I turned 33 yesterday, and I feel fantastic about it, if a little tired this morning.

There's a sort of liberating awesomeness about having a birthday when you realize that you're not getting any younger and you just don't give a shit. That's the kind of birthday I decided to have this year. It is what it is, and so what? It's probably easy for me to say that this year, when I'm not a "big" number that ends in a "5" or a "0," but I'm hoping to remember this feeling when I do have one of those milestone birthdays. Putting all this in writing to look back on should help.

I woke up at regular time, and G wished me a happy birthday right away with one of those lovely first-thing-in-the-morning kisses that are seriously underrated. That's one of the nicest things about being in a long-term relationship, and also one of the most perpetually surprising: here is a man who's woken up next to me every day for the last 8 years, and he's still always happy to see me when he opens his eyes. (Well, usually, anyway. 90% of the time, I would guess.)

MENTAL NOTE: If you don't have a lifemate who will do this for you -- kiss you very first thing in the morning on your birthday, because they know that's what you love the most in the world -- I recommend you get one as soon as possible. Sweethearts who are still your sweethearts 13½ years later are spectacular, and also few and far between. They're worth looking hard for, and holding onto tightly.

I dressed up for work. I didn't really admit it -- since we're leaving for vacation in just two days, I said I was "wearing what's clean" -- but everybody knew it anyway. Cute top, pretty skirt, great shoes. I even shaved my legs, although I will be the first to admit that was strictly out of vanity. You can't make stubble look hot when it's below the collar, no matter how much you try. My hair cooperated, as did the weather. I looked ready to party, because I was.

My co-workers decorated my cube with balloons and Mountain Dew labels. It was really kind of awesome, and I sucked it all up. I got cards and presents and tons of attention. I loooooove attention. People brought me flowers and candy. I got taken out to lunch, and G joined us. It was nice. We went to Bahama Breeze, which is absolutely the perfect place to go for lunch on your birthday when it's also your last working day before vacation. I got drunk off this faaaaabulous chocolate trés leches cake that was about 180-proof and full good dark rum.

I worked at work, but I didn't do any more than I had to. People were asking me about vacation, and what time the swim-up bar opens, and some things were said about plans to take topless windsurfing lessons that may or may not pan out -- we'll see about that one. (Yes, the first thing I packed was SPF 30, so don't worry.) I told some people I was going to be out next week and they actually helped me get stuff done so it didn't sit. Phenomenal.

Then we came home, took a nap, and then went out. We surprised Lulu and Stevie by showing up at Stevie's show at Which Brew in Easton. It was a great time. They were happy to see me, I was happy to start my vacation as soon as possible, the food and drinks were primo, and Stevie sounded as great as ever. He even dedicated a song to "the birthday girl" -- that would be me! And I love Tom Petty, so you could probably see my smile in Phoenix.

MENTAL NOTE: Now that I know I can stalk Stevie electronically via MySpace, I am going to see him as often as I can. If you are in the greater A-B-E Metro Area, or if you are going to be, check out his page and try to catch a show. I am telling you, he is going to be HUGE someday, probably soon, and you're going to want to get in on the ground floor. Trust me on this one. Plus, he puts on a helluva show. Anything you could possibly want to hear, he does.

Then we came home and went to bed and slept like the dead. And now that it's the morning after, everything looks even better in retrospect. I looked really pretty yesterday. The food was really good. The Poisoned Apples I had to drink were really tasty. Stevie and Lulu were really fun. It's a beautiful day, and I am 33, and I feel fantastic about it.