I have always wished birthdays had themes the way anniversaries do. I’m thinking about this because I have recently had a birthday, and as much as I treasure the thoughtful gifts of others, I also want to do something to celebrate my anniversary with myself. It is my longest relationship, after all, and I feel like I should acknowledge it, now and then. I want to be able to say that this is my “silver birthday” when I turn 25, or my “pearl birthday” when I turn 30. Unfortunately, not being a milestone anniversary (or birthday for that matter), the theme of 28 is “linen.” Napkins, pillowcases, tablecloths: this is the year of sensible purchases made for practical purposes. I was mildly alarmed that I had reached the age of tableware, even more so when I realized that 29 is the year of tools.
So, I’ve decided to go off-script this year. I live in a dorm room, after all, and a table-cloth is hardly practical. Instead, I have declared 28 the year of the Jaffa cake. Jaffa cakes are these soft little hybrid cookies they sell here in the UK: they are soft, like a cake, half-dipped in chocolate and filled with orange jam. Not only are they are totally delicious, and as I consider the implications of ‘Jaffa Cake birthday,’ I realize that they are also a very good representation of how I want the next year of my life to go. Unlike linen, which screams practicality, respectability, and banality, a Jaffa cake is sweet and soft and full of hidden surprises. It never goes stale, even if I’ve left it out on the kitchen counter overnight. I am able to share it with the people around me. And, most importantly, it is cheap.
So, I hereby christen 28 the year of the Jaffa cake and hope my waistline will forgive me.