As I approach my 28th birthday and inch closer and closer to 30, I can’t help but feel nostalgic for my youth. Usually, when this happens (which is coincidentally when I’m about to become another year older), I take a hard stop and focus on my life in 2002. My freshman year of high school was in full swing. I was crushing it on the social front. Justin Timberlake released his first solo album, which I effectively cried many rivers over. Eminem came out with 8 Mile, inspiring a defense mechanism I still use today (pointing out my own flaws before haters can do so first) and…. turning 15. Yes, that beautiful age where every Cuban girl gets her first acrylic manicure, picks out the biggest tiara she can find, throws on a massive pastel colored dress and has herself a Quinceañera.
While I do have photographic evidence of myself wearing a gown, sporting blinged out headgear and rocking gaudy nails, I unfortunately did not have a traditional Quinces fiesta. No court of 14 guys and gals. No choreographed dancing to Chayanne’s “Tiempo de Vals.” No candle lighting ceremony. No magnificent banquet hall entrance. I did, however, have a bangin’ surprise birthday party that was pretty much the social event of the school year. It was in a fancy backyard (fancy = having a pool). There was a hired DJ that played Jagged Edge and Blu Cantrell’s finest. There was tons of mature slow dancing. And almost my entire 9th grade class was there. Oh, except for my crush who was actually in the 8th grade. Because apparently that’s what Lourdes of yesteryear was into. ANYHOW, the point of all of this is that I always wanted the full-blown Quinces experience. So, upon approaching the big 2-8, I thought this would be a good a time as any to cling to the last of my 20s and do just that.
I emailed my favorite bar, reserved some space, invited 70 of my closest friends and demanded that everyone glam up for the sequel to the most important birthday that I never executed properly. And it was pretty damn phenomenal. Probably (no, definitely) better than anything I could’ve pulled off at 15. I was bought a Justin Bieber piñata, which I smashed to bits with a stiletto. Pastelitos and pan con mantequilla were my snacks of choice. My chosen “recuerdo” were mints that said “Mis Quince Años.” And I should really be Disney’s first Latina princess because my Goodwill gown, pearls, white gloves and tiara were ON POINT. It reminded me that getting older after 25 isn’t a yearly death sentence. It’s something that should be celebrated in the most elaborate of ways. All in all, it was the absolute perfect way to kick off 28. Lord knows that 2002 needed a break from the memory bank.