How I Celebrated My Twenty-Third Birthday Like A Grown-Up Mature Fun Energetic Young Adult Person

3:15am – Alarm goes off. Wake up totally disoriented and unable to figure out what time it is or why alarm is going off. First words out of my 23-year-old mouth are “What the fuck.”

3:16am – Remember why alarm is going off: Jordan has work at 4:15am.

Hit snooze and go back to sleep.

3:30am – Second alarm goes off. Remembers it is my birthday. Excitement levels are exactly strong enough to get me out of bed without doing any actual waking up.

Take 3:30am disoriented birthday selfies.


“Opening on Saturdays will be great,” they said


“We’ll have the whole afternoon to DO THINGS,” they said

3:42am – Jordan offers me chocolate-covered espresso beans (two pounds of which arrived in the mail two days earlier and were broken into immediately). Incoherently accept Jordan’s offer.

3:48am – Espresso beans in full swing.

3:49am – Bounce into office where Jordan is eating breakfast and harass him to give me my birthday present. Receive reminder that my present was the two pounds of espresso beans I’d broken into immediately upon receiving them in the mail two days earlier.

Worth it.

4:15am – Drop Jordan off for his shift. Play Mika in the car on the way home.

4:18am – Learn my voice is wayyyy too sleepy to hit high notes alongside Mika at 4:18am. But it can emulate a decent Lumpy Space Princess.

4:19am – Sing along to “Big Girl (You Are Beautiful)” as Lumpy Space Princess.

4:30am – Make breakfast and get ready for my own shift. Watch the 30 Rock episode “Mazel Tov, Dummies” during prepping. Determine it is the most quality thing that has ever aired on television.

4:48am – Think about getting married and being a human woman.

Actual footage of me during wedding planning 1.5 years ago

Be grateful I, at twenty-three years old, am all done planning weddings.

5:15am – Drive to work. Sing “Love Today” as Lumpy Space Princess.

5:30am – Open store with fellow twenty-three-year-old supervisor Jenni. Endure quips about the things Jenni was doing back “when she was my age.” (Note: Jenni’s birthday was one week before mine. Exactly one week before mine.)

6:00am – Start serving coffee to early-rising customers. Enthusiastically tell everyone that it’s my birthday.

6:56am – Determine telling people it’s my birthday is leading to a zero percent increase in tips.

Stop telling selfish people anything about my life.

7:26am – Work birthday ass off slinging coffee to everyone in Tigard. How are there this many people in Tigard? Why are they all awake on a Saturday? Why am I awake on my birthday on a Saturday?

8:30am – Wonder why I did not ask for day off. (Answer: January babies who have to go to school on their birthday their whole life are bad at remembering birthday time off is a thing.)

11:15am – Free from work. Eat lunch and lounge about lobby waiting for Jordan to finish his shift.

12:45pm – Pick Jordan up from shift. Run to bank to take care of bank account business. Exciting birthday bank account business.

1:30pm – Get home, eat food, call parents. Discover parents’ surprise and concern that I’d neglected to find myself any birthday cake. Promise to obtain some birthday cake.

2:30pm – Lay down for one-hour birthday nap.

5:00pm – One-hour birthday nap turns into two-point-five-hour birthday nap.

Happy birthday to me.

5:15pm – Shower and get ready to Go Out like a Real Adult whose Real Birthday is tonight. Complete with makeup and everything.

5:43pm – Realize pants I wanted are in the hamper. Lament neglecting to do any birthday laundry.

6:30pm – Get text from Jenni—she’s already at the Ringler’s Pub.

Get beaten to my own birthday party by Jenni.

7:07pm – Find Jenni in Ringler’s Pub. Meet with a few other people while there. Eat some dinner. Drink some drinks. Have the twenty-three-year-old “adult” birthday party.

Neglect to order any birthday cake.

9:00pm – Pay tab at Ringler’s Pub. Go to Crystal Ballroom for All Decades Video Dance Attack with other twenty-three and twenty-two-year-old friends Alex and Savannah. Have the twenty-three-year-old “young adult” birthday party.

Real footage of real chic party people partying heartily

Real footage of real chic party people partying heartily

9:20pm – Get tired after four songs. Water break number one.

9:45pm – Realize in all of my two decades, I did not pick up how to dance to any genres from any of these All Decades. Realize no one else knows how to dance to anything either, so who the hell cares.

