Yesterday was my birthday. Today I am sitting in the library at school getting ready to go home and I am feeling the effects of last night: I am aware of the weight of my own head. My eyes feel beady and small. I am unshaven. I am wearing glasses. My stomach, occasionally, will roil.
But yesterday was awesome. L and I woke up at 6:40 and trudged up to Central Park, and I ran in a four-mile race and was pleasantly suprised by my time of 31:00 minutes (7:45 per mile for those of you keeping score at home -- I thought I would be in the mid-8:00's, so this was an unexpected gift). We came home and weren't quite sure what to do with ourselves, since we were showered and clean and breakfast-laden and informed by the newspaper, all by 10:30 in the morning. We walked around the village in the afternoon, made an obligatory pilgrimage to Chipotle, saw Philip Seymour Hoffman on the sidewalk with his girlfriend and kid, not seeming exceptionally paternal, and went to some bookstores and bought L new running shoes.
Later I went to strength conditioning and step class, and because I'm such a birthday glutton, when my smooth and attractive teacher asked me how I was doing and what was going on, I blurted out, "It's my birthday!" and she announced it to the larger group much to humiliation, especially in the step part when she said, "It's Michael's birthday and I think he deserves some bigger sashays! Let's give Michael some bigger sashays, people!" I actually prayed for sweet death at that moment, because of all the things I intended to do on my birthday, I am not sure if sashaying was or should have been on that list. But if a part of maturing is not caring about what other people think and a general willingness to be embarassed, I guess that was helpful.
We had an awesome dinner at Westville, where the lovely waitress and I were both grooving to "That's the way love goes," and then we went to Buddha, where I saw a lot of my friends and had a great time, exactly what I wanted. We rounded out the night at French Roast over some liquoured-up coffee and fancy pizza, and now here I am.
I am very happy to be 26. My life is going really well and I can't imagine having any more to be thankful for or excited about. I heard from a lot of people I love yesterday and that was the best part. I didn't hear from my grandparents, which was really disappointing, but it's not something to dwell on. I don't know - birthdays for me are double-edged, or at least they have a strong shadow underlying the substance. I mean, it's a celebration and a time for assessment and a chance to think about who you love and where you're going, but at the same time, it can also be a chance to be disappointed. But beyond the birthday, my life is going really well and I am certainly aware and grateful of the good fortune of it all. I am so, so lucky.