“Happy birthday to me, I blew up a zoo, I look like a monkey and I am 102!”
My birthday fell on a Sunday this year, and lands on the tenth day of June.
I am not quite the biggest fan of my birthday, or drawing any unnecessary attention to myself.
Also, what do you do when people are singing “Happy Birthday” to you? Who do you look at? What do you look at?
My birthday has always been kind to me, but my birthdays in my 20s have not been my best, or even that kind to me.
This year, I was turning 23-years old, and for the first time in my 20s, I was fairly excited for this birthday, but probably for reasons beyond having an excuse to put my party pants on and get myself in trouble.
For the first time in my 20s, I am finally beginning to learn to love myself, to learn to exhibit qualities of conscious and aware person, to learn to understand myself, to learn to hold myself accountable, to learn to make better decisions, to learn to take care of myself, to learn to become independent, and to recognize and to embrace consistency within my life. I also have finally for the first time feel like I have stability and consistency within my life, which is a refreshing blessing and realization to come. It has brought me so much more happiness and love into my life, but I will admit that from time-to-time I find myself frustrated with consistency, stability, and routines within my life.
With all this said, my expectations for my birthday and my celebratory events are fairly minimal and not overwhelming, as I have come to realize that most people’s 23rd birthday expectations and celebrations are much more extravagant and involve more drinking and partying than my own.
I wanted to treat my birthday like a normal day, and engage in activities that I had been attempting to do for a while. None of these activities I had planned involved drinking, as the thought of drinking excessively disgusted me. This year, I wanted to have a meaningful birthday, where I truly recognized the importance and the beauty behind a birthday, which is essentially the blessing of making it to another year of life.
My birthday began with an early morning trip to the Butterfly Pavilion, a place that I had been trying to go to for a while now. The Butterfly Pavilion is a pavilion full of butterflies, just as the name of the institution explains.
As a child, I had visited the Butterfly Pavilion various times, but it had been at least 12-years since I had been there last. It was almost like I was going for the first time!
The beginning of the exhibits at the Butterfly Pavilion consisted of a wide variety of unique insects, who had most certainly been specially selected to be put on display. The first room of animals consisted of displays full of insects and bugs, including a array of beetles, bees, and crickets to name a few. The insect section totally frightened me, but I still found myself looking into the glass displays that were occupied with diverse “insectual” creatures. In addition to these various insects and bugs displayed, this first section of exhibit also contained the second noteable, if not the most noteable, feature of the Butterfly Pavilion, which is the giant tarantula, Rosie. Rosie is quite iconic and the Butterfly Pavilion’s most famous exhibit, as they allow individuals to hold and pet her. Rosie is just about the only thing that I remember about the Butterfly Pavilion from my frequent childhood visits here.
As a child, I was too afraid to interact to personally with an arachnid, as I have arachnaphobia. Not to mention, she is huge! And, as a young adult, I have the same feelings about interacting to intimately with Rosie, and I made the same decision I have continued to make since my childhood, which was to simply not let Rosie into my personal bubble space. Basically, I still am just as afraid of Rosie as I was when I was a child, and not even $1 million could make me hold, pet, or coddle Rosie. I do not think this will change any time soon.
My favorite part about the insect section was how aesthetically pleasing all these glass displays were decorated, in order for these insects to grow, thrive, and live. Many of the displays contained succulents, cacti, etc.
The second half of the exhibit also included a wide variety of unique animals, but instead of bugs and insects, this exhibit displayed a variety of marine creatures, including an octupus, slipper lobster, and crabs to name a few. This section was very cool, and also involved an interactive station that allowed one to pet an ancient horseshoe crab. I was much less hesistant to pet a horseshoe crab than I was to hold Rosie the Tarantula. Petting a horseshoe crab felt exactly like what it sounded like, as I was essentially petting a crab shell. I must say that it felt very smooth!
I have never seen a horseshoe crab in person, so this was a first for me! In a very strange way, the horseshoe crab was kind of cute and mildly facisnating!
Now, onto the next section of the Butterfly Pavilion…
The next and final portion of the Butterfly Pavilion was in fact the Wings Of the Tropics conservatory, which not only houses and holds all the beautiful and extravagant butterflies, but also mimics butterflies’ natural habitat! A butterfly’s natural habitat is a tropical rainforest, so the conservatory is full of lush plants and flora, and mimics the damp, wet environment of a tropical rainforest, with a very functional roof top sprinkler system that allows for the conservatory to accurately exhibit all tropical features, as well as allow for the butterflies to naturally live their lives in an environment that allows them to thrive and fly freely.
The number of butterflies and months were outstanding, and the pavilion’s collection of butterflies were quite extensive. While I was expecting to see a lot of butterflies, the conservatory managed to baffle me by containing about triple the number of butterflies than I even anticipated. Everywhere I looked, or did not look, there were butterflies.
Some were mating, some were playing, some were flying into eachother, some were dead, some were sucking nectar, and some were trying to land on me.
The idea of interacting with butterflies very intimately seems appealing and much easier than I realized, as I did not know how much butterflies (kind of, sort of) scared me. Bugs and insects, even though I find butterflies completely facisnating and such beautiful creatures, seem to creep me out more than anything else in this world. After closely inspecting a butterfly sucking nectar out of a pink flower, I quickly noticed how “insect-like” these creatures were, which kind of freaked me out. While their wings do not scare me, it seems that the rest of their physical characteristics, which resemble insect-like bodies, ultimately set me off and made me fearful of them making contact with them.
