Happy Birthday To Me

Dear Carmen,

Today is your 23rd birthday. I don’t really know why I’m addressing me as a ‘you’ in the third person, but there aren’t exactly rule books for this sort of thing. How does…one, address…themselves? Am I writing to the 22 year old me in the past (and I’m now in the future)? Do we just talk like we’re in the same room? Are we a we? Fuck, I have no idea. Figure this out by the time you’re 24, okay.

Anyway, I think if I had to characterize the events of this past year it would fall into some sort of I-Never-Would-Have-Guessed-It category. If someone had told me five years ago that I’d be living in Toronto of all places I probably wouldn’t have believed them. I know for certain there were moments when I believed I would never graduate on time, that the weight of unbearable anxiety would eventually just crush me like a bug. And yet, voila, I made it out of that bitch alive. (The bitch here being an arts degree). I don’t think this whole sentiment is negative though, because I like to think that in a year I’ll be somewhere else in a situation I can’t anticipate right now. The idea of settling into any one place right now is…well, unsettling to me. I guess I see Toronto as one little dot on the larger connect-the-dots shape of things for me. I bet that shape is a pineapple, or maybe something way more complicated like a tidal wave pattern from a geography textbook.

In terms of surveying the past in an effort to grab the future by the balls more aptly, I would say this Carm Carm: everything works out, everything eventually becomes okay. This whole being calm thing, not worrying as much, being positive – it feels good. Aaaand, you’re probably not shaving years off your life anymore (like you certainly did while writing essay after essay after essay on the marital practices of Hindu women in rural contemporary nationalist communities). Thank God though for that eastern religions minor! Surely it will come in handy at a dinner party in your future.

If I were the type of person to make prolific check lists (I am not), we might go through the past year and try to evaluate which categories of life were accomplished. There was that graduation (bravo bravo), that terrible surgery that involved wisdom teeth, percocets, and ongoing physio a year after (ozay!), that move of cities (why not?), that giant life change (let’s not go there on the internetz), and that new realization that making limoncello when life gives you lemons is totally doable. Okay, this is getting cryptic, moving on…

So what now and forever more? You drink a lot, but you worry less. You don’t make a lot of money, but there’s always stripping (joking mom!). You are…older, but surely the wisdom meter has increased too. (Alright, I’m not so sure about this last one but whatever). As for advice in the next year: stop cutting your own hair, you look like an idiot, call your family more often, write a book, and for the love of God, answer your fucking emails you dead beat.