I’ve always been a birthday person. I’m not sure that I believe that there’s a limit to how often you should celebrate yourself, but I’m certain it’s more than once per year. It’s for that very reason that I tend to stretch my birthday for a full weekend of festivities.
I was worried that this year might be different. New place, new job, new friends. What if New York wasn’t prepared to accommodate my birthday wish — small and simple in comparison to many a New Yorker — and what if I was left to celebrate in solitude?
What ifs aside, I took it upon myself to throw together a gathering of people at a karaoke bar. My pessimism was overturned, as I was fortunate enough to have celebrated my birthday with 10+ of my new New York friends, who made me feel totally secure in this over-sized, under-appreciated big city. In the six months — nearing seven — that I’ve been in New York, I’ve met friends who, on my birthday:
- Laughed with (or perhaps at) me during karaoke
- Treated me to [one too] many a birthday cocktail
- Sang karaoke to make me feel less uncomfortable about not being able to carry a single note
- Made me feel genuinely appreciated.
While I certainly could not spit mad rhymes like my friend TJ, the karaoke gathering was the perfect inauguration to my first NY birthday weekend.
The second phase of my birthday was much more low-key. I had a friend in town, and we spent most of the following day, the day that preceded my birthday, hanging out with his considerably awesome college friends. I very rarely take the time to explore the west side of Manhattan, but we spent a lot of the day around Bryant Park and Herald Square, later (but really only at around 3 p.m.) we made our way down to a bar on the Lower East Side.
The bar festivities were truncated by a family dinner that I had, all the way on the Upper East Side. I’m fairly certain that the last time the family component to my birthday exceeded my immediate family plus grandparents, was my Bat Mitzvah. This particular family gathering was pretty special, because my New York cousins have really become regular fixtures in my life here. These dinners are especially comforting as my [non-blood related, through-various-marriages] cousin Dan matches me in social media geekdom.
Following dinner, Dan, and his wife Sheryl schlepped with me on the downtown 6, toward Murray Hill, where I met back up with my friend and his college chums.
I’m not sure that I could have found a better way to have celebrated the first few hours of my 22nd year.
I feel confident in saying that since blowing out the candles on the cake that Dan’s family gifted me, not much has changed between 21 and 22. Older? Yeah, I guess [it’s a numbers game that I can’t win]. But really, at 22, I feel pretty darn lucky. I was fortunate enough to, in one weekend, see family, new friends, and old friends, too. I have a job that I love, and co-workers whom I cherish. I’d be lying if I said I made a birthday wish (but a quick save would have probably been a wish for world peace), but with this thing called life, I’m not sure that I have room for real complaint.