While I had no real intention of making contact with a butterfly, NOT EVEN FOR AN INSTAGRAM, a butterfly still managed to land on me. I managed to capture the entire event on video, which features me minding my own business filming two butterflies who seem to be playing together. The video takes a turn for the worst when one butterfly begins to steer away from the other one, and begins slowly making its’ way towards my leg.
But, what are the chances that a butterfly lands on you? Not very high, that is for sure!
My immediate reaction to this butterfly landing on my leg was a high-pitched, almost defeaning yell of terror, fear, and uncomfortability. This was not the reaction I was hoping to have when the butterfly landed on me, but once again, my trip to the Butterfly Pavilion only made it clear to me that, while I do enjoy the existence of butterflies, they also mildly terrify me with their insect-like mannerisms and physical characteristics.
The assortment of butterflies and months was mindblowing to witness. There were butterflies of every color of the rainbow!
The monarch butterfly was the only speices of butterflies that I knew, and I was luckily able to see one in the flesh during my time in the conservatory!
As the day matured, I slowly made my way down to Denver, Colorado, for a few more attractions, including Voodoo Donuts, Benihana’s, and Queen City General Store.
Voodoo Donuts has some of the best donuts and most extravagant donuts, with some of the best toppings and flavors I have ever eaten. A dozen of these carefully crafted donuts was more than enough to crave my sweet tooth, or my sugar addiction.
Queen City General Store was one of my favorite stops, during my birthday adventure/extravagantza. This eclectic store sold a variety of very hip, very vintage, and very cool items, all ranging from succulents, to jewelry, to Levi’s, to plant holders, to artwork. This store carried everything!
The ambiance and the decor of the store was intriguing and aesthetically pleasing, as I generally love stores such as these. They are truly one-of-a-kind, and as a result of their uniqueness, their inventory features one-of-a-kind merchandise.
The array of succulents, and the diversity of succulents, was incredible, making it virtually very hard to choose three succulents to call my own, as well as my birthday gift.
The jewelry featured in the store was remarkable and most certainly radiated beauty. The collection of pieces that were showcased were so unique, spunky, yet tasteful, all while being simplistic. I had never seen such a collection of jewelry that I truly enjoyed like I did the pieces at Queen City General Store!
The overall vibe of the store was trendy, and the jewelry only affirmed the trendiness of the store!
I walked out of the store with a three new plant friends, which I could call my very own. I also managed to name these new companions of mine, naming the cactus, Pokè, naming the other smaller and pointy succulent, Piper, as the branches of the succulent reminded me of pipes, and finally the Echeveria succulent, or the flower shaped succulent, or the biggest succulent of the bunch, was named Poppy.
But, wait…what was my favorite part of the entire store (Queen City General Store)? You may ask…
And, my answer is the DISCO BALLS!
The interior decoration of the store was beyond exceptional, and I found so much inspiration within the four walls of this store.
Beyond the eclectic merchandise sold, the interior decoration of the store was completely unique, fun, and imitation-worthy, meaning that I would most definitely imitate certain aspects of the decor and incorporate it into the design of my current apartment in a heartbeat.
DISCO BALLS ARE SO FUN, FUNKY, ECLECTIC, VISUALLY STIMULATING, COOL, TRENDY, AND UNDERRATED, so you can only imagine how excited I was to see them being used for a good cause.
The disco balls only elevated the “coolness” of the store, and may be 38% of the reason why I will be returning to this “very cool store.”
My birthday was a success for those who were wondering, and I feel very blessed, stressed, happy, proud, accomplished, and foolish for another opporutnity to live another day, and hopefully another year!
While birthdays, especially birthdays when you are in your 20s, are supposed to celebrated with mass amounts of booze, excessive amounts of poor decisions, and all-night partying, mine was very simplistic and very sober, as I truly wanted to appreciate the simple, yet profound idea behind a birthday.
I try to treat every day as a birthday, which is potentially why I am unable to perform in the party department like many of my peers on my actual birthday. For some reason, it truly makes me uncomfortable!!!
I felt very loved this year on my birthday, as it was full of many texts, phone calls, and verbal messages from loved ones that wished me a wonderful day, and a wonderful year, as I rang in my 23rd year of life.
This year, instead of focusing on all the individuals who did not acknowledge my birthday, I focused most of my energy on all the individuals who went out of their way to wish me the best in life and the best birthday yet! The amount of love I received was phenomenal, and all my good friends, and the ones who truly matter, gently reminded me how much I am loved on that day.
I am extremely excited for my 23rd year of life! I am looking forward to making many mistakes, accomplishing many goals, pushing myself beyond my boundaries, being happy, making more memories, experiencing new things, learning how to adult more efficiently, working my a$$ off, and all the opportunities that may come my way.
I have a feeling that this year of my life will be FREAKING AWESOME, and I am very excited to embark on this journey!
HAPPY BIRTHDAY TO ALL MY JUNE BABIES & GEMINIS!!
THIS YEAR OF YOUR LIFE WILL BE THE BEST YET (I HOPE)!
What is your favorite way to celebrate your birthday? What is your favorite memory from your last birthday?
“PARTY LIKE IT IS YOUR BIRTHDAY EVERY DAY” -Lil’ Jon, LMFAO, every rapper ever, society, etc..
Also, a huge shoutout to all my loved, friends and family included, who wished me a happy birthday and contributed to making my birthday such a great, simple, and magical day! It means a lot!