Today is my birthday, and if there is one thing I am certain of, it's that's when you get to my age...birthday's really don't matter all that much. Actually, birthday's cease to matter well before my age.
I am pretty sure I once heard a comedian say what I am about to say, but since he stole the idea from someone else, I really don't feel bad about sharing the concept. He basically said all birthday up to age 18 should be recognized. After than you got age 21, then 25...and every 5 years after that to expect other people to care about your birthday. When I first heard this theory, I found myself nodding along...because I agree 100%. In a few years, when I turn 40...I expect something...maybe a parade...but, today, turning 36? It was a convenient excuse for getting out of work early.
Whether you expect the rest of the world to acknowledge your birthday or not doesn't change the fact that it is happening...it's a reminder to all of us that the clock is ticking. A reminder that I, like most people don't need. I see it every day in the mirror when I brush my teeth...'That grey chest hair wasn't there yesterday' Heck, even before that I see it, I HEAR it...I sound like a bowl of rice crispies when I roll out of bed in the morning.
I can't say I feel it yet...not everyday. I do notice that it takes my body longer to bounce back from things than it used to(drinking) but I don't have a trick knee, or a trick back yet.
What I do have is that ticking clock...and the suspicion that at age 36...I am half-way There. Whatever you happen to believe There is.
The truth is, I am not really worried about getting There..it's what pitfalls wait for me near the end of the trip. I admit that my biggest worries about getting old don't revolve around death(we are all going to die) but about the things that some people go through before getting that final release. For me, aging is okay...my wife thinks I will make a cute old man. My own worst nightmares revolve around the idea that it is possible to become...'trapped' in ones own body....suffering from a stroke or accident that keeps the mind going, but removes the ability to use your body or communicate with the outside world.
Alzheimer's would be even worse...I can't think of a more horribly, horrific thing than forgetting all the good times.
For the last few days, my wife has seen the melancholy mounting...the long stares and deep sighs that signal things are getting deep and dark inside my head. She has done her best to head it off. In her world, birthdays are a time celebrate your life and where you are...not worry about the future. She's given me lot's of hugs and kisses, thinking that this will help me focus on all the good stuff, which is very appreciated...if unnecessary. I do appreciate what I have...so much so that the worries about not having it someday add fuel to the worries about the future.
Not everything is bad...in the end melancholy is not the same as depression. This is fleeting...tonight there will be a tasty dinner with three of my favorite women in the world(alas, it is my wife and kids, not Christina Hendricks, Scarlett Johannson and Miranda Lambert, which would be an okay trio to have dinner with also). Tomorrow is Wednesday, which is back to being just another day.
Maybe, if I can keep faking some blank stares and deep sighs, I caneven keep getting an extra ration of hugs and kisses from my wife.