A few weeks ago I celebrated my 22nd birthday...and proceeded to celebrate for the next ten days...
This post is long overdue; late has been my life as of recent, but I say better late than never.
I've honestly been waiting four years to say I'M FEELING 22. It's my inner basic-ness emerging. Ever since Taylor Swift released her song I couldn't wait for 22 (yes, I hate me too). Now, I'm going to milk it and use that song as my alarm for the next year lol. In actuality, I never imagined I'd turn 22 so soon. Dare I say, I feel old. I'm a solid three years away from the teenage years and well into the young adult years.
After teenage years and twenty one, the number becomes less and less significant. 22 feels the same to be quite frank. Nothing miraculous. I feel both on top of the world and that my life is in ruins. Not really but it's sort of disheartening to not have a concrete plan as to what I'm doing. That may be due to society's social constructs, but that discussion is for another blog post. Regardless, this strange duality seems to be a permanent characteristic of the twenties. We'll see how I feel about this matter next year.
One of my favorite parts about my birthday is that it serves as an arbitrary marker of my personal growth and allows me to reflect and open myself to introspection. The biggest shift I've noticed is the realization that I need seriously take care of myself. This sentiment encompasses mental, emotional and physical health. Eating well and exercise are so important. I've finally navigated what foods upset my stomach or make my face break out in zits. Eating is first and foremost for nourishing my body and providing it the nutrients it needs to function. In high school, I was very active and went through spurts throughout college of exercising regularly to sedentary living for months. Only recently have I actually stuck to a running plan (thanks Gina) and I have to say, it's hard and a lot of the time you don't want to do it. What motivates me is how good I feel after I've completed a workout, the accomplishment is unparalleled. I want to be able to hike a volcano like my eighty year old grandparents did and in order to do that, it starts now. For me, 22 is developing regimes and sticking to them.
Another item I've become all to aware of is time. I think the strangest thing of all of this is how distorted our perception of time is. The brain is amazing. This past year has flown by in a roller coaster of ups and downs with many fond memories. We spend a lot of time dwelling on the future and expending anticipation on a future event, which is fine in small doses, but sometimes neglect the current moment. Time is going to keep chugging along, whether we want it to or not, but it's up to me to decide how I choose to maximize and spend it.
Finally, I am more appreciative of people. Sure, I have many moments where I *hate* people and all of humanity, but overall I love them. People are important. I've come to realize how important my family and friends are to me. And I hope they realize how much they mean to me and to have them in my life because it makes life more fun and interesting and awesome. I don't tell them this enough, but I truly hope they all know how much I love them. They mean the world to me and to be able call and wish me happy birthday or to spend time with me these last few days was the best gift I could ever wish for.
My birthday kicked off with what I love most: BRUNCH. Crystal, Anna, Aaron, and Sharon took me out to brunch at Portage Bay where we gorged ourselves on challah french toast and too much fruit from the breakfast bar along with a pitcher of mimosas. Later that evening, after work and class, we grabbed Molly Moon's and attempted (stupid clouds) to watch the sunset at Gasworks.
Also on my birthday was probably the greatest gift of all: receiving the box containing our Legends Never Die t-shirts and sweatshirts. Y'all are going to need a little context for this...About two years ago, Hunter captured this incredible picture of Crystal eating a hotdog. For Crystal's departmental graduation, we ordered these and wore them to her graduation as a surprise and our way of supporting her. Easily one of the highlights of my day. Aaron and I opened the box and were so giddy we could not contain our excitement or wait for her graduation to come sooner. Shout out to Crystal for being a good sport about this and having the ability to laugh at herself.
The next day, Soleil and I spontaneously went to Ballard just to go to the Palm Room and ended up wandering around all of the cute stores for a bit. Starving and almost ready to head back to the U District, we flipped our plans and decided to try and get oysters from the famed Walrus & the Carpenter, no matter what the line to get in looked like. We were seated quickly and marveled at the menu...and our luck. Our spontaneity paid off tremendously and we devoured the freshest oysters at this iconic establishment.
Mom was able to visit for the weekend which happened to include Mother's Day! Our quality time consisted of a foodie frenzy along with a random day trip to Deception Pass to walk around.
