On Birthdays and New York

Two weeks ago I took a super quick trip to New York, in celebration of my birthday and for my first non-working-vacation in several years (I actually travel fairly frequently, I just always work at least part time while I’m doing it.)

This birthday was feeling kind of angsty* for me, so I decided to do the obvious thing and blow it up with bi-coastal parties. I always joke** that one of my ultimate goals is to live a bi-coastal life, and so what better way to start moving towards that goal? And then, because I am amazingly lucky, I got to celebrate it not only with my large group of New York based friends, but also with four different friends who decided to fly to New York for the occasion – from California, Chicago, Cleveland, and Pittsburgh. My people, they are awesome.

Charlie, who has been one of my best friends since we were fourteen, despite the fact that we haven’t lived in the same city since we were eighteen, had never been to New York before***, and we got to spend three days walking around the city, talking, drinking coffee (pictured below,) and going to some of my favorite New York neighborhoods and places. Charlie had to go to the airport directly after the party Saturday night Sunday morning, because he had a shift to work in Chicago that afternoon. The boy is a trooper.

Charlie and I stayed at my sister’s place on the UWS for the first three nights I was in town, along with Kelly, who flew in from the Bay Area¬† for the trip. My last night in town I stayed with Tracy, who was my roommate at art school, along with our friend Laura (who came in from Cleveland) who I realized I hadn’t seen since our friend Lacey’s (who flew in from Pittsburgh) wedding two and half years ago. Best conversation of the weekend went like this:

me: I’m so happy we’re all still friends after all these years.

Tracy: I know. Thank God that no one went crazy.

Yes, Tracy, Thank God indeed. I talked so much throughout this trip that when I got home on Monday I had partially lost my voice. Which, sign of a good time, no?

And then, there was the birthday party, which was about as good as I could have hoped for. Balloons and pie and my favorite beer and temporary tattoos and many, many of my favorite people. (I still need to scan photos from it.)

Because I’m slightly crazy, I had decided to have a second birthday party in Oakland that started two hours after landing at SFO. Which meant that I was 30 minutes late to it (in my defense, I thought my flight got in an hour earlier than it actually did.) Going straight from breakfast in Brooklyn to a bar in Oakland was slightly discombobulating, although also really awesome. Regular jet setters – my hat is off to you.

photos: top to bottom, left to right – Charlie at the Highline and on the Brooklyn Bridge; me in Chelsea, birthday ballons from Amber, me at the MoMA; Charlie & Kelly at MoMA; coffee from eight different coffee shops; Kelly & my sister Alexandra on the subway, Tracy and Laura at James Fuentes, birthday breakfast at a diner in Brooklyn with Tracy and Laura, birthday dinner at a diner in Oakland with Meg, David, and Emily, on the same day. All via Instagram on my iPhone.

*Getting older is funny, and I’ve been having annual minor existential crises around my birthday for years – something to do with the fact that even though I strongly feel that every year of my life has been better than the one before, part of me mourns the fact that I’m not seventeen anymore. Is life better now than it was at seventeen? Undoubtedly. But it’s also much more complicated, and there’s inevitable baggage that’s been picked up in the eleven intervening years. In many ways, every year also comes with some loss of possibility, even though I strongly believe that it’s never too late to reinvent ourselves.

**it’s not really a joke.

***despite having lived in Boston for four years. Weirdo.

posted in my life, parties