XXI

So. Fun fact: I turned twenty-one yesterday! I have officially joined the world of twenty-somethings. It feels a little overdue, to be honest, because there are seriously days I feel like I’m closer to eighty than twenty. *shakes head* But yeah, yeah, it’s not a big deal. Save for some profession-related technicalities the particular age of two decades and a year entails for me, yesterday (like any other birthday, for that matter) was an ordinary day. I did get showered with a bit more attention than usual, of course, and it was not as quiet as last year’s affair (which involved me spending all day alone in a dorm room in Manila, with only textbooks and review materials for company…although I did enjoy a single-person-junk-food-dance party because I’m pathetic like that) but still: Perfectly Normal Day. However, in the interest of having something to blog/blab about, I shall share here Four Cool* Things I Did On My Twenty-First Birthday.

*but not all that cool, actually. More like, Four Things That Don’t Usually Happen On a Normal Day But Happened On My Twenty-First Birthday. (What a mouthful!)

  1. I got a major haircut! Well, technically, I got one two days before my birthday, but that was just because I couldn’t wait. (Hee.) I got about TEN INCHES of hair chopped off, you guise!! It’s the shortest my hair has ever been since elementary school days! And I am very, very pleased. Before having it cut, my hair was almost always in a bun anyways, when it wasn’t wet, because it was such a nuisance. Not to mention it made my neck sweaty all the time. Ugh. Plus it took a ridiculous amount of effort to wash. When I last got a cut October of the previous year, the plan was to grow it out to, like, waist-length (because I’ve never had hair that long) but man, long hair is so high maintenance, and I wasn’t up for it anymore, lazybutt that I am. And so I felt, for my birthday, it was time for my own short hair, don’t care moment. And I don’t regret it one bit! Short hair feels so liberating. It’s literally a huge weight off your skull. And it dries so fast! I cannot get over that! Lol. But um, I couldn’t really judge if my now-collarbone-length hair suits me better than the past-the-breasts long waves I had, but I feel so much better, enough that I can smile at the mirror more now. Which is what matters, right? And that’s why I think it was worth it. Also, “A woman who cuts her hair is about to change her life,” said Coco Chanel, and I am SO up for a life change. If some motivational powers can come from chopping inches of locks off, I’m gladly taking the plunge.
  2. I confidently cooked spaghetti! The operative word here being confidently. See, I don’t really cook. I can fry and boil stuff, thanks to all those home ec classes, and I’ve occasionally assisted my mother in the kitchen over the years, but I don’t really cook. I’ve never had to. And I can’t say I enjoy it. I think it’s exclusively for people with magical hands. (And I’m not one of them, obviously.) I like baking better, because it’s, you know, a science — measurements are exact to the teaspoon, and there are precise step-by-step procedures. Cooking, on the other hand, is more of an art, with lots of estimation involved. I am not comfortable with that. I struggle with instructions like, “Add salt and pepper to taste.” Like, whut? How much salt and pepper exactly?!?! What if I don’t trust my taste buds? I want numbers! But during the past year, my mom has been training me to be more confident in the kitchen. Particularly in the field of spaghetti. At first it was just me boiling the pasta and her cooking the sauce, which eventually led to me cooking everything and her doing the final touches, until she wasn’t helping me at all any longer. I still am usually plenty anxious when left alone in the kitchen, though, going “What am I doing Did I put enough ketchup Does that taste right already or what Do I need to put more cheese or…?” and sweating profusely in stress. But yesterday my mom wasn’t around, and I had to serve the people in the household (more than I’m used to), and surprisingly enough I bravely handled cooking a kilogram of spaghetti without much stress and anxiety. And my cousins seemed to like it enough! What do you know. Practice is perfect. The things we can achieve when we’ve got no other choice but to do them…
  3. I took a trip to Fully Booked and splurged on books! Well this isn’t in any way shocking to you now, is it? I have to say though: the discount card is heaven sent. You should totally get one for yourself.
  4. I sent an email to my future self. Okay, I gotta admit this one is quite cool. (Although I shouldn’t really be thinking about it anymore, since the point is to not remember the existence of the email when the time comes.) But yeah: I composed a long novel of an email, scheduled to be sent on my birthday five years in the future, and addressed it for 26-year-old Nenen, to a Gmail account I’m sure I won’t delete. What pushed me to do it, you ask? Well to be honest I’ve heard of burying time capsules and sending emails to the future a long time ago, but I didn’t get the urge to seriously try it until I’ve read about Esther Earl sending one in her memoir This Star Won’t Go Out. Unfortunately she had already succumbed to cancer by the time it was received (but cleverly she sent it to her parents’ email so it would be read). Still, somehow that intrigued me, the idea of throwing something at the space-time continuum, knowing I could be dead by that time, or an entirely changed person, or every other possibility, really. (Of course, it would be more exciting to receive a letter from my future self, giving advice to me now, and foreshadowing my eventual fate, but alas, we haven’t unlocked the time travel technology for that yet.) The thing is, I’m quite looking forward to my twenties, actually. That’s kind of the main thing that’s driven me to do it. I’m hopeful and excited to know what could be in store for me in the next few years. I’m excited to learn more about the world, and maybe explore more of it, and have more meaningful conversations with people. Heck, I’m happy to be able to shed off the immaturity and insecurity and self-importance and sense-of-invincibility that has plagued me in all my teenage years. (When I look at some posts from teenagers I follow on Twitter now, I sometimes laugh to myself, “God, I’m so glad I’m past that!“) And so, I thought, why not send all this hope and excitement into the void? I’ve written a journal entry earlier this year about how I kind of wish I kept a diary in my early teens, just so I could glimpse again what that time felt like, and how maybe my view of the world then could help me figure out my world now. In the same way, I’d like to think a letter from 21-year-old me might give her 26-year-old version a much-needed reality check, or perhaps a dose of nostalgia, or at the very least, a jolly good laugh. So in my email, I freely talked about random thoughts, tidbits about the world right now, as well as my very present feelings, but also my honest-to-goodness hopes and reminders for the future. All very personal. Very from me, to me. I sent it privately via FutureMe (try reading public letters from their site! Amusing!), and afterwards I deleted all copies and drafts of the email. So there’s no way I can cheat on reading it earlier than planned. Also so I could start forgetting everything I wrote. It’s all out there in the confines of time travel now. Sure, I’m aware that the FutureMe site could be gone five years from now, thus trashing my email, or yes, I could be dead by 2019 (and the email is for my eyes only so I’m not ever sending it to another person’s inbox; if I can’t read it, no one else will) but just as possibly, I could receive the email five years from now. The whole idea is eerily freaky (freakily eerie?)… but FUN. The coolest thing I tried on my birthday, I’d say.

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