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Birthdays

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09/05/2012

Rachel Friedman photo

Birthdays are a funny thing. As a kid, you count down the days. You obsess over who is and isn't invited to your birthday party. You boast to be eight and three quarters, because it's cooler to be a teeny bit older than your friend who is eight and a half.

When you talked about the future with your friends, the middle schoolers seemed old and wise, and talking about getting married and having babies in your twenties seemed like a lifetime away— you’d be old by then!

As you get older, birthdays come with more significance. Driving at 16. Lottery tickets at 18. Throwing out your fake ID at 21.

Celebrating 23 means you finally have some kind of legit income and can afford to buy drinks at the bar. At 25, you’re a quarter century and can rent a car. Twenty-six and 27 are okay— they don't feel all that different, but slowly you lose interest in throwing that wild pub crawl birthday extravaganza. Maybe an intimate dinner with 10 of your best girlfriends? A weekend getaway with your significant other?

This weekend I turned 28. Officially reached my late twenties. I celebrated at one of the greatest parties I’d ever been to— my best friend’s wedding. The best birthday message I got was a photo of my son, sent from my parents— the world's best babysitters, with a caption that said, “Happy Birthday Mommy!” Instead of birthday parties and cake, I got Facebook messages from old friends, a handful of text messages, and a few phone calls.

Having a birthday that falls on a holiday weekend means your birthday weekend is often overshadowed by barbecues, trips out of town and other commitments. As a kid, I remember hating that my birthday often overlapped with the first day of school. As a grown-up, this year, despite knowing that all my friends were scattered at weddings across the country, I hoped that my closest friends wouldn’t forget about me. Some did, some didn’t.

But somehow as I get a little bit older, it mattered a little bit less. Gone are the days of planning trolley bar crawls and blow-out parties for my birthday— instead, I’ll be planning Colin’s first birthday party before you know it and hoping that no one realizes that I’m one year closer to 30!

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