Each year, if we are lucky, we a granted a birthday. Another year to celebrate the life that we are given. Another year to do our best to achieve the goals we set out for ourselves. Another year to eat cake, celebrate with loved ones and to remind ourselves that time is precious. And as each year we continue to get older, we do our best to avoid telling people our real age, we stock up beauty products that will help us appear younger and will do just about anything to not acknowledge the day. I, on the other hand, enjoy my birthday. Maybe it’s because it falls over Labor Day weekend or because I know how truly blessed I am. Regardless of my reasoning behind my joy for not just my birthday but for my loved ones. Turns out, if you allow it, you just might be surprised at how great life can actually be.
There was something very different about this year and my birthday. Normally I embrace it, I look forward to celebrating it and I knew exactly why I didn’t want my birthday to happen. I was scared. Scared out of my mind that something else bad was going to happen to me. As of two Monday’s ago, I was behind a month in rent, I just was in the process of finalizing my identity theft ordeal and I lost my job. This wasn’t exactly the way I wanted to leave my thirty fifth year of life. It’s very easy to go down the path of, “What have I accomplished?” But I’m not one to sit back and relax, so two Monday’s ago, I had managed to schedule three interviews with three different places all in one day. To my surprise, all three places wanted to hire me. I accepted one of the jobs and I start in just a few hours. It isn’t the dream job but to be unemployed for just a week; I knew how quickly the universe can turn those lemons into lemonade. I told the new employer that I wouldn’t be able to start for another week because I still had Fire Island to look forward to before closing out summer.
That Tuesday after all of those interviews, I had to do some last minute shopping for a costume that I was going to be wearing on Fire Island. I was in Union Square at the Halloween store shopping for a pair of full length black satin gloves. I saw them hanging on the rack but I was too short to reach. I put my bag down and began to do my best to reach for the gloves when I noticed something or someone rush by me quickly. I didn’t even have time to process what had happened until I looked down by my feet and realized that someone had stolen my bag! I stood there for a minute and began to comprehend that I just was robbed. I spoke with the store manager who took down my information and he said to me, “I would be a wreck. You are handling this very calmly.” I wanted to tell them that after my identity theft, job loss, being behind on rent that this was just icing on the future birthday cake. Instead, I thanked him for being so helpful and walked out of the store. I stood on the corner of Broadway and 12th Street and realized I needed to run to the bank to stop my debit card and get a new one. I was certain that since everything was in that bag that was stolen, (keys to my apartment, my gym gear, my favorite wallet in the whole wide world and a brand new wig) that it was going to be a hard time confirming to the lady behind the desk that I was who I was claiming that I was. I managed to get a replacement debit card and then looked at my phone…I had 2% left of battery. I jumped on the subway to get home so that I could call and cancel the credit cards before any damage was done. I was very lucky that nothing had been used but on the flip side; I got severely depressed.
Two days shy of turning 36 and now I was robbed in a Halloween store buying gloves for a drag costume. I was also two days shy of going to Fire Island. I told my friends that I wasn’t sure I even wanted to go because I was so depressed. Because I didn’t want to bring them down and because I was afraid my bad luck would rub off on them. I didn’t see anyone for the next couple of days. I went into hiding and decided that if I wasn’t out in the world that nothing bad was going to happen to me. It took a lot of messages to finally convince me to go to Fire Island and so on Thursday night; I began to pack.
9 a.m. and we are all standing in front of the sign at Penn Station waiting for the board to tell us what train line is going to be taking us to Sayville. We are all sitting down, trains moving and we began the first of many days together. We were all out there for a week and a week on Fire Island can be the greatest and the most exhausting experience. We all were just so excited and that we all were talking a mile a minute. Suddenly, I realized that it was the day of my birthday, I was surrounded by friends, the sun was shining and I got my severance from my last job and I was able to pay rent and catch up on my life. I was back on track.
We were out there for a week and in that week we managed to see friends that we don’t get to see that often. Attend a Madonna themed party (in which we won the Guinness Book of World Records for the most Madonna costumes), have an amazing house and celebrate my birthday! It was a week to remember from start to finish. By the time I was riding the train back to the city with a great friend; I knew that my life was taking a turn for the better.
Last Friday, I woke up still exhausted from my week out on the island but I had one more interview with another place (we have to keep our options open). After the interview, I went home to relax and gear up for my first date in awhile. It was with a guy I had met a few weeks ago. We did the usual text message, then had a phone date and finally settled on an actual date. I was looking forward to it because he had been so sweet, attentive and not actually my “type”. It was time to branch out and so he had actually planned the entire date. Again, something that doesn’t happen all that often these days. The plan was to meet him for an early dinner at Bistro 61 and following that would be riding the cart over the 59th Street Bridge that takes your to Roosevelt Island. I had never done that before and was looking forward to it.
I arrived first and he arrived only a few minutes later. He was very sweet and also sweating; it was a super humid night. We sat in the corner and began talking non-stop. Finally a man that could carry on a conversation. After dinner, we walked to stop that would take us above the bridge to the other side. It felt like a ride at an amusement park and when we got to the other side, he held my hand. There we walked to a bench and sat overlooking the river and the city. Finally, he gave me that look that he was going to kiss me but I couldn’t wait and so I said, “Are you going to kiss me or what?” He laughed and said I killed his moment but went in for the kill. Good kisser and the city behind us was an amazing backdrop. Afterwards, we walked around a bit more before heading back to the city. Will I see him again? Yes. This Friday.
After he dropped me off, I met up with a friend of mine in my neighborhood where we drank our faces off at Posh before calling it a night somewhere around 2 a.m. I couldn’t believe how fast my luck was changing and I didn’t want to do anything to rock the boat.
The next day, I was having brunch at Gallow Green for a friends birthday. It was amazing, the drinks continued to flow and the company was amazing. Afterwards, we all began to separate for we had another birthday party later on that night. I picked up my friend who’s staying at the London Hotel and we had pre-cocktails and a light dinner before heading over to the next party. The party was just the perfect size and I think after awhile our lives finally caught up with us because we all began to fade one by one. It was the perfect weekend to end a rather tough couple of months.
As I blew out my candles that indicated that I was now: 36. I looked around and discovered so many things. Age is really just a number. It’s not what your age says on your passport but rather the places that you’ve been. The journey that you are on. The ups and downs of life and how you come out looking in the end. We can do all that we can to prevent the aging process but what really determines your age is by being that class act. Having respect for yourself, for others and for the world.
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