The Age Of Aquarius


Exactly one week from today I will turn 27, and will probably be bemoaning the fact that I haven't done anything with my life. Which isn't strictly true, of course; I've done plenty of things with my life. But the fact that none of them involves curing cancer or adopting starving orphans or writing a best-selling novel will doubtless have me descending into paroxyms of despair.

It wasn't always like this. I used to not understand why people wanted their birthdays swept under the rug, why they didn't want to be reminded of turning another year older. When it was my turn, I planned parties and outfits and constantly chirped about how many days were left until the big celebration---and I'm not just talking about childhood, either; this went on until I was 23 or 24. But then 25 came, and with it a bizarre sense of having finally arrived in adulthood, in having suddenly crossed that threshold from the point at which it's still fairly acceptable for your parents to help you out with, say, your medical bills, to the point at which it's just really kind of lame. And from then on, it all went downhill: I just seemed to get older and older and older. The excitement and anticipation drained away, replaced by a grim determination to have a good time, and a violent relief when the whole thing was over.

So I'll be honest with you: I'm sort of dreading my 27th birthday. Perhaps it's because I don't have many (or really any) friends here yet. Perhaps it's because neither Sean nor I have found jobs, so the diamond earrings and the Mercedes convertible are probably out of the question. Perhaps it's because San Francisco still seems like sort of a mystery, a secret everyone else is in on while we're standing back on the outskirts. I mean, where does one even gorge on overpriced cake in this town?

Whatever it is, I'm looking forward to February 8th the way I'd be looking forward to a dance-off with Kevin Federline. No, wait, scratch that, a dance-off with Kevin Federline might actually be kind of fun. I'm looking forward to February 8th the way I'd be looking forward to a date with Kevin Federline. Which is to say: not much.

Feb 01, 2007

Gorging on over-priced cake in San Francisco is my specialty. Try Citizen Cake in Hayes Valley or, if you are willing to equate over-priced cake with over-priced pie, try Mission Pie. Now that I've bragged about my cake-finding abilities, I find myself running out of ideas. That's just sad. I've lived here for five years, I devote my life to the finding of sweets, and that's all I've got. I hope you feel better about the mysteries of San Francisco now. Wow.

Feb 02, 2007

I am just disturbing myself here. Ooh! Got it! Miette. Miette is good. I don't know about the sit-down possibilities but feast your eyes on the cake gallery:

I will now proceed to leave you alone and get on with my life. I hope you have a wonderful birthday.

Feb 02, 2007

Overpriced cakes? You mean you haven't been to Tartine yet? Oh, unemployed people, you must get there pronto to whittle away your days eating breakfast pastries and overpriced (but organic! locally grown ingredients!) cake.

Kara's Cupcakes makes a damn good cupcake if you want to scale it down.

Feb 02, 2007

Wait until you turn 30, then you will really be dreading it. I was OK with it, really, until my sister (who is 26) kept saying "I can't believe you're THIRTY!" Yes, thanks for the reminder. Pass the overpriced cake!

Feb 02, 2007

Awww, don't be so down on yourself! You could me be! I turn 29 next Friday on the 9th, and I haven't done neeeeearly as much as you have! (Although I guess you could trade buying a house on the Central Coast for traveling through Indonesia for 3 months? Nah, not really.)

I actually don't celebrate my birthday. But my mom calls me and starts in with the story in a sappy sing-songy voice: "You were born XX years ago, at 4:45 in the morning, and you were such a beautiful baaaaybee. Everywhere we went people exclaimed over how beautiful you were! Our first born..." blah blah blah. And I wake up that morning and think to myself: I am xx today. Weird.

I sortof have this thing going on in my head, though: since I'm turning 29, I'll have one year left of my 20's. And I wonder if I have used them to the full. Will I have any regrets. That's a no-brainer, I already have regrets. But there are good things, too. So, it's not so much Did I Do This and Did I Do That, but just a realization of how life panned out based on decisions I made. Were they good decisions? Were they bad? Well, now I have a decade of experience so as to make my 30's even better than my 20's. I'll be wiser, more experienced, smarter, all that. So I can make my good decisions better and eliminate my bad ones.

