Dear reader, tomorrow — Wednesday, May 23 — is my birthday. I will be officially, and regrettably, 24 years old.

I must say I am not that big on celebrating my birthday. I’ve never had a big, blowout party, and when my parents ask me what I want for a gift, I usually tell them their respect and unconditional love would be just fine. I grudgingly accept checks.

The birthdays I’ve had so far have not been spectacular:

Last year, very much on a whim, I got a hotel room in Camden, drank a lot of chardonnay and ate a very large chocolate cupcake. Truly not a bad night.

On my 21st birthday, I was in bed by 10 p.m. because drinking was just not that much fun anymore.

I don’t have any idea what I did for my 18th birthday, but I still have yet to purchase a lottery ticket or a pack of cigarettes even though I totally can.


On my 17th birthday, I was taking Mrs. Fuchs’ honors English final which was very hard and included a lot of essay questions about transcendentalism. Also, Mrs. Fuchs didn’t like me and I still don’t know why.

I wasn’t able to get my driver’s license on my 16th birthday, so you can figure out how well that went.

One of the only birthday parties I ever had was when I turned 14 and it was held at a place called the Pizza Machine. The restaurant, which I now believe is closed (for good reason) made incredibly bad pizza that was also incredibly large. It was called Pizza Machine because they made a 40-inch pizza that they delivered to your table using a crane.

I remember the affair being incredibly awkward because I had the feeling we were all too old for this kind of thing, and a boy to whom I had just professed my love via a Myspace message, to which he gave a prompt rejection, showed up and didn’t say a word to me for the entire party.

It all could have been avoided if my dad hadn’t had that discounted party coupon.

On my 13th birthday I was stuck at home with the chickenpox, taking oatmeal baths and slathering globs of calamine lotion all over my skin.


My 11th birthday is an outlier because my mom brought home my beautiful, sassy cat, who I named Sadie, from the animal shelter. She is still the best present I’ve ever received.

I don’t have specific memories of birthdays 10 through one, but there is a photo at my mom’s house of myself on what I believe is my 4th birthday. I’ve got my signature childhood hairdo of straight-across bangs and I’m giving a pretty big smile over my cake, which was decorated to depict everyone’s favorite purple dinosaur, Barney. At that age I probably loved few things more than Barney and excessive amounts of frosting.

But this year, I have not at all been looking forward to my birthday, or more accurately, turning 24.

It’s not that I think the age 24 is particularly old. I just don’t think I should be 24 yet.

It feels as though I just turned 23, and that seems like the appropriate age for my current state of mind because my current state of mind is that I would like for time to freeze because it’s flying by way too quickly.

And I suppose that’s what I’m afraid of. That 24 will turn into 25, and 25 into 30, and I will have let those years go by as unceremoniously as all of my past birthdays.


I’m not sure I’ve done enough growing or lived enough life in the past year to warrant tacking another number onto my age.

It reminds me of a sentiment from the theme song of my favorite late-’90s melodrama: “I don’t wanna wait for our lives to be over.”

In other words, carpe diem, everybody.

The rest of the song doesn’t make a lot of sense (it’s about a romance during World War II?), but I think those are some words I’ll try to live by before I inevitably turn 25.

Emily Higginbotham, originally from Illinois, is a reporter at the Morning Sentinel. You can follow her on Twitter: @EmilyHigg. Or reach her by email:

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