I love nothing more than being the birthday girl. Not because I get to eat cake, wear a musical tiara, have everyone shower me with presents and have a legitimate reason to order people around all day; because for the whole day, no matter what I'm doing I have a lovely sparkly feeling surrounding me and even the dullest of tasks such as going to Sainsbury's or running errands in town are almost magical.
Last year was the big one-eight, and I don't think I realised until this year just how big it was. Obviously the beautiful legality of walking into a club, buying a drink and dancing with my friends was, at the time, the biggest and most wonderful thing I could imagine. Also, watching the sun go down over the Gold Coast from the top deck of the tallest building on the Southern Hemisphere, with my family all around me and a complimentary $16 Pina Colada in my hand, was one of the biggest and most wonderful moments of my life. Being given amazing permanent presents and more cards than ever before, and for once not feeling even the tiniest bit guilty that this one day was all about me, was quite simply the best. How do you top that?
Nineteen is, as I'd been warned by all my older friends, the most boring age imaginable. It's like a gigantic let down plus a slap in the face after having turned Exciting Eighteen the year before. Also, for a lot of family and friends, nineteen is the age when you stop giving presents and putting notes in cards. Luckily I'm not so materialistic that I need a million parcels to open or have a tantrum when I open a card and money doesn't fall out, but it's still a shame to see the pile of presents dwindling each year.
My birthday spirit will not be vanquished, however! Boring age or not, it's still my special day. I still get the birthday sparkles.
I turned nineteen while sitting on a train out of London Waterloo East, listening to Joshua Radin's classic 'Winter' and staring at the clock on my phone, counting down the minutes until midnight, sleepy but wide awake. I smiled like an idiot when it hit 00:00, did a little wiggle in my seat and got some scared and confused looks from an older couple sitting across the aisle from me who had until that point been happily munching on their Burger King goodies. I got my first birthday texts at 00:01 from a friend of a friend (who's become a friend) and my 24-hour twin (also born at 6:01pm, just the day after me). I got my first birthday phone call at 00:06 from a best friend travelling on a train in the opposite direction; "hey, so I heard it's your birthday or something..."
I spent the day with the family, planning our activities around three big meals. Just a nice, quiet and chilled day. I got 95 Facebook posts, 18 tweets and 15 Tumblr messages wishing me a Happy Birthday. A rather awesome best friend called me from Spain, AND sent me a present First Class when he got back two days later.
What was especially lovely about my birthday this year is that it was on a Wednesday, and I'd planned a night out in town to celebrate three days later on the Saturday (last night). I changed the plans from a nice dinner out to just a good old-fashioned drinking session in wonderfully cheap and delightfully dodgy Hastings; several friends from home made an appearance, plus an especially awesome friend from uni who got his first taste of the crazy seaside Sussex nightlife and gained the approval of all my friends (and trust me, they are hard to impress) within a matter of hours and ciders. I had a genuinely lovely night thanks to a borrowed dress, lots of Malibu, a drunk Scottish lad, a few stolen chips and some pretty cool people. I remember thinking as I got into bed that night, nineteen isn't so boring.