And, Holly, you do aim high, ya know. Of course, I do myself. But curing cancer? Writing a novel? Not everybody can do that. And I'm sure those people feel inadequae in other areas of their life too. Just think of all the little things you've done - they all add up to a great book of life's accomplishments. Meeting Sean, being a successful employee, living all over the world, traveling for 3 months, RIDING AN ELEPHANT!

And I mean what I said in an earlier comment: I'd love to meet you in person. I'm only 4 hours south of you on the 101. And Meepers from Chocklate is another hour south of me, and she'd love to meet you too! Give S.F. some time, a couple of months, and you'll settle in and feel right at home. I've always maintained that "home is where my stuff is". I can live anywhere, and know that I'm home when I open my door and see all of my familiar stuff, from bath towels to duvet covers to my CD and DVD collection, to my dishes and silverware.

Take care, girl. And though I don't celebrate birthdays, I'm glad you were born on February 8, 1980. :)

Feb 02, 2007

I just had my 27th birthday and I'm still all excited about birthdays - I reminded everyone it was coming like 10 times. I guess I'm never going to grow up... Anyway, 27's not bad. I have a kid, so I always tell myself he's my great contribution to society. I'll raise him up to do something really great and live vicariously through him. Isn't that every parent's dream? That way I can fake the glory while I sit on the couch eating bon-bons.

Anyway, if you want a nice quiet celebration at home, I have a cake recipe for you - I know yours come out as dry as mine, and this one won't, I promise! It's just cake mix and pudding and an egg - one box cake mix, 1 2/3 cups pudding, and one egg. That's it. Mix it up and bake as directed on the box. It will come out nice and moist and delicious no matter what you do.

Feb 02, 2007

Sweetie! Believe me when I tell you the best is yet to come. You don't even really come into your own until your thirties; that's when a woman is in her absolute prime. So, see, you're young yet -- embryonic, even.

Feb 02, 2007

I am waiting for your novel. Whether it's a best-seller or not is yet to be seen, but that day will come. You are such a gifted writer and racontuer (raconteuse?). Even if you simply compiled some sort of collection of these entries, you could totally market to the millions who love, say, David Sedaris.

Have a fabulous birthday! Maybe keep expectations really low and try out a cheap dive bar? Those are rarely unamusing and you might meet some cool locals. Nothing like PBR to wash down a pricey piece of cake.

Feb 02, 2007

I just turned 25 in Dec. I still enjoy "my special day", and as long as the gray hairs remain at bay (or at least they don't continue to grow) I will still look forward to it -- I think. I hope.

As far as going on a date with K Fed ... as long as he's still got Brit's money, imagine the cakes he can buy for your birthday? Hmmm.

Feb 02, 2007

i had the exact same feelings last november, when i turned 26. I used to love my birthday, and I always used make sure everyone was well informed of the number of days remaining until MY day (yes, november 9th is aliza day in my part of the world). But last year all i wanted was the day to come and go quickly as possible. I didn't count down, i remind anyone what month it was, or talk about what cake i wanted. I was actually hoping that it would come and go so fast, that it would go from november 8th, to november 10th and skip the 9th and i would be 25 forever. Unfortunatly, that didn't happen, and i turned 26. I spent the day with my mom and had dinner with my parents, and i realized that i'm 26 and nothing changed. I'm older, and wiser and greatful that i'm not 16, or 18, or even 21. Coz those are years i never want to live again!

Happy early birthday holly!

wood from sweetjuniper
Feb 02, 2007

We celebrated every birthday we ever had in san francisco with a chocolate cake from a place that used to be called "I Love chocolate." It's on arguello at clement (just a few blocks from our old apartment). It has a different name now. I'd be very happy if you ate a cake there on your birthday.

(27! you're a spring chicken.)

stepping over the junk
Feb 02, 2007

great, now you've got me thinking about my impending 34th birthday in April....I do the "buymyselfagreatbigdessert" thing. I also don't talk about it, just to see who remembers...a little game that is usually bordering insanity when I realize that I am disappointed when people DO remember.

I am sure you can find some good expensive cake for yourself right around Ghirardelli Square, eh?

Feb 02, 2007

I've been following your blog for a while now, and I decided that commenting (finally) would be my birthday present to you.
Yellow cake, with or without frosting, is my favorite. You can even put canned mandarin oranges in it for an extra moist yummy cake.
Or, you can have fun and go eat some overpriced cake. That's always good too.

