Despite my 19th birthday being nothing special, I will always remember this. I live in Alberta, Canada, where the legal adult age is 18, so turning 19 has not the slightest impact upon my life in that way. For personal reasons, I don't drink anyways, so turn 18 didn't even have a big impact on my life in that respect.
Not every birthday is important or memorable because of the number associated with it, though. For example, 16 days before my 16th birthday, my dog Mugs was put down because of a tumor in his lung. Even though I didn't care about turning 16, I'll always remember when that happened. This birthday has the same type of significance.
The first and most important reason for this birthday being important is that I'm about to take a vacation. I'm travelling to meet an internet love for the first time. We've known each other for four years, but we've never had the opprotunity to meet face to face. I know, that sounds pathetic. But there are reasons. On August 21st, 2001, I will get to run into the arms of my best friend and hug her. I am scared. I fear that my four year long relationship will be over before the end of the month. Both of us are worried that when we're together, things that aren't important over the internet will suddenly become apparent, obvious, important, and show-stopping. I fear this. I give myself a 50% chance of still having my love at the end of this month. Sad and pathetic odds. Please wish me luck.
The second reason for this birthday being important is that I am about to move out of my home of 19 years. Within a month of me being adopted by my parents, I was living in this house. It is my home, not just a house. My father gave me a piece of paper for my birthday, promising me $500 worth of furniture or other things I will need when I move out. $500 may just be a scratch on the surface, but it is making this moving out thing more real. More real than the unbelievable hope that it once was. I always knew I would move out, of course (maybe unlike my bum of a brother. *grin*), but to actually do it is a massive undertaking. Not just physically, but emotionally.
The third reason for this birthday being important is that for once in my life I feel some emotion towards my brother, other than hatred. My brother decided to also move out two weeks ago. (He is three years older than me.) Our basement where he bummed around for years without doing anything is getting empty, even though I don't know where he is taking his stuff. He is leaving because he hates my dad, and because he needs to get out on his own. He cannot always live dependant upon my father, but he always has. Based upon past experiences, I can even say that he can't hold down a job for more than a couple months. He has never really tried to, though. I feel pity for him now, not hatred. Nothing else though. Yet?
The last reason for this birthday being important is that it is now just over ten years since my mother died, the victim of leukemia. Given ten years, I have buried this pain and it is not a part of my day to day life. It has now been an immense amount of time since this tragedy occured though, and it's amazing that what once utterly destroyed my little nine-year-old life is now just a distant memory. It is already incredible to see how fast time passes.
"Because we do not know when we will die, we get to think of life as an inexhaustible well, and yet everything happens only a certain number of times... How many more times will you remember a certain afternoon of your childhood... that is so deeply a part of your being you can't even conceive of your life without it? Perhaps not even that. How many more times will you watch the full moon rise? Perhaps, twenty. And yet it all seems limitless."
Paul Bowles' novel The Sheltering Sky
Update, a year and a half later: Me and my internet love survived the vacation in August. We came out of it feeling even closer and more connected than ever before. And then we broke up in December, after the euphoria of being together wore off and I realized that I regreted the relationship.
I moved out of my house, moved into an apartment. It was good. Eventually moved out of there, across the country, and then back a little while later. It's all good.
As for my brother, he had a son in January and I became uncle Lao-Tzu. He's currently working full-time and looks to have a promising future for once.