Wednesday, September 2, 2009

Goodbye 25

Today was my last day of being 25, and so I decided to make a conscious effort to try and remember it. I never really remember how it felt to have been any other age than the age I am now. What was it like being 19? 22? 24? I don't remember. Could it be possible that I just felt the same the entire time? I do remember dreading getting older each year. And each year everyone I know mutters, "I'm so old" whenever it is their turn to blow out the candles. So today I tried to feel young because we are just getting older, and if we can't feel young now, then one day we will look back and it will be too late.

Anyway, so there I was today, ordering bacon on my salad, sitting in the sun, eating black and white cookies and trying to relish this final day of exactly a quarter century's worth of life. Except when I look back 30 years from now, I don't think I'll remember that I had the poppy seed dressing, that my aunt chided me for ordering bacon on my salad and that a day before turning 26, I was desperately trying to preserve the feeling of being 25 in my mind. No, what I'll remember is the hospital visits, the crying, the frustration and now, the panic attacks.

These past few days Alan has been having such severe panic attacks that I had to drive him to the ER last night. Since he wasn't running a fever, we were forced to wait with everyone else in the dingy waiting room. I felt exhausted and tried closing my eyes to get some rest. If I just let my mind go, I could almost pretend the sound of the girl sitting next to me vomiting into a small kidney shaped vomit-holder was a babbling brook.

When Alan was finally called back, I waited with him in the room. I thought saying soothing things might help and so I talked about mushrooms, forests, pizza and The Best Thing I Ever Ate on the Food Network, all while the lady down the hall from us screamed bloody murder as though she were about to be dipped into a vat of acid. She didn't have any legs or arms. She had one hook and this made Alan feel a bit better. Perhaps his situation wasn't so dire after all.

This was year 25 and I'm not sure if I want to embrace it and linger in it like a chocolate bath or rip it out of my memory completely. When we got home, Anthropologie seemed to have sensed my dilemma. They sent me the cutest pre-birthday note I have ever received from a customer loyalty card (or whatever they consider their "Anthro" card to be). Good thinking Anthropologie, maybe I can just go shop my troubles away.

This otherwise seemingly useless card gets you a beautifully presented birthday note.

It would have been awesome if the inside continued with ...brina, but no suck luck.

I've decided. I'm sewing all these buttons onto the shirt I'm wearing tomorrow.


Roy said...


Rich said...

Happy Birthday! And yes there will be years where you think back on it, and wonder if you could just flush it, or have a do-over. Some are better, some are worse, but remember every day that is good, bad or indifferent makes us the people we are. Think about this... Are you a better person for this past year? I think after many years, and much reflection you will realize that alot was learned, both in knowledge(general) and about yourself.

SingleDatingMommy said...

keep talking thru the panic attacks. silly stories, the weather, 'this one time at band camp' might not look like it's doing anything, but it makes a world of difference. good luck, and happy birthday!

Tonia said...

Happy Birthday Sobrina! Remember as much as possible - especially poppy seed dressing and one-hooked women. Always combine the ridiculous and the sublime!

(Non) Fictionizer said...

What everybody else said!

It was my birthday on Sunday too...and I had to be reminded of my age!

Here's my thoughts on the matter: Embrace them (the chocolate bath option).

Unfortunately we don't have any choice as to whether we can keep the tough memories or not. I've found that they're like most pests: the more you fight them, the harder they fight back. You shrug your shoulders at them, and they'll back off a touch.

So go fill the bathtub with a million melted Hershey's kisses.

Happy Birthday to you Sobrina.

The Bug said...

Happy Birthday!

Mmm - a million melted Hershey's kisses... (picture Homer Simpson drooling - or not).

I love the gift from anthropologie - totally cool! I think wearing the buttons will be a good reminder that small joy can be found during any bad time.

Wishing you and Alan well.

Tri Mommy said...

Happy Birthday!

In reference to the panic attacks, I grew up in a home where my Dad had panic attacks. The thing that helped him most was counseling. He was able to talk about whatever it was that he needed to work through. My Mom and I went a time or two for our own sessions to help deal with the worry that you get when you see your loved one go through such wrenching panic attacks. People worry there is something "wrong" if you need to talk to a counselor, when really you're hurting yourself more by denying yourself the ability to be at peace.

I wish you the best of luck and have you all in my thoughts and prayers!

jfertran said...

Happy birthday, B! Wishing you a lovely day.

I'm Kim, by the way said...

Happy, happy birthday! I think in 20 or 30 years you'll look back and marvel at the incredible lessons life decided to teach you (sometimes in an unfair way) in your 25th year.

Anthro sent me one of those too. This is lame to say, but it may have been my best present. Unexpected and adorable (as was what I ended up buying with it.)

2busy said...

Happy Birthday! Try to focus on the positive things of your 25th year. Here's to a better 26th!

light208 said...

Feels a little late now, but Happy Birthday! Sometimes it's difficult seeing the wood for the trees, and having to be strong for so long is a hardship, but it's wonderful that you can still find small moments of happiness.

Hugs. Wishing you well.

Astroshock said...

Happy Birthday Sobrina. I suggest writing a letter to yourself about what it was like being 25. Then, years later when you wonder what it was like you can open it up and find out. It's kind of like time traveling.

growmyown said...

I'm much older and therefore have a different perspective on life, but after reading your blog for a while I have determined you have a wise, old soul. That is a good thing. I am glad you have decided to mark this birthday. I am a big believer in birthday observances. I also like New Year's Resolutions and Ground Hog's Day. Never miss an occasion to celebrate....something. Keep on posting, I enjoy reading. I think it helps both of us.