Happy Birthday!

Feb 02, 2007

I kind-of feel the same way about birthdays; but I've always felt that way. I have never been a huge fan of being the center of attention... but I do enjoy getting my favorite people around a dinner table together. So that's usually my thing. -- Just did it last week, in fact! Us aquarians are supposed to relish a good celebration, so take Sean out for a piece of cake bigger than your head and enjoy it! 27s not so old. ;)

Feb 02, 2007

My 27th is in two days. I'm not really feeling it.

Feb 02, 2007

Babe, you are one of the coolest, funniest, daringest (yes it is a word, ask Shakespeare he used to make them up all the time) most accomplished people I know. (You know, in an internetty kind of way).

Good grief if you think you haven't done anything with your life..there isn't much hope for the rest of us.

Gretchen is completely right - the best is definitely yet to come. By the time you're 30 you're going to be a force of nature.

So snog Sean's head off and eat your own body weight in'll be fighting off friends in no time at all.

Feb 02, 2007

I turned 27 in November, and I must say: It was....meh. However, things have been getting better ever since. Something about feeling like, "You know what? I may not be perfect, but I'm happy and confidant and have a great guy. Yes, some things suck, but other things do not. This to shall pass." You know, all that crap. I do agree though- the best is yet to come! You're a veritable friend-magnet.

Feb 02, 2007

Okay you whippersnappers! I'm looking at the final year of my 30s at the end of this month. It's looking a bit like a very high cliff from here, but I can't quite tell yet. My birthday is on Feb. 29. Yes, Leap Year. And I used to love it as a kid because it went on for a week as people would say "I wasn't quite sure when you celebrate, so here!" and present me with card or gift. Now, I don't think a week of birthday is warranted. In fact, I have been known to say, "hey, no 29th this year, no birthday for me!!"
The fact that my mother refuses to participate in my little parade of denial doesn't keep me from denying it anyway.
Enjoy your birthday. You're a pup. And that cake? Mmmm...raspberries!!

Feb 02, 2007

You totally said what I've been feeling!! My birthday is on the 12th and I'm going to be 29 (gasp). I have been excited about all of my birthdays until this one. But, what can we do? Try and dodge as we might that new year added to our lives will find us. So, I hope you do find a great place to eat over-priced cake and that you have a very happy birthday! You can always get the Mercedes next year ...
(Also, who made that delicious looking cake at the top?)

I just turned 26 and I made an executive decision regarding my birthdays. From now on I will only be celebrating on the 5's. So that means I am still 25, until I turn 30, then I will be 30 until I turn 35 etc. 25 feels like such a hump doesn't it, like once you are on the other side of it, all the years between that hump and the next hump (which I believe is thirty) feel off and odd and low and depressing so I am going to try and hang on to the highs as long as possible.

Feb 02, 2007

I used to have pretensions of maturity, but I am better now.

I was the youngest person in my family, and in my class, and pretty much everywhere else I went until I turned 24 and started the job where I am now and realised with quite a shock to my system that there were people younger than me, and a lot of those were my clients (I support people who have children under 5). I spent 23 years feeling like a baby, always behind the world somehow, spent my 23rd birthday in a panic about (ohmygod will i be single and forever, and won't ever achieve anything or get a job I like blah blah blah). 24 and 25 felt like my coming of age time, and then at 26 I got married and suddenly started feeling really young again (but not in a positive way, as in too young - like I was living in America and drinking at 19 or something; that the life I'm living ought to really be entrusted to someone much older, someone less likely to clap when excited and wear pink glitter encrusted hats around the house).

You have done a lot of things, objectively. You've travelled to and lived in quite a few different countries/cities, you got posh clothes sewn in Vietnam, you've built solid relationships with your family and your partner (and I assume cats) so bring on the overpriced cake I say!

I know it's difficult to be in a strange city, but at least you are there with someone you love. Happy relationships are rare - so just relax and enjoy the one you have, in your beautiful apartment (homeless folk at the door or not) and sod the small stuff.

