Today: Jun 18, 2024

When life gives you lemons


I’m the kind of girl who’s wanted to turn 21 since I was 15. I had plans to go with my mom and a few relatives to Mohegan Sun on my 21st birthday; I was going to have my first legal drink at Margaritaville— their food is pretty good too. I was then going to gamble for the first time. I figured since it was my birthday I would be extra lucky, and I would potentially win big. I had even gotten a pink tiara over the summer I planned to wear, and I picked out my birthday outfit two months in advance. Saying I was excited was an understatement.

I consider myself to be one of the unluckiest people in the world, and my birthday is proof. Long story short, I started taking antibiotics instead of shots on my birthday because I had strep throat. Rather than going out, I found myself on the couch watching “Gnomeo and Juliet.” I thought the movie was actually pretty funny. It’s rated PG, but there’s several adult references a 4-year-old would never understand. And who wouldn’t love an gnome dressed up as Sir Elton John? However, this wasn’t exactly what I imagined I’d be doing on my 21st birthday.

I partially blame my mom for all of this. Two weeks before my birthday she kept saying, “Why are you still wearing flip flops? It’s not summer anymore. I don’t want you getting sick for your birthday!” So in a sense, I think she jinxed me.

However, I do put most of the blame on myself. I had such high hopes my birthday would be this spectacular day, and getting sick was one of God’s cruel jokes. As I’m writing this I found myself starting to think about Outkast’s song “Ms. Jackson.” Part of the lyrics are: “You can plan a pretty picnic, but you can’t predict the weather.” I thought this was a perfect way to describe life; especially my life. I’m overly organized and like having as much control as possible—this relates to everything, from classes to an outfit. However, no one can plan everything and expect perfection 100 percent of the time. But we do. And when the train is 10 minutes late or something doesn’t go exactly the way we planned, we freak out. My birthday wasn’t great. Strep throat was certainly not a part of my plan, but it happened. Instead of dwelling on it, I dealt with it. When life gives you lemons, make lemonade.

I celebrated my birthday five whole days late this year. My first legal drink wasn’t a margarita like I had decided on months ago— it was a Long Island iced tea (the first one I’ve ever had). I borrowed a friend’s shirt instead of wearing the shirt I designated for my birthday. I spent $21 on a round of three Patron shots. I didn’t gamble; I sang karaoke— luckily it was a group effort. After we finished Cheap Trick’s “I Want You to Want Me,” someone shouted in one of the microphones “Happy birthday Simone!” The next thing I knew everyone at the bar was singing happy birthday. I’ll be honest, I loved every second of it. The rest of the night is a little fuzzy— one guy told me to pace myself and I laughed at him— but overall the night was so much fun. I got to sit on a bar chair, which kinda made me feel special. When the bartender asked to see my ID, I was more than happy to show him. It wasn’t my actual birthday, but I honestly felt like a small child on Christmas morning. I was so excited, and I didn’t even try to hide it. I was still on antibiotics, but that’s OK. I figured I had waited long enough!

The celebration wasn’t planned; it was rather spontaneous. I’m still a control freak, but I’ve learned not everything has to be meticulously planned out. Sometimes things happen, whether it’s good or bad. I guess it’s like going downtown for lunch. You have to walk a few blocks because you can’t find a parking spot. As you’re walking to the restaurant, you can look around and stop in a store that sparks your interest, or you can walk with your head down, going directly to the restaurant. Ultimately, if you over-plan, you could potentially miss out on something that’s right in front of you.

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