To top the Mother's Day weekend off, we managed to get tickets to see U2. Fun fact, Bono and I share the same date of birth. The concert was incredible and even more special since it was the 30th Anniversary of the Joshua Tree Tour - a tour my mom had gone to. She let me wear her 30 year old t-shirt (when the t-shirt is older than you hahaha) to the concert which was super special.
The day she left, we spent the morning running around and squeezing every ounce of Seattle food into us including General Porpoise Doughnuts. How can you have a bad day when you've started it off with amazing doughnuts??
The very next day, my childhood best friends came to visit as a post-graduation trip. Our little kindergarten crew has been taking on the world for seventeen years now - insane. After my day of classes, I picked up Cristin from the Link Station and hit the ground running. Our first stop was pizza at Sizzle Pie because she was STARVING. Cristin scarfed down the za and we finished off our meal with a date jam doughnut from General Porpoise. TWO DAYS OF DOUGHNUTS FOR YA GURL.
Since the Spencer Clan was still en route and Cristin and I are the art buffs, we popped over to the Frye Art Museum to see what was on view.
With some time remaining before the other half of our crew rolled into town, we spontaneously went to the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation to walk around. I can't believe I've haven't been here before...one of the best interactive exhibits I've ever seen. Our time was cut a little short because the Spencer's were 15 minutes away from my house and we had to drive back to meet them.
We had a quick little reunion with hugs all around and cooked up the iconic wine cream sauce pasta dish that is now characteristic of when we all get together (thanks Gina). We all caught up on life and set out for some Molly Moon's Ice Cream, Gasworks skyline, and lots of laughs to round out the evening.
The next day was full of classes and work for me, but they all met up with me at Pike Place right before I got off of work. For dinner that evening, we frolicked on the beach at Golden Gardens while roasting hot dogs and marshmallows and taking unflattering pictures of each other.
I had another full day of obligations, but ended the afternoon with wine tasting at Chateau St. Michelle. Traffic had been awful on our way to Woodinville and we barely made the last tour. Cristin made me call - thank goodness - otherwise we would have driven out there for nothing. We rolled into the parking lot where she and I jumped out of the car and ran to the front desk and right past the colorful peacock near the entrance wandering the grounds. We made a quick dinner and drank a copious amount of wine and beer, then ended the evening with karaoke. This was easily one of my favorite evenings as Lauren, Cristin, Alex, Matt, and Becca got to meet a few of my Seattle best friends.
The final day with everyone in town consisted of a quintessential trip to Portage Bay for brunch. The weather was gorgeous and we sat out on the patio recounting the ridiculous stories from the previous night. With full bellies, we drove down to South Lake Union to go kayaking on the water. The sky was clear and the sun was out. We managed to kayak to Gasworks and realizing our hour was dwindling, made our way back to the rental place in record time. Alex and I kayaked like mad because he had the audacity to splash the other two kayaks *eye roll*. Next up was a nice nature walk in Discovery Park and some relaxation on the rocks near the lighthouse. Our time was quickly diminishing and we had to squeeze in one more run to Molly Moon's (yes I realize I've mentioned them like three times, MOLLY PLEASE SPONSOR ME) before Matt and Becca had to hop on the Link to get to the airport. With some time before Cristin's flight, we grabbed drinks at Fremont Brewing Company on the beautiful day and snagged Dick's Drive-In burgers for dinner before driving her to the airport. Lauren and Alex headed out the next morning. Without a doubt, this was one of the best trips. I'm so proud and happy to call these knuckleheads my friends. Plus, were stuck with each other for life.
To round out all of the festivities, I planned a birthday hike with some of the best friends I've made since I've moved to Seattle. Let me just say, what an enormous amount of coordination it is to get people into cars and up a mountain, but after it was all said and done, it worked out perfectly (to my surprise). For my 22nd birthday, I wanted to hike Lake 22. If I'm being quite honest, I was a little nervous as to what the dynamics of the group would be, but that shouldn't have even crossed my mind. Everyone got along so well and it was the best group of people I could have ever asked for. We slipped and slid on the snow (!!!) at the top and ate trail mix with the gorgeous view. And of course, ended the day with soft serve ice cream.
Thanks to everyone who made my birthday special. As I've said before, spending time with people is the best gift I could ever receive. Time is such a precious commodity. I'm excited for what 22 has to offer and it's going to be one of the best yet!