I Spent My 24th Birthday Alone In BOSTON, and I Enjoyed It

The mornings of my birthday have been the same for the last couple of years. A phone call from my family, gifts, and a plethora of notifications from Facebook.

This year, however, was different. I deactivated my Facebook account weeks prior, and I didn’t intend on reactivating it. “How many people would actually remember?” I wondered.

If no one did, did that make them awful friends? Or was I that much of a shitty friend that no one cared? I was leaning more toward the latter.

To my surprise, a few people remembered, and they were the people that mean a lot to me.

With no plan whatsoever, I was second away from turning my birthday into a monumental fudge-up! But fear not, I didn’t and it became one of the best days of my life. I cleaned up, shouldered my backpack, and hopped on the T to Boston.

For someone who likes knowing where I am going and what I am doing, it was quite different to be going with the flow, and not worrying about what plans are, or whether my friends are having a good time. I felt liberated.

It was about being spontaneous, and embracing every moment as it comes. For the first time, I felt like I could be spontaneous. There was nowhere to be, nothing to do but to be… in the present.

My first stop was at Thinking Cup on Tremont St. I stopped drinking coffee a while ago, but that didn’t stop me from having a Café au lait, and a cinnamon raisin bagel with cream cheese. I wanted strawberry cream cheese, but they only had regular.

I started reminiscing about my college years. When I used to eat just a cinnamon raisin bagel with strawberry cream cheese before my 8AM class. I remembered how simple everything used to be. How my biggest worry was not making it to class, or passing an exam. Somehow, things have changed. Somehow, overnight, I’ve become an adult. And here I am 24 years of age.

I walked across the street to the Boston Commons. It’s the oldest city park in the country. The sky finally cleared up, and the air was calm. What a perfect time it was to read! Luckily, I had a copy of 1,000 Places to See Before You Die by Patricia Schultz.

This book is a traveler’s must. I’ve learned more from this book about geography, history, and countries than from my 18 years of schooling. Strange.

I sat down, and read a few pages. I felt alone despite being surrounded by people because every face was buried in a phone. I’ve come to realize I rarely see people’s faces anymore.

“When was the last time I smiled at someone, or saw a sparkle in someone’s eyes?” I wondered. Modern technology has a peculiar way of connecting us, and at the same time disconnecting us. It’s a paradox.

Opposite to the Boston Commons is the State House. It’s considered a masterpiece of federal architecture and was designed by Charles Bulfinch in 1798. The dome is gilded with 23 Karat Gold. The Senate Chamber, geometrically speaking, is the center of Boston.

I didn’t know any of these facts until I visited. I was offered a map because I didn’t want to wait for a guided tour, which, by the way, is completely free. The inside of the State House is breathtaking — the details on the floors, the glass windows, the walls, and the ceiling.

Everything was magical. Everything felt like Boston. In every room, I couldn’t help but  to notice mastery and perfection. I left the State House feeling more educated than when I came in.

A roughly 35 mins of walking from the State House is the USS Constitution Museum. It probably took me one hour to get there because I decided to rest at the Paul Revere Park. The view was spectacular. From the distinctive feature of the cables that support the Zakim Bridge, to the calm, flowing blue water of the Charles River, and the city skyline.

I sat still, and started to think about all the dreams and aspirations I have for myself. Goals that are so close to attain, and others that are far out of reached. I reflected on my life and looked within. It was hard but satisfying.

Introspection, in my opinion, is one’s greatest gift. It’s quite valuable. For it’s said: “The contents of consciousness appeared to be immediate experience: to have an experience was to know that one has it. In this sense, introspection appeared to be self-validating; it could NOT lie.”

Then, it hit me. For so long, I contemplated the idea of moving somewhere else and starting new as I chase my dreams. Little did I know, I was already there. Boston is an innovative city, and one of the greatest cities in the entire world. If I can make it here, I can make it anywhere.

I felt nothing but gratitude to be here. Nothing but gratitude to be alive. Every day above ground is a great day. Of course, so was my 24th birthday, and every day of the two weekends I spent celebrating it.


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