i received an artfully-crafted mix cd for my birthday. it was my favorite kind of music: sweetly melancholy, songs whose sounds were made of equal parts leaving it all behind and coming back home, of fresh flying starts and getting lost in the past. i have a feeling that this certain string of songs, many years from now, will also sound like my first week of being twenty-four.
it has been spinning nearly every morning as i bumble about, getting myself together for the day. it has been the soundtrack to my thoughts as i drive to work – sun high in the sky – and as i make my way home, speeding through a twilight that comes down a little earlier everyday. and the songs were there when i drove to have a belated birthday dinner with my parents, my mom a passenger in my car for the very first time in my life. it was just us for the ride. she asked me, in her carefully-paced english, questions about my life, my work, my friends. i answered carefully, too, trying to stretch my words to cover the years of distance between us. and as i answered, i had the strange feeling not only that i had grown up, but that suddenly we both could see it.
around birthdays, or any other marker of time in a given year, i suppose it is expected to take stock of your life, to make plans for the next stretch of it. and as much as i wish for more long, solitary drives into the oblivion that is my twenties, i hope that i will also remember to simply be a daughter.