Feb 02, 2007

I am actually ancient compared to as I just turned 40 however, Gretchen is so right. Your 30's are the absolute best time EVER! I too didn't believe people when they told me this when I was 27 (I can too remember that far back!) but then I entered my 30s and WOW! were they ever awesome! That was my only regret at turning 40 was that I had to say good bye to my 30s. I have a couple of friends who are saying to me that if I liked my 30s that my 40s are even better and so far, it is pretty great.

My lovely man did the best thing for my big birthday - he threw me a KICK ASS party that made my entry into the 4th decade in my life a total blast. This is my advice to Sean - whatever you both do to celebrate the day of your birth, he must make it as much fun as possible. This way, no matter what you look back and say turning 27 was a total blast!

Have a great birthday and know that it only gets better with each year! I swear - this is not just a Hallmark platitude - it really does!

Feb 02, 2007

I'm glad I'm not the only one. I'll be 27 on the 12th and I am most definitely not looking forward to it either.

Feb 02, 2007

Can I just say that I'm a little sad that the words "dance off" were not followed by my name.

Feb 02, 2007

maybe the countdown is an aquarius thing? i was doing the exact same things until this year, when i turned 26. i think the only reason i celebrated and got excited about 25 is because my odd birthdays always rock, the evens always suck. i needed one last birthday to be excited about and now i'm done. happy early birthday! i hope it's FANtastic. =)

Feb 02, 2007

i turn 34 on Monday. the funny thing is, last year i was still only 21, so how it is that i'm now 34 is beyond me. But i can report this: our 30s ROCK. so that's something to look forward to :-)

so happy birthday in advance from a fellow british aquarian x

Feb 02, 2007

It gets better, I promise! And I'm in total agreement with whoever said that the 30s are the best. I never felt like MYSELF until I turned 30.

Happy Birthday Holly!

Renee in GA
Feb 02, 2007

I just turned 40. FORTY. I still can't believe it. I spent the last year being violently angry that I am -this- old. Four months into 40, I am still meh about my age. But I really do wish I had back all of the energy I wasted actively dreading the number. It was a LOT of energy.

You are a woman of great accomplishments and many talents. You will have a fabulous year, no matter what the number. Have your cake and eat it too!

Nothing But Bonfires
Feb 02, 2007

Ooh, that cake, it WAS delicious. It was chocolate mousse, I think, and then my friend Melissa (who bought it for me) covered it with raspberries. It was the year I turned 25. It came from Fast & French in Charleston:

Feb 02, 2007

I am going to be 40 on March 11th. I am not looking forward to this. However, March 11th is a Sunday so I will be at karaoke and drinking as much liquor as I can without throwing up or telling people that I love them (so probably 2 drinks. I'm a lightweight since I only drink about once a year).

25 was bad because it was the whole quarter of a century thing. 29 was horrible because it was one year from 30. Actually, 30 wasn't that bad when I think about it. In a way, I'm kind of looking forward to 40. Sort of as I would look forward to chaperoning a date between you and K Fed which would mean a lot because boy, could you make fun of him in such a subtle way that he would never catch on and that would amuse me.

Eat lots of cake. Enjoy your birthday. 40 comes faster than you would think.

Feb 02, 2007

Hi, I stumbled onto your page from another blog I read, I happen to be turning 27 on the same day as you! I'm not overly excited about it, though I've never made a big deal about my b-day. This year my friends and I are getting together for sushi either in the Mission or Russian Hill.

Your first commentor is correct, I believe Citizen Cake in Hayes Valley is the place for overpriced cake these days. Let me know if you're ever up for meeting some new friends in SF!

Feb 02, 2007

Twenty-seven was most assuredly one of the best years of my life. Enjoy!

Feb 02, 2007

I absolutely agree with everyone who said the 30s, they ROCK. I was Not Happy about turning 30, but I am so much more confident, centered, content now than I ever was in my 20s. (That said, I still can't believe I'm 34. Honestly, it's not like I'm any more mature than I was at 24.) Besides, your birthday is just another opportunity to gorge on cake, which can never, ever be a bad thing.

And while we're talking about KFed, you must see this:

Feb 02, 2007

why, Citizen Cake of course!
399 Grove St
San Francisco, CA 94102
(415) 861-2228

Feb 02, 2007

or, alternatively, i would LOVE to make you a nice pretty birthday cake. i made roommate L a lovely lemon chiffon with buttercream for her birthday 2 weeks ago.

