Goodbye 21, Hello 22: Looking Back At The Best Year Of My Life

There’s something about Birthdays that makes me feel incredibly… clean. It’s as if this past year was a spread of cookie crumbs sprawled onto the kitchen counter, ready to be swiped down at the strike of midnight. Now, as I sit in my boxers and a furry-like robe watching Anthony Bourdain’s No Reservations, I cycle through the mental photo album of this past year.

From the standpoint of a 21 year old, I actually drank very little alcohol this year. I could easily count the number of drinks I had with two, maybe even one hand. To me, drinking has never been an interest of mine nor do I plan on cultivating my “taste” for it anytime soon. I guess I was right: the first drink I had on my twenty-first birthday really did dictate the pacing of the coming year. The year of the sangria – sweet, a little bitter, and full of fresh fruit.

A notable accomplishment this past year was my transfer from De Anza Community College to the ever so hippy, San Francisco State University. It was a fun and lovely three years at De Anza but to be in State feels good – real good. The opportunities are as present as the smell of a dirty bum on the sidewalk.

The next milestone was my new job at Tory Burch. After almost two years of unemployed goodness (minus the fashion related work I did) I finally mustered up the wits to get off my ass and land a job. The surprising thing for me however was the speed in which it happened. One day, I literally said “I’m getting a new job” and by the next week I had already been hired. Call me narcissistic, but that impressed the hell out of me. That job came to me almost as fast as a virgin school boy comes during his first experience with oral sex.

Now, there were many other plateaus that were scaled during this past year (moving into a new apartment, getting a new car, etc etc) but none can ever compare to the one that matters most.


I may not be a believer of miracles or gods, but when I contemplate over the perfectly timed meeting between my lovely girlfriend and I, I really have to defog my glasses and ask myself “was this destiny?” Now, before you call the cheese police let me just say that I am honestly, and passionately in love with Livi. This isn’t your run-of-the-mill “love” that most twenty-somethings feel like they’re a part of after they have drunk sex and decide to actually call the damn person. No, what Livi and I have is laser etched in pure gold. I’ve tried, but I cannot think of a single thing that I actually dislike about Livi – neither can she.

So to go from six years of single-dom – mixed in with a tyrant of bad “dates”- to this GODDESS of a woman is absolutely unfathomable. That’s like taking a child from Ethiopia who has eaten mashed corn and dirty water all his life, adopting him, then feeding him Kobe beef steaks and champagne every night. It’s a shift from loneliness to rich, lavish love. I talk about it like it’s some sort of infomercial product that you MUST BUY NOW but in all honesty, actually thinking about it just baffles my mind over, and over again. She is perfect, and our relationship completely exceeds every expectation I had.

Our trip to Christmas in the park🙂

I‘ll spare you the extra cheesey goodness but let me just end on this note: way too often, I hear coworkers, relatives, and classmates who whine and complain about getting older, as if it were a bad thing. To me, getting older is getting better. It’s about reaching that next level in your life where things change, mutate, and enhance. Maybe that glass of Sangria I had on April 13th, 2011 dictated more than just my year of 21, but rather, my life. Maybe my life is a bottle of wine that I must cherish and appreciate for the time it took to get this good. I should savor the sweetness of my life, learn to understand the bitter moments, and I should chew slowly and enjoy the chunks of fruit that my life has produced.

Life is amazing, aging is fantastic, every year is a miracle, and I sound like a fucking goober right now – which is why I’m going to stop.

So if you’ll excuse me, I have a gorgeous woman sleeping in my bed who needs to be snuggled and kissed.

YAY! Happy Birthday to me!

6 thoughts on “Goodbye 21, Hello 22: Looking Back At The Best Year Of My Life

  1. OH.MY.GOD!!!!

    First, i would like to wish you a wondeful and happy birthday….^_^

    Ranier, im not b—-s–ing you when i say this but DAMN >.< your post left me happy and speechless at the same time. Speechless cause its rare that someone your age–or ANYONE of any age– has that perspective of their life and the sense of awareness of the world around them. Your genuine heart and mind shines so brightly through this posts that the it puts the sun to shame………priceless!!

    Speechless cause i am a loyal fan of your blog(s), and you have written some funny-as-hell but amazingly real, poignant, and common sense level things, but this by far takes the cake! I can feel the positivity and the happiness and in your words when i read this .

    And your right….life is amazing, aging is fantastic, and every year IS a miracle. And we should stop complaining and feeling blue about agign and growing and things…i know this all too well cause im gulty of it. But your post put a lightning bolt under my ass to cease and desist being in the doldrums when my b-day rolls around. Thank you for making me realize what is really important.

    So, as i digress, i once again wish you nothing but happiness, continued success, lots of love ,and nothing but good times for the 2012.


    P.S. ( dude you almost made me cry when you talked about Olivia!!!! Stab me in the heart with happiness and joy why dont`cha.^_^. From what you talk about her on here and on the volgs ,she seems to be a very sweet,intelligent and amazing lady. You two is something that is rare and wonderful and i wish you two nothing but more love and caring and understanding for this year. you two are truly blessed to be in each others lives!!!!)

  2. I’m so glad this year was a good one for you, and you found someone you have connected with so authentically and passionately. I really do hope that you two enjoy many more birthdays to come, and that life presents so many opportunities to you that you burst. My 22nd is coming up in August so who knows what I’ll feel or what I’ll experience haha. Happy Birthday Ranier and may life always be as beautiful as your girlfriend🙂

  3. Happy Belated Birthday,
    I’ve become a fan of your blog and check often for updates. So please, keep them coming. You almost made me feel old when you spoke of your 21st birthday. I cherish my age (42 1/2) and everyday that the Lord wakes me. My favorite saying to anyone who will listen, “you have only two choices…six feet under or aging. You can only enjoy one.” Continue to live your life to the fullest. It is so refreshing to hear that someone has realized just how precious life can be and it’s not after a lifetime of wasting it.
    Be blessed!

  4. Happy belated B-day to you,
    Life is seems to be leading you in tons of prosperity.I will be 41,but it seems that I have graduated from high school( which was in 1989) on yesterday. I still think about those times: Moma telling me that times go fast by the time a person turns 18 and that the real world can be rough. I remembered how much I wanted to revert back into my high school shell because of it.

    Being “old” as society says, I don’t see anything old about being in my 40’s. I’m would be glad that I lived to see it. I accept my age. Some people don’t get why would I express my age so openly. I accept my age. I’m not going to get any younger and I accept who I am.My late great-grandmother got to live just being that..a great grandparent. She died at nearly 100 years old in 2002,but before she passed she became a 2xgreat-grandmother.She was always a vibrant person who seen the beauty in life no matter how bad it looked. I would love to live to be that age and older.

    Keep on being an optimist. It’s always the positive thinkers who adds longevity to their lives.

  5. Totally agree with you about getting older.

    I’m 24 now, and I will soon be 25. And my life keeps getting way better with each passing year.

    I feel sorry for people who think that 18-22 was the peak of their life. That tells me that in terms of maturity, they’ve hit stasis. I greatly enjoyed my college years, but now, I can see how stupid and immature I was back then, and I am so happy with how much progress I’ve made. Certainly, in a few years, I will look back at my mid-20s and be glad that I’ve moved on from that phase as well.

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