Today, I woke up to the 28th year of my life with a pounding headache. If you must ask, no, there was no alcohol involved the night before. A light drizzle signalled the start of the day, and I pulled the covers over my head and snuggled closer to the person lying next to me, who was emitting soft snores until his alarm woke him up 10 minutes later.
I am having a day off. Specifically requested for it so that I don't have to face teenage angst, menopausal woes, and anxiety-related palpitations for the next 8 hours. I don't remember having a day off for my birthday, and it seems strange to me because all of a sudden, I am left in a lurch, not knowing what the heck to do on my first birthday off. I had plans to go shopping, but when I awoke from slumber a good three hours after he was gone for work, I just didn't feel like stepping out of the house. We had plans to go out for dinner tonight at one of the wineries, but now, I just feel like ordering in pizza and swigging down some Cabernet from the region.
Another year older, yet no wiser. Of late, it seems I am perpetually living in the 90's (or, trying to re-live the 90's as much as possible): I watch snippets of The X-Files on YouTube, I get excited when I catch re-runs of Friends on TV, I play my 90's playlist on iTunes over and over again and wonder why they never make R&B the way they made it in the 90's. My father was a child of the 60's. He sported a floppy haircut and tinted glasses like the Beatles. My mother was a child of the 70's, a flower child who grew up in bellbottoms and surrounded by idealisms of world peace. As for me, I identified with the 90's, a decade which saw the decline of cassette tapes and the evolution from VCDs to LDs to Blu-rays much later. It was a decade where being a geek was cool because sci-fi and all things paranormal were at their peak of popularity, and everything that screamed "Aliens!" or "UFOs!" attracted me to it. We had Fern Gully long before they had Avatar. We played on the streets, when the streets were still safe from snatch-thefts and daylight robberies, and neighbours passed around bowls of homemade laksa and Raya cookies over wired fences instead of cutting off ties by erecting 5-inch thick stone walls between houses. We had virtual pets living on a screen in little plastic eggs and talking toys resembling a cross between a hamster, an owl, and a gremlin, although come to think of it, it was kind of sad that tamagotchi and Furbies were our "pets" instead of actual, tail-wagging 4-legged creatures that slobbered all over you when you came home. "I wanna really really really zig a zig ahh" was a much simplistic phrase than "Poppin' bottles in the ice, like a blizzard; When we drink we do it right gettin slizzard; Sippin sizzurp in my ride, like a Three 6; Now I'm feelin so fly like a G6". Don't get me wrong, Far East Movement is great, but I still like the Spice Girls. Snicker all you want.
I have asked myself time and again why, why do I like the 90's so much despite it being a decade of experimental fashion (oversized t-shirts, oodles of denim, platform shoes-- all at once), almost-true-to-life horror stories that kept me awake and afraid of the dark that is nothing like that Twilight crap (RL Stine's Fear Street and Goosebumps, anyone?) , the tragic deaths of Kurt Cobain and Tu Pac (how it secretly affected me at that time), and the decade that housed the OJ Simpson trial and the Lewinsky scandal. I like the 90's because I think time stopped for me in that decade. In the 90's, I had all the time in the world to indulge in Nancy Drew and the Hardy Boys, watch Saved by the Bell on Saturday mornings followed by Care Bears, My Little Pony and Friends, Power Rangers, Ninja Turtles, and crazy Warner Bros cartoon characters trying to kill each other. I knew the Macarena dance by heart, and I knew each and every lyric of the Billboard top 100 songs (scary, come to think of it now). I thought Clarissa was the coolest girl on TV, and I thought Sweet Valley was an actual place in California that I would visit someday. I completed all my homework on time so that I could watch 3rd Rock from the Sun, Dharma and Greg, and Ally McBeal. If I couldn't catch a series, I'd tape it. Yes, video tape it, a concept as foreign to kids in the Noughties as a Sony walkman. My desktop computer took up half my desk, but I was over the moon because there was something called the Internet that I could access with my new 56k dial-up modem. You can't use the phone while you're surfing the net, my cousin had warned me, or else the connection goes dead. Dialling up took forever, but forever was what I had in the 90's, it seemed.
The dawn of the new millennium incited new changes, new beginnings. I stepped into Senior High, and inevitably left my 90's Self behind, not knowing that Senior High was going to propel me to adulthood far quicker than I thought. The Noughties turned out to be a trying decade, one which I'd rather leave behind than pick up the pieces I'd left scattered all over my late adolescence/ early twenties and attempting to glue them back together. I now know a lot of things I didn't know then-- that it is ok to make time for yourself, that there will be people who would ruin your life, and those who would change it for the better, that fate is something you guide yourself towards, and that it is perfectly ok to make mistakes along the way as long as you remember to forgive yourself, that being happy doesn't mean never being sad, and that it is ok to be sad because what is happiness without its opposite, that friendship is a fluid entity and is forever evolving according to each stage in your life, that personal goals can change, and that it is ok to achieve different aims as long as you are doing it for yourself and not for others, and that it is important to seek out what makes you happy in your life as opposed to what makes other people happy, and that the best thing you can give yourself is to love yourself.
So this is what I'm going to do. I'm going to love me.
Happy birthday, me.