Why my 22nd birthday is special

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By the time you read this, I will have turned 22 years old. Some might ask, am I feeling like Taylor Swift?

No, not particularly. I feel stuck in this weird limbo between teenager and adult as I get set to graduate in roughly three weeks. But for the first time in three years, I’m really excited for my birthday.

Two years ago, we were one month into a global pandemic and the most exciting part of my day for about two months was a stroll around the neighborhood block listening to music and FaceTiming my friends. Last year felt somewhat more normal. I ordered pizza with my friends and we sat around watching basketball.

I’m not much of a big birthday person, at least for myself. I love celebrating my friends’ birthdays, but when the attention is on me, I feel uncomfortable. As a kid, I had sleepovers with my friends instead of parties and rarely asked for specific gifts from my family. A simple night watching sports was perfect for me.

This week though, two of my old college friends from out of state are flying in for the weekend. One friend, Kevin Cook, a guy I lived with for the past two years, graduated a year early and I haven’t seen him since last July. Another, Michael Fitzpatrick, is flying in from Chicago. After we lived in the dorms together freshman year, he transferred to his dream school of Northwestern. I’ve kept in touch with both of them throughout the years. Even when we were living in different places during the height of the pandemic, we FaceTimed almost every day.

But I used my birthday as an excuse for us to get together one last time before we all will have graduated. And I’m just appreciative that they care enough about me to be here on my birthday.

I’ll pick both of them up at the airport on Wednesday and then I’m not sure what’s going to happen next.

There’s not much on the agenda for the week. We might play trivia on Wednesday night and maybe we’ll have a small gathering on Saturday night. None of that really matters to me. We could sit on the couch watching NBA on TNT for five days like we did all of freshman year and that would be OK.

I’m just happy this week is an excuse to get the boys back together.

Max Baker can be reached at max@chathamnr.com and @maxbaker_15.

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