It still feels strange in my mouth when I say it, even though many of my friends have been nineteen for a while now. I don't know why, but there seems to be less romance associated with nineteen than the rest of my teenage years. Nineteen feels more real in a way than the rest, like I finally have to start to get my act together because I'm not a child anymore and I can't keep pretending I am. The possibilities that were so abundant before are transforming quickly into a handful of actual choices that I will have to address soon. 

I fear the relentless march of time and the inevitable age that comes with it. Perhaps it's because of my grandmother, but I can't stand the thought of becoming old and irrelevant to the world, just someone that everyone just puts up with and plays along with and coddles. Yes, I know that with age comes experience and everything, but I love being young and filled with possibility and potential, having people underestimate my talents and then blowing them out of the water. There's such a novelty to young talented things, that I feel like at nineteen I can't pull the precocious photographer shtick I did at fifteen anymore. 

Regardless of it all though, I'm still young and I intend on soaking in every second and enjoying it in the company of those I love, however ephemeral these days are. In the end, it matters little how old or young I am and I feel silly for fixating so much about it some days. The way I spend the days I have on this earth matter so much more than the number of days, minutes, seconds I've been here. 

It started the second that the clock struck midnight on my birthday. I was Skyping with a friend when suddenly Carrie, Deb, Amal, and Emily are in my room singing Happy Birthday. Gifts, cards, cookies, hugs.

The following evening, I went out to dinner with my birthday twin, Danielle, who I met last year doing Project SHINE. She's one of the sweetest people I've had the pleasure of meeting at college. We spent a lot of last semester with Matt having weekly Diner dates after our SHINE sessions and sending letters to each other. Dinner was at a local hibachi place with Dani's roommate Beth + her roommate from last year Meredith + Matt and his roommate Adam. Roomie party, basically.

Dani's gorgeous dorm room that Beth decorated.
Matt and Dani
Birthday girls.

Mer and Matt 

Dinner was going great, until Adam mentioned to the servers that it was our birthdays. Within ten minutes, a disco ball came on, the sound of drums filled the restaurant, and the servers came out singing. A shot of sake was poured on a ball of fried ice cream and set on fire in front of me. Danielle and I looked at each other in delight at all of it and we blew out our mock candles.

Then the masks came out.

And then the masks went on our heads.

And then we had to shake our booties. Part traumatizing, part hilarious.


When I went back to my dorm, there was a crowd of people waiting. My amazing friend and fellow baker Emily had made me a cake in the shape of a camera (is anyone really surprised?) and invited over my friends to celebrate. It was a wonderful moment in time, just looking around seeing that room filled with people that loved me. The rest of the night was spent with my friends, talking and eating cake in the common room, then finally deciding to start work at midnight. Pretty brutal sleepless night of work immediately following, but oh so worth it.