Daniella said...

On the evening of my 26th birthday, my husband barely had enough energy to walk to the back of our house to dig out the gift he had gotten me the month before. His cancer had spread to his lungs and made breathing more difficult.

Being that I have a January birthday, he had worked it in to his Christmas shopping.

My stepmom had picked John up to do his Christmas shopping that year and he joked with her that he wasn't even concerned about not having found his keys to lock the back door. In our house full of stuff, he had nothing to lose.

My gift was beautiful and I was touched at how thoughtful he was in choosing it. Something he knew I had been wanting, and would love.

There is a haze of memories about doctors, hospitals stays, chemotherapy and ER visits that led up to that time, but they have now blended into the mosaic of all my time.

Those memories have slipped out of their cloak of raw emotion and despair over time; allowing me to look back with peace and acceptance.

I wasn't sure what I was going to remember either, but now I know.

And I am sure it will change as I greet more and more birthday, and that is ok too.

I am telling you all of this because that is what I remember of that birthday - 9 years ago. Maybe it will help to know someone was in similar shoes.

I hope you have a wonderful birthday Sobrina.

Take good care of yourself.

joeypouch said...

happy birthday!! I'm kissing the 20s away today myself! Stay strong and stay funny - your barbed wit makes my day - my best to you both xx

skyla.arts said...

we are 1 day apart! (birthday wise!)

Shaista said...

I love the idea of writing a letter to ourselves on our birthday - but it might end up being too cheesy to read :) Maybe it is a good thing we keep forgetting our past selves - room for the new part to grow.
Happy Birthday, Happier Years xx

Chloe said...

Happy birthday, Sobrina, and as always- thinking of you through this tough time. I've been to the ER myself before with a panic attack (it happened right around the time when I was diagnosed and I was having a hard time dealing with everything) and they can be so scary! I thought I was seriously having a heart attack. The doctor checked my vitals, said no, and told me to go back home and breathe into a paper bag. Thanks doc. *sighs*

But anyway. Stay strong, lady. I know it isn't always easy. Thinking positive, happy thoughts for you and Alan, always.

And for the love of chocolate chip cookies- get your butt back on here and tell us what you BUY with the 15% off Anthropologie. Hee.

Lyndsay said...

I hope you had a great birthday, and I hope this is the start of a really, really great year for you!!

Erin P said...

Happy Birthday! I hope it's special (so far). I've had a year I wished to forget, and for me, it seems to have blurred into memory--both the bad and the good that happened then. I think you'll remember that you were strong enough to make it through, and strong enough to have kept doing everything you could do to help Alan. Keep moving forward, you have the strength, I can tell from your work.

Rachel said...

Happy Birthday Sobrina!

Breenuh said...

Dearest Sobrina,
Happy belated birthday. I hope your day was memorable, in a GOOD way. And I hope you use this card to get something lovely for yourself. Perhaps a cute apron?? :.)
While this year has been trying, you shouldn't want to forget it. It has shown you a strength you probably never knew you had. And when you look back, you may feel a pang of sadness, but you will mostly think "I got through it, and I'm better for it." You're also lucky to have someone who you care about enough to be with them through a difficult time.
So celebrate life, because no matter what mountains you're climbing you can't go back and experience it over again.

Giovanna Iorio said...

SORRY! I MISSED YOUR BIRTHDAY!I am back in work, the air is a bit fresher tonight and I can finally sleep. I just told "my" Alan that you just turned 25, and he reminded me that we met when he was 24 and I was 25! It was November and we were in Dublin then. He had a bike called Mimi, red and beautiful. I had a terrible cold for days. We promised that one day our children were going to be friends...and they are (although brother and sister can also hate each other sometime).
I hope your Alan feels better. Maybe he can write his own BLOG about how he feels. Tell him he needs a good "Piatto di carbonara", a good rest and lots of sleep. I hope you can both feel better. xxxxxxx Giovanna

Amanda said...

Have a fabulous birthday, and know your story is inspirational.

As I read your blog and keep updated on your journey in life I pray for you and your husband's health! Thank you for sharing your story. It touches our hearts!

Cham said...

First off, happy birthday! Rather than trying to remember 25, let this start a new year, a happier year, a healthier year.

I've tried to remember what it was like to be a different age as well. Sixteen was special, because I only had a few months left at the school I hated (then transferred for Jr & Sr years).I look back at 18: the month before my birthday, I had just gone to Mexico & gotten engaged, then April came and I was suddenly enabled to buy cigarettes and lottery tickets, then I had a wedding dress fitting, then I had final exams, then I picked up my wedding dress the same day I graduated, had a bridal shower the next day, then one month later, found myself married and on a honeymoon on the beach. Then I worked the rest of 18 away. Seems like all the memorable moments were squashed into a span of 2 months. Then 10 more of nothing terribly exciting. Now I'm 20 and so much has already happened in the first few months of this as well (moved to TX, went back to college), and not much exciting in the near foreseeable future. I like to think of it as the Even Years Phenomenon.

So hopefully your 26th year will be filled with at least a few exciting months, and if they're life changing months, I hope they are positive advances!

Rainysoul said...

Happy Birthday! 25 seems like a long time agao... lol

Sobrina Tung said...

Thanks all for the birthday wishes and for sharing your own birthday stories!!!

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