On August 25th, I hit a different kind of landmark… a landmark on the road of life. I have now lived for a quarter of a century. I was a little stressed out in the days (actually, months) leading up to my birthday, because I started thinking about how drastically different my life actually is compared to what I thought it would be. As a child, I imagined that I would go to college, get married shortly after graduating, have babies around 26, and live out my days in marital bliss. Instead, I deferred college, joined a ballet company, moved to San Francisco alone, and am now on a ship. While I’ve had significant relationships, I’m nowhere near walking down the aisle. I started fretting about how quickly time passes, and how much more I want to do while I’m still young.
When the clock struck 12 on the eve of my birth, I was skating on the ice rink on board. I don’t remember the last time I went ice-skating, and I had certainly never skated in the middle of the ocean! I am shockingly clumsy for a dancer, and while I felt like Bambi on ice, I managed to stay on my feet the whole night! I was so proud!
The morning of the 25th I had a tech run, then promptly got off the ship. We were ported in Jeju, South Korea. I went with some friends to a café, where I enjoyed another cinnamon mocha and was able to Skype with my family and a few friends. After that, some cast mates and I wandered to find lunch. While we were searching, we came across a carnival, and ended up going to ride the Viking Ship. I laughed so hard I cried as we rocked back and forth on the ship, just the 3 of us. We then found a delicious Korean barbecue joint, ate ice cream cones, and got back on board in time to nap.
That evening, we performed Music in Pictures. I loved having the chance to be on stage on my special day. Since our show times fall in the middle of dinner, we always get food in the theater after our performances. My cast surprised me with a delicious chocolate cake along with our show food, and also gave me some really nice gifts. I got a hand-drawn “Ginger Ninja” card, a stuffed koala bear, and a bottle of bourbon. They know me so well! I also got 2 bars of dark chocolate from my roommate, and a box of Ferrero Roche chocolates from one of the singers. Yum!
I ended the night with a drink with friends in the staff bar. I was pleasantly surprised to find that my beverage of choice had finally been restocked! The timing could not have been better.
The next day, I was able to sleep in, and after 2 Farewell performances and a parade, got dressed up for my party! One of my cast-mates was celebrating his half birthday on the 24th, so the 2 of us had a joint celebration. We had a white party, complete with black lights loaned to us by one of the light techs. Our clothes glowed, as did our smiles. It was a fun night, full of shenanigans.
Now that I have passed this landmark, I see that I was worrying for nothing. Although my life is different than I thought it would be, it is full of love. Instead of spiraling into a deeper state of panic, I have become more aware of what I have already accomplished and experienced. I am excited to see what the future will hold!