It’s funny how differently people feel about birthdays. I’ve told y’all before about my friend who celebrates an entire month of her birth every year. I think it started with a week, but, from there, it morphed into all of September. She loves it. And why not? It is something to be celebrated. She’s alive, happy and healthy.
Kids look at birthdays as an accomplishment. Every passing day gets them close to the prize: being a grown up. Don’t miss the half birthday either.
We celebrate our kids’ milestones, with pictures of every week (infants), month (toddlers) and year (all the rest). We should. We’re proud of their accomplishments and achievements. Watching them grow is fascinating. As parents, we’re impressed we’ve kept them alive at all, what with all the feeding and teaching and everything else.
Kid years pass so quickly. “The days are long, and the years are short,” they say. It’s an overused cliché, but it’s true. Blink too hard and they’re grown. Unfortunately, reality hits when the earliest years seem like a blur. I’d give just about anything to revisit those weekly, monthly and toddler yearly birthdays even for a second. A quick glance and a hug wouldn’t be half bad.
Teenage years and early adulthood are wished by at a faster pace. Sixteen means driving, 18 years is high school graduation, and 21 gets a first (legal) cocktail. My dad told me it was so convenient when I could finally drive and help with the shuttling around of my brothers. He also said it was the most terrifying time of his life.
Getting into our twenties, so much energy is spent on real adult decisions. Should I marry? Where should I work? Grad school? Who will I marry? Does this job suck, or does working just suck? Buy a house? Keep renting? Move? Stay? Get out of my parents’ basement?
For any self-respecting adult, the questions above are answered by 30 or so. If there’s not a “who,” we at least know if we want to at all. With age and confidence, career goals and aspirations come clear as well. I’ve noticed something, though. People really start hating their birthdays. Women lie about the number, and a lady’s age shouldn’t ever be disclosed. I’ve never understood this. I wear my years with pride. I’ve earned every gray hair and wrinkle. Yeah, I have them. I do color the gray, but I’m not into botox or the like. Yet. Or ever. The jury’s still out.
A message from a friend prompted my thoughts on all this. She asked what I thought about celebrating our first year in our late thirties. My honest to goodness response was “I haven’t had a chance to think about it yet!” She and I haven’t talked, so I don’t know if she’s sad, excited or a little of both. To me, this was another year. It could be because I’m exactly where I want to be, doing exactly what I want to be doing. Sure, I’d love a couple of vacation homes and a bottomless bank account, but, well, I’m a realist, too. I think that happened in my 30s.
Will I hate my age in my 40s? Anything is possible, I guess. I hope I don’t. Friends keep saying that 40s are the best. People in their 50s tell me that’s the best decade. Perspective is unique. I don’t want to have to worry about hindsight. For now, I’m glad I’m on this side of the dirt. It’s better than the alternative.
I’m 38 and proud of it. From what I hear, I should be celebrating with an appletini, but I’ve never had one and probably never will (but thanks for the suggestion). It sounds nasty. I’ll stick with wine. Cheers!