Degrees of Oddity

Birthday Blues

August 12th, 2014

So, as some of my massive multitude of readers may know, I turn 24 in about…an hour and a half. And counting.  This birthday is not significant in any way recognized by society or the government or anything. It is in that it’s the last year I’ll be ‘early twenties’. Although, really, I’m probably mid-twenties at this point. I’m not going to sit here and say my life has gone nowhere. I know where it’s going, I know it takes time and work and effort to get there. I know I will get where I want to be.


I may not be married or have children, may not have a house or a car…Or even financial independence, but I do have a lot. Large, loving families on all three sides (plus a family that has adopted me into their fold).  I’ve graduated high school, community college and a university. I’ve done a number of theatrical shows, I’ve been alive to see both The Lord of the Rings and The Hobbit trilogy come to life on the screen. I know, I know, that’s a silly thing, but among fantasy writers J.R.R. Tolkien is a master. And I love him.


Tonight I’m feeling a little down. Not depressed, mind you. Just a little reflective and sad. Childhood ended a long time ago for me, but I clung to it and it’s only in the last two years that I’ve really watched it leave my reach. I’ve lost two grandfathers, two men who influenced who I am today a great deal. One, Grandpa Jay, helped raise me in my formative years. Changed diapers (or so I’ve been told), had me over to his house quite often and was an utter joy to be around, even when he was grumpy. I will remember that’s important to sometimes tell the story of the clock when someone asks the time, even though that may take a great deal more time and quite a bit of my listener’s patience. And trying new recipes is never a bad thing.  The second, Grandpa Aral, was definitely a huge impact on my teenage years. He tutored me when I was in middle school and struggling through one class or another, took me fishing and we even unintentionally braved a storm in a canoe.  He believed me when I told him I wanted to be a writer and challenged me in ways that helped me grow.


Yesterday the world lost another great man. Robin Williams. I cried for him as I had cried for my two family members. In an odd way, he himself also influenced me growing up. I watched Hook, Jumanji, Flubber, Aladdin, FernGully, Mrs. Doubtfire, on and on, growing up. I’ve been watching his movies since I was little, and discovering new gems as I’ve grown older (The Birdcage comes to mind as one of my favorites).  While I may never have known the man, I loved him for the way he inspired me through his roles. I’ve even discovered that I love his stand-up. He was a brilliant man and the world is dimmer without him, although the stars have brightened for having his presence among them.


Tonight I got online to lament the fact that I’m about to turn 24 and am legitimately broke. I don’t have thousands of dollars in inheritance magically coming my way ala Hollywood movies, I have a dream that seems far away and daunting and millions of insecurities and worries. I’m caught, at the moment, between two jobs. One that I’ve been working at my entire college career, is losing it’s biggest client and is compensating for that by cancelling the shifts of a large percentage of their employees. Every day. The other is about to start training me…The day after my birthday. I haven’t worked a single day since the end of last month, which means I’m not going to get anything this pay period. I’m worried about how I’m going to pay bills, how I’m going to save up money, how I’m going to be able to do anything.


But…writing this. I realized that while I may have little in monetary value. I am rich in family and in love.  I don’t think there’s anything greater than having a genuinely tight bond with one’s family.  Yes, you may choose your family, and sometimes that means walking away from those who raised you, but…In the end, family is made up of the people who are there in the darkest times and in the brightest, who cheer you on even when you’re broke and scrambling for a dream just out of reach and who help dust you off when you fall.


So, for all my first world worries, I still count myself as extremely lucky. And very very happy. I’ll be 24 soon. And what a year awaits.

2 Responses to “Birthday Blues”

  1. Les Jenkins says:

    Happy Birthday, kiddo! Remember that you are doing very well. Especially compared to me at that age. Graduating from two colleges is no small feat and you have the ambition to realize your dreams. I’m so very proud that you are my daughter and I love you very much.

  2. momma says:

    There was a little lump in my throat as I read of the two grandfathers They would be happy to know you loved them. Your dad is right you have accomplished so much more in you 24 years than so many people and you will continue to do so. I too am very proud of you Just keeping looking and stepping forward. Your going to make it sweetheart. Love you gram

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