking for the next one.

I find so strange the concept of “getting older”, specially with all the things it can be related too and the way it depends on how old you’re really getting, it works like this:

0 to 10: YAY I like being alive! When I’m 10 I’ll do this and this and that and no one would call me a baby!

Everything’s awesome. You’re sleep a lot and spend most of your time just being happy.

1 to 17: Why. Why am I so weird. Growing up sucks. Am I going to get taller eventually or stay pocket-size forever? I want to be 18, why can’t I be 18?

The best thing about being a teenager is that you can pretend you’re big sometimes and do big girl things but still no pressure. What are you going to study at college? Who cares, it’s not time yet. NOPE.

18 to 20: YESSSSS, I’m such an adult, I can go out by myself and go buy drinks and party and I’m legal and yes yes yes! YAY. So fun.

You’re a college student now! How fun, life’s great, you’re free. There’s not much money but there are lots of things to do, things to learn, mistakes to make… Mistakes, more than anything. Your dreams are coming true! You are FINALLY in a decent, grown-up relationship, you go girl!

He’s as excited as I was when I was 16

21 and beyond (I’m currently 21): What? No. I’m not an adult. Mom, help me how do I wash my own clothes. What are banks for? Graduating? Really? Then what? WORK!?!?!? No. Please take me back I want to be young and beautiful once again. HOW DO I ADULT!?!?!?

It was all a lie. It hurts. It’s confusing and sucks. What are dreams now? Is this real life… Yes, it is.

Me 24/7

Time’s up and you’re on your own now. I’m not saying there’s nothing left to do, life’s already defined or that there’s no way out, it’s the opposite and that’s why it’s so scary.

I think we’ll all have to face things we don’t like, get to pointless places and realize we screwed up, learn from it and keep going. Sounds awful, right?

When I was little I used to picture me in future years. I stopped everything I was doing and started thinking “How would I look like at 18?” “Is my hair going to be awesome?” “What am I going to do?” “What if I have a boyfriend or a cat or both!?” In my vision I was tall (FALSE), had amazing hair (depends on the day) and walked with determination, gave power to every step I took and stayed focused, all the time.

It was the falsest, prettiest vision.

Now here’s everything that makes me feel personally victimized of being 21

I’m still that little girl full of dreams, magical ideas and the inner desire of getting older by accident, learning how to adult successfully in the blink of an eye and being happy, but no:

H E L P M E
  1. Do you think I have any idea of how taxes or government work?
  2. I was right and learning how to make divisions with my mind was a pointless things, what I really need to divide are time, space and the money I spend in food.
  3. I don’t live alone (at least not for now) but I know it’ll happen eventually and it makes me nervous. I don’t know how to wash clothes or a bathroom, or who should I call if anything there fails.

4. Adults think you’re old enough to have some responsibilities but at the same time see you as a toddler when it’s convenient.

5. And at last: Everything happened so fast! Being 21 feels like a kick in the face. All the High School Musical stars are almost 30, we’re all older than Hannah Montana (Cam’s Sneaky Comment #1: When I started watching Hannah I used to think she was a grown up) and smarthphones have been here for a while now.

So, as a 21 years old panicked girl that looks more like a toddler than like an adult (yes I said it, I’m an adult)…

Here it goes the second (and most important in this case) ingredient

Cam’s Sidenote #1: I promise this is going to make sense when I’m done, I promise.

THE GIFTS.

yayayyayayay

It’s like christmas but you’re under the spotlight. When you’re little you get excited about getting the newest toys and as time goes by, you get more practical. You either request for grown-up toys (a camera maybe?) or useful things, like socks and sweaters, gift cards, food or just cash.

But I understood a while ago that the best gifts are the ones you can’t put in a box or lock up in a cage (unless you get a cat, maybe a cat is a nice one). I find experiences and pretty wishes are the best gifts. I find words really pretty too and that’s why I like to give them away so often, it’s a hard gift to give as well.

So here’s my gift for you: Anyone celebrating life today (specially certain human that’s becoming 22 today!)

Imagine all humans as lines in a drawing.

We’re twisty, magical lines making our ways through an infinite canvas, but we’re not alone. We frequently follow other lines and create prettier things, make complex graphics and also separate, get lost forever, never meet again…

There’s also a permanent background change and before you panic, know that nothing will stay forever the way it is. Your path is going to change, you’ll get confused, sad and sometimes you’ll feel you want to disappear, vanish and get out of the picture, but you can’t.

You’re there and there’s nothing you can do about it, so have fun while you do it. Maybe someday you’ll see the perfect picture, who knows?

I’m glad our lines met, and may we meet again. In another life, in another drawing.

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