Today is my birthday.
Birthdays don’t scare me. Any holiday worth celebrating is worth celebrating with utmost gusto, and birthdays count as personal holidays. Streamers, balloons, big fun food, marching bands, airplane banners, it’s all on the table when there’s someone to celebrate.
And none of my excitement about my own birthday belies a false bravado about aging—the aging part of birthdays pretty much sucks. I learned recently, for example, that when one stays up all night chatting with good people around a campfire, it takes several days to revitalize all one’s 38 year old brain cells. Also, my hands are starting to look kind of beat up, and my knees pop when I jump up too fast.
None of this disturbs me.
The only dark cloud over my birthday today will be the nagging edge of self-doubt, the pesky awareness that perhaps, at 38, I have reached some sort of blank and uninspiring plateau. The five years from 34 to 39 seem like the long, dull stretch of I-75 from Middle Georgia down to Florida; there’s just not that much to see. The major milestones of my youth fall behind me like rest stops: kids? Done. College? Done. Career choice? Done. Grad school? Done. Until I hit the next major milestone of living on this earth for 40 years, it’s all just going along to get along. I’m not gearing up for much of anything.
Well, that’s not true. Tonight the males in my household are making me dinner, cake and homemade ice cream. I’m geared up for that.