So it’s my Birthday! Why is it that once a year, every year of my life, I am compelled to face the fact that yet another year has passed and I still don’t look like Tom Cruise!
Birthdays are funny, there is something about our vantage point that uniquely comes into focus as we proceed through life. At our first Birthday party (remember that one when I spit up my strained carrots on Grandma) the only thing we will remember is the stories they tell us later and the supporting pictures/video et al. By age 4 or 5 is probably about the first birthday you have some recollection of, in general. There are exceptions to this, so if that’s you, please don’t take offense. My wife falls into that category, she can tell me who gave her what gift, in which year, and what they were wearing at the time…and I have given up trying to figure out how she does it!
By the time you are getting ready to turn 16 things are really getting ramped up because freedom is peeking its elusive head out just beyond the roof of the Registry of Motor Vehicles! The next marker depending on your geographic location is the passage into adulthood, Yes that is when you can stop paying someone else to go in and buy the beer for you. This was anti-climactic for me because I don’t really drink beer, so my big moment was celebrated in one of the pinnacles of high society, the one, the only, you have probably guessed it by now…all you can eat buffet!
After this birthday you enter the plains, the flat lands, year to year there may be some ups and downs until just after your 29th and then it happens! At this juncture you begin some self-reflection. The realization that you are about to turn 30, causes an upheaval in your inner being unlike anything before. Memories of when you were 16 and thinking when I get old, (and you were thinking like when I turn 30) that’s when I will probably be getting ready to die. Now your vantage point has changed, and changed significantly and your ready to throw those ill-conceived thoughts out along with the proverbial bath water! Life has just begun! I am about to enter the best years of my life and… perhaps tucking birthdays back in the memory closet a bit.
Now , no one ever told me about this I had to find out on my own, that after 30, something happens to your mathematical abilities and all of sudden you find yourself unable to count by ones any longer. Now you count by tens, oh you may have cake every year, but you, and those closest to you are subliminally either spending the time looking back, or peering forward and usually it’s a combination of both. Yes for as long as possible you will now celebrate 29 and when that passes the stages of credibility it will slip up to 39! Ah but there it stops. The visual image I get here is in Lord of the Rings when
Gandolf is on that rock bridge with that evil-looking monster in hot pursuit, he takes his staff and raises it up and thrusts it down while uttering “You shall not pass” ( Of course if you haven’t seen the movie you can probably stir up the same image of mortification by imagining your P.E. teacher in high school giving you a wedgie in front of the entire class!)
While convincing the rest of the world you will never get another day older, you are furtively looking ahead to 40 or 50 or any other multiple of ten you would like to place in the blank.
Suffice it to say, the mind begins to conjure up an alternate universe where age is really just a state of mind, that’s why I can say with complete impunity, I am only 12 and If you want to get me a present, I’ll take mini bike!