Feb 02, 2007

I love how the letters are kind of melting in this photo... :D
Happy birthday a little bit early!

Thespian Libby
Feb 02, 2007

Oh please y'all. 27? 30-something? 40? I'm 51 today people. FIFTY-ONE. Do you have any idea how OLD 51 sounds? (Don't be silly Libster. Of course they do.) And what have I done with my life I ask you? Other than have some strange man promise to give me information "later" about a certain camel. By the way, he never did get that to me...... Having spent my 50th year living across the hall from Holly/Sean/Charlie/Sadie, 51 pales in comparison. On the other hand, my much younger boss gifted me with a bazillion dollars worth of Botox. I now have the most serene forehead on the planet. Or at least in Charleston. So. Cheer up kidaroonies. It could be worse.

Feb 02, 2007

27 was the exact year I started dreading birthdays as well. Just be glad you have so much to celebrate.

Feb 03, 2007

First of all, I refuse to hear that you "haven't done anything" with your life. As your people would say, rubbish! You've traveled all over Asia (and beyond), you've been a part of a published book. You are in a deeply committed relationship. You are a great writer, so funny and sweet and smart. People adore you all over the world! Give yourself some credit! Also, you own a Kitchen Aid mixer and that impresses me. I'm married and I don't have one!

Just so you know, I think the late twenties are so much better than I would have thought. It's really good to know yourself and feel that you are finding your way -which may be hard at the moment, but trust me on this. Twenty-seven was great year for me, I hope it will be just as wonderful for you.

Feb 03, 2007

Well - if it wasn't for Thespian Libby - I would be the oldest old foggy here, but I tip my hat to you my dear.

I turn 50 this year . . . but more importantly my wonderful bride turns 46 the same day as our lovely Holly. I've known here since she was 13 and I was 16. We got married when she was 18 and I was 21 . . . and divorced 17 years later - took 5 years off for bad behavior, came to our senses and got married again and just celebrated our second 5th anniversay last 12/29/06.

But back to the age thing. 20's were kind of blah. 30's a lot better. 40's way better and I suspect 50's will totally rock! I look forward to every birthday. Life is such a wonderful ride (even with all the ups and downs - and you can infer from what I've just shared that Lisa and I have experienced a few) that it's a blessing and an honor to celebrate the passing of one little marker along the way.

You've been blessed with a wonderful family and a dear soul in Sean who seems to possess the things that make you happy . . . so rock that birthday deary!

Feb 04, 2007

i will be 45 on march 16 and damn proud of that fact. i don't think i've EVER had a birthday i wanted to sweep under the rug. after all, your birthday is all about YOU! (well, that is, more so than any other day!) I've never let anyone forget my birthday, either.

enjoy! i can hardly wait to go check out the book, too. now, THAT is something to be proud of.

Feb 04, 2007

Holly, oh to be 27 again! NOT! But it was a great time, enjoy it all. I will be 53 this year, and was married the year you were born. I love your blog, so very entertaining and funny. Keep up the adventures.

Feb 04, 2007

Hey Holly! I met the love of my life at 27, so it was a very good year for me. 30 was even better cause that´s when we had our babygirl, our beautiful little Stella.. When I got to know you in CT (was it in -98, -99..? ) you and Sean were still kind of off and on. Look at you two now!! I was so happy to see that you two are still together.
Don´t dread your birthdays, the thirties aren´t bad at all, I promise..
Lots of early birthdayhugs from Lisa or should I say "Mrs Wheeler" :-) - one of your long lost friends

Feb 08, 2007

Breakdown of the Joys of Age:
16-you can drive
18-you can vote (and go fight a war! Yea!)
21-you can drink (as if any of us waited....)
**here's where it goes downhill...**
25-car insurance gets cheaper (and now that we pay that ourselves- we are happy...)
26,27,28,... Um.....?

But the great thing is, once you realize that every year of your life actually gets better without the fancy little perks like driving and drinking (ha!-not together) and insurance premiums, that's when the really cool stuff starts to happen. LIke finding the love of your life, creating new life, or just being able to enjoy a quiet Sunday.

Cheesy I know, but it keeps me sane. :)