Tomorrow is my 22nd birthday. This is officially a non-exciting birthday. Who cares about 22? Nobody. To make myself feel better about 22, I will share with you the highlights of my Big Birthdays from the past decade:

13: My 13th birthday was overshadowed by my Bat Mitzvah, that most absurd of Jewish coming of age rituals. I was not in fact a “woman,” but rather a gawky, training bra-wearing, braces clad barely adolescent. Awkward. However, I did end up with lots of jewelry and books about Jewish women scientists, athletes and so on.

16: Awesome birthday! I got my license and a car, which made me feel totally independent and totally cool. Not to mention, I was one of the first of my friends to be able to drive and I didn’t have a curfew. Plus I had a pretty super Sweet 16, in a totally non-MTV way. I proceeded to get into no less than four car accidents before my 17th birthday.

18: Becoming “legal” was anti-climatic. As a non-smoker who doesn’t care much for gambling or porn and turned 18 during a non-election year, this birthday felt pretty normal. It was marked by me freaking out about getting into Penn and by a surprise visit from my college-aged friends who came home for their fall breaks.

21: Becoming the other kind of legal was also anti-climatic. I got unintentionally sick, and ended up by myself vomiting in my bedroom a little after midnight. UNFUN. I did inaugurate what will now be my staple Halloween costume, though. Wear a sparkly dress and put a bow in your hair… and you’re a present! You then get to have the following exchange over and over again: “What are you?” “A present! It’s my birthday!” “Happy birthday! Let me buy you a drink!”

So maybe in retrospect, all those Big Birthdays weren’t particularly eventful. And maybe 22 won’t be particularly uneventful.

I won't be celebrating Samhain (see pg. 18) or having candy corn cordials (pg. 7) ­— I may not even do anything scary (pg. 16). But yes, I will be dressing up as a present tonight.

Champagne and cupcakes, Julia


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