Water break number two.

10:05pm – More dancing. Announce water break number three.

10:06pm – Water break transforms into booze break, per friend Savannah’s offer.

10:08pm – Happily down rum and coke, but spend whole time wishing rum and coke was cup of water. How do people do all this dancing without water? Should a twenty-three-year-old need water this badly?

10:12pm – Water break number three.

10:20pm – More dancing. Get excited enough to get on Jordan’s shoulders and “lead” room in “Gungham Style.”

Try to decide whether the fact I’ve forgotten most of the moves to “Gangnam Style” is encouraging or disappointing.

10:24pm – Simultaneously really, really hope someone puts me leading “Gangnam Style” on Instragram and really, really hope they don’t.

10:54pm – Water break number four. Wonder how anyone dances and drinks alcohol at the same time. All my body wants is water. All my body misses is water.

11:15pm – Water break number five.

11:45pm – Water break number six. Also, admission that I don’t have it in me to party all night and need to rest. Tell friends that I am channeling Cinderella and need to leave the ball by midnight.

12:02pm – Take final great Bruno Mars song (“Uptown Funk”) followed by final terrible Bruno Mars song (“Young Girls”) as divine sign the night is over. Wind way back to coat check and out of building.

12:08pm – Birthday selfies outside the pub.

More oriented than 3:30am, which still isn't very oriented

More oriented than 3:30am, which still isn’t very oriented

12:12pm – Jordan drives us home. Realize all my twenty-three-year-old joints are sore and I’m dying.

12:13pm – Check Instagram. No pics of me leading “Gangnam Style.” Small disappointment is overshadowed by large relief.

12:40pm – Arrive back at apartment. Refuse to get out of car on account of all my joints are busted.

12:41pm – Walk to apartment anyway. Collapse on entryway floor. Let cats examine my dead twenty-three-year-old corpse.


My Honest Cover Letter

To Whom It May Concern:

My name is Annica Gage and I am writing to apply for the Copywriter position with your company. Based on the responsibilities of this position, I think I would be a reasonable fit. Not one hundred percent everything you’re looking for, but willing and able to do the vast majority of what you want and convincingly bullshit my way through the rest.

I recently graduated with my B.A. in English and minor in Religion from George Fox University, where I learned a multitude of skills I can bring to this position, plus maybe sixty percent of the things you are formally asking for. Which is not to say I cannot pick up the things you are asking for. So well, in fact, that you may mistake me for an expert a skill I developed a mere night before. Learning on the job is a talent every employee should have, and joining your company would allow me to take this ability to the next level, plus prove an incredible boon to you. While you may think you are looking for someone who knows what’s going on all the time, I can offer you something more important: someone who appears to know what’s going on all the time. Clients respond well to this, and I am happy to prove my skillset to you.

The primary hole in my qualifications for this position is formal work experience: I have not yet completed the preferred four to six years in marketing or advertising, as I just finished my degree and spent my time in undergrad telling myself that the real world will wait while enrolling in electives like Quaker Studies and Badminton. But please, do not assume that a few gaps in my formal training in any way make me an unqualified worker. I have a number of skills gained from other jobs and internships that I plan to bring to the table.

I am a quick learner who spent many days in undergrad becoming a semi-expert in a variety of topics literally overnight. I am part of a network of professionals in a variety of fields who will let me bug them for whatever information I need (and who I actually want to talk to now that I do not have to share dorm hall showers with them). And I have extensive experience collaborating with clients, co-workers, and supervisors alike, and can respond to requests, both clear and passive-aggressive, with a perfect mix of professional attention and personal apathy objectivity.

Also, I know we’re not supposed to talk about this, but can I just tell you? You can pay me less. This is my first real foray into the workforce, which means I still think twelve dollars an hour and the most basic insurance is an amazing deal. Just something to think about.

I can be reached by phone any time, except the very irregular hours I am at my current retail job, at (212) 664-7665. Please do not hesitate to contact me with any questions or concerns. (Although I would appreciate it if you did not actually call with concerns. I agonized about even including the offer in this letter, as I am a little concerned a potential employer calling me at home to discuss reservations about my skill set may cause me to literally melt into the floor.)

Thank you for your consideration. I look forward to hearing from you soon.


Annica Gage