the week before christmas i had a birthday. we rang the salvation army bell like i talked about doing here, which turned out to be a lot of fun and i hope to make it an annual tradition. we also had dinner with friends and then there was homemade red velvet cake and balloons and some thoughtful gifts from k and the children. i felt loved by friends and family, and it was pretty much a great day.
the big surprise (to me) about turning 33 is that i'm basically the same person i was at 22. i still burp out loud like a 14-year-old boy. i still answer the phone sometimes in a really lousy asian accent. (disclaimer: i am not, nor have i ever been, asian.) i still love junk food, Quantum Leap, and karaoke--not necessarily in that order. i'm proud to say i've mostly conquered my fear of feet, but clowns of any kind and dolls lined up in rows still make me shudder. i confess, i've never tried sushi and can't see any reason why i should. and i still don't know how to properly hang up a pair of pants, though i can see how this would be a useful skill if for any reason the engineer one day woke up and decided he'd rather declare his undying love for me in some other less-endearing way than carefully lining up seams and folding and draping my jeans over a plastic hanger. (he hasn't yet.)
on a more serious note, i still have a lot of the same self-doubts i had when i was younger, and maybe even a few more. this is perhaps the great disappointment of growing up. as a kid i never thought adults felt uncertain or confused, self-conscious or insecure. i was wrong about that.
okay, so painful awareness of my nerdiness + shortcomings aside, i'm also aware that in some ways i have changed and become an upgraded version of the old me. for one thing, i'm better at relationships than i used to be. not perfect, but better. according to my dad, compassion is "love with action" and i've made some progress in that area as i've gotten older. i'm a pretty good friend in general but a great one in a crisis, i think.
i've changed in other ways too, but i think that may be the most meaningful.