My birthday: and the story of my first cell phone

Do you remember when you got your first cell phone? I do. For me, it was nine years ago today. The same day as my 18th birthday. From how I remember that first cell phone, it weighed roughly seven pounds and it actually had to be carried in a backpack like a Vietnam era communications device. It had to be operated by a hand crank. It was a phone from Virgin Mobile that I had to pay by the minute (25 cents! In today’s economy, it would be like $3 a minute). If you talked more than 10 minutes in a day, the rate dropped to the much more affordable rate of 10 cents a minute.

Less than a year later, I moved away for college and my mother thought that it would be safer for me to have a phone which would have better coverage throughout Ohio and so I received a flip phone. I begrudgingly gave my original cell phone to my younger sister.

In other words.

Before I had turned NINETEEN, my sister was in possession of MY 18th birthday present.

If it had been up to me (which it wasn’t), I would have preferred to have destroyed the phone instead of giving it to her. It really wasn’t fair. I had to wait 18 years for a phone and she had one when she was 14.

But I digress…

Another year has come and gone. I still vividly remember writing the words for a post on my 26th birthday. It’s hard to believe that was a year ago. 26 was good to me. The year before was the hardest year of my life, but it ended with an optimistic sense for what the future held. A year later, I’ve started graduate school and moved to the Chicago area. I’ve been blessed by the continual love and support of my family and so many friends, but I’ve also been fortunate to have a number of wonderful people enter my life these past 12 months through school and other activities.

When I wrote a year ago, I was in the early stages of applying to graduate school but it was something that I was still keeping quiet. I suppose that a few trials and errors from the previous three years had left me a bit gun shy when it came to talking about future ambitions. Once again this year, I have specific goals I’m working towards and places where I’d like to be by the time I’m 28. And once again, I’ll keep those goals to myself for the time being.

For people who read my blog regularly, it’s no secret that I’m obsessed with anniversaries of things. With that being said, it should be no surprise that, for me, the anniversary OF MY OWN BIRTH is important. Every year, my birthday serves as somewhat of a benchmark where I can take a deep breath and evaluate where I am in life and where I want to be. I think that birthdays are a natural time to do this. We grow up thinking that it’s a day which revolves around us. Furthermore, as we grow up, our birthdays are periods of different milestones. First birthday, 10th birthday (double digits), 13th birthday (teenager), 18th birthday (legal), 20th birthday (no longer a teenager), 21st (legal drinking age).

Today is a different type of milestone. It’s my first birthday outside of Ohio. In the Central Time Zone, I still considered it to be my birthday at 11pm (my time). I was born in Ohio and if it’s October 20th in Ohio, it’s my real birthday, no matter where I am in the world.

For me, my birthday is also a reminder of how long ago certain milestones happened. 27 doesn’t seem like such a big number, but then I think about the fact that my 18th birthday was nine years ago or that six years ago tonight, I went out with friends for my 21st birthday. Six years! That’s a long time. When my parents were 27, they celebrated their eighth wedding anniversary. It’s surreal.

To the dozens of people who are going to call today and send me texts, write on my Facebook wall, and reach out to me in various ways, I thank you in advance for taking a moment to make this day a little bit more special. I’m sure that many would agree but it really does mean a lot to me and it is sincerely appreciated.

jrb

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