Like a pair of shoes that needs to be worn in, it takes some time for one to settle into a new age. I always start preparing myself a month or so before my actual birthday, answering – when queried about my age, that I am ‘almost x’ or ‘x in a couple of weeks/days’. It’s my way of preparing myself for the big shift, the transition between two years which is in fact only separated by a minute or two. I like to think that it helps me to realize where I am, but in truth – it really only confuses the matter.

I still don’t feel 26.

I hadn’t been a happy 25. Or, 25 sort of passed, overshadowed by an amazing 24. 25 was the line in my mind, the proof that time does not stand still and before long I will find myself in my thirties, leaving the wonderful ‘young twenties’ behind me. I don’t have a problem with thirty per say, I just have a problem with not being 20. It’s a strange logic, but it’s mine and I’m pretty proud of it.

Despite my doubt and grumblings though, and despite the fact that I feel as if I’m wearing a jacket that’s not really mine, I have to confess that I’ve had a good transition from 25 to 26. It was a fairly low key birthday, which I celebrated only with my family and a few close friends, but it was one like no other, filled with stories and adventures and a reminder that I know some amazing people. I received quite a few calls from abroad, bitter sweet ones – for I miss that life terribly, and for the first time in history, I received some stories.

In my Nasty group of friends, (my internet writing family) we have a tradition of giving each other stories for our birthdays, dubbing a week “Something Appreciation Week”. We’ve had Steampunk Appreciation, Pixie Appreciation, Witch Appreciation and Demon Appreciation Week. I confess, lol, that I didn’t find the time to participate in the first two (though that will be rectified) but you have most probably read my two submissions for the latter.
Because we have not had such a week and I am very fond of a certain vampire from Kim Harrison’s Hollows, my friends dubbed last week Vampire Appreciation Week and it is my great pleasure to share with you what they’ve given me. In alphabetical order:

From Aheila, I received a chilling look into what drives a vampires hunger. This was very good.

From Antonio, I received a piece of fan fiction, featuring my favourite vampire – Ivy Tamwood. Thank you Antonio.

From Jenn, I received a party featuring most of my favourite people in the whole wide world, lol.

From Kylie, I received a gift unlike any other I have ever had. J For those of you who don’t know, Soldaat means Warrior in Afrikaans. Very original Kylie!

From Marsha, I received a guardian, protecting me on my way home from work I believe, lol. ;) Thank you Marsha.

From Phil, I received a piece of wonderful fantasy fiction which does not feature vampires per say, but which does feature my horse! :D

From Suzanne, I received a bittersweet look at the love between two people. This is beautiful Suzanne, thank you.

From Tiffany, I received a beacon of guiding light that can guide my Nasty Chibi (the bat) home. J this is one of two parts, and I’m anxiously waiting for the next!!

Birthdays isn’t just about aging, but in a sway it’s like a marker in one’s life that one can use to re-evaluate your life, come in touch with your friends, to find an excuse to feel old, to remember that you are young but, most importantly, to have fun. To be grateful that you’ve been spared another year and to realize that you have wonderful friends and family in your life.

Thank you everybody, you have made this a good year.

Alyssa.

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