Some of you may have realized that my birthday was on Friday. I didn't let it pass without notice, don't worry. I actually had a countdown, believe it or not. I don't think actually that I could have let it pass without any celebration whatsoever, (I've heard that some people downplay their birthdays and don't want any fanfare...tragic), because everyone else gets excited about my birthday too. I don't know why this is, but thus far in my life I have been showered with love, presents, baked goods, confetti, crowns, this year there was even a parade!* This is wonderful and I appreciate it greatly--this year too the apt moniker Hobsapalooza was given to my birthday weekend. Apparently it's a big deal. To be honest I was a little stressed the week before, but not consciously. I made every attempt to stay calm in the face of age. I tried to laugh in the face of the danger of oncoming time. I tried to make peace with my mortality. Which worked on the surface--however I'm pretty convinced that I had a psychosomatic response of a swollen left tonsil, a muscle in my side that twitched for three days and a mysterious pain under my left ribcage. I webmded my symptoms and the only thing it could tell me is that I have a potential infection along the lining of my colon...not likely.

It was only logical to assume that even though my brain was telling me one thing, my body was telling me another. And the other was that I should run as fast and far away from this birthday as possible. That was, of course, impossible.

Speaking from the other side of 20, I see now that I had little to fear. It does feel different however, I think people can tell I'm older, wiser and more mature. They can sense that I have two decades of life under my belt--I beat the teen pregnancy odds, I can no longer be considered a juvenile delinquent. All things to be respected for.

Sidenote: In one bizarre incident the night of my birthday we were down in the Quarter (having dinner OF COURSE) and one man said, and I quote, "Is she the bride? Is she the Princess?" Morgan can attest to this, it was weird. But actually a lot of people thought I was having a bachelorette party, which is also strange because my friend of the less fair sex accompanied us the entire night, and he looks nothing like a stripper.

And now that the Lauren Turns 20 Program has come to its finale, I can say quite confidently that I have more than 20 dollars in my savings account, I've streamlined my wardrobe, I understand economics, I know how to smile politely and hide what I'm thinking instead of looking disdainful, I've become less disdainful and more understanding, my shoe game is incredible*, I can wake up at least moderately earlier than I could before, I'm an accomplished letter writer, I have good grades, I have peace in my heart wherever I go, I can recognize that there are things in life that are out of my control, I live in the present, I know how to make great cupcakes, I haven't gotten a ticket for awhile, I've been successful in filling out long and difficult applications, I'm in great shape, I still haven't been TEMSed!

These are all helpful in my path to becoming a real person. Not quite there yet, but you know, there's always the Lauren Turns 30 program to look forward to.

And birthdays are a big deal. My birthday will always be a big deal and not just because it forces me to realize how little time I have on this earth, but because I feel as though I am definitely worth celebrating. I think the saddest people in life must not have had great birthday celebrations when they were younger, they were never taught that you are a great gift. As my dear Father says, let your light shine. I am blessed with many great friends and family who are terrific at letting me know how loved and appreciated I am, and that's probably the best birthday present of all. Which is pathetically cheesy and I almost regret writing it, it's so Gift of the Magi it hurts. I freely admit that if I didn't get even one present I would be depressed--not even the Lauren Turns 20 Program can cure my sense of materialism and deep-rooted shallowness. But if it came down to the birthday box from Claire and the brand new monogrammed sun hat and first season of Sisterwives and new T-straps and status shorts versus the people who gave those things, I'd choose the people every time.

The birthday box was great though. I also got a case of bottled water. More on that later.

xoxo, Lauren

*The parade might also have been for the wedding and bride that was in it. I'm not sure. I choose to believe it was held in my honor. Go with it.