You’d think I’d be better prepared, but my birthday sneaks up on me more as an adult. Which I thought was a good thing—no more agonizing for the weeks and months waiting for it. Now it’s more like, “Oh, sweet, presents this weekend.” But then I think about whether or not I’ve checked off enough accomplishments to account for another year in age. It’s like when I realize I have a dentist appointment next week and try to cram in six months’ worth of flossing.
Hell, Beau the Universal Assistant just pointed out that summer’s on its way out, so I don’t even feel like I’ve taken full advantage of the season, much less the whole year. Where do these things go? I knew I should’ve been out flying kites and catching grasshoppers instead of doing stupid laundry and paying bills.
I turn 32 on Monday. I feel like I should’ve remembered to set goals last year, and then I should’ve remembered to go after them. (I’m much more introspective and goal-oriented around my birthday than New Year’s.)
It’s that added year, that numeric stamp on my identity, that makes everything seem so finite and mathematical. And as an English major, the only thing I can do about mathematics is write an open-ended little essay about how crazy they make me.
I will say this: By the end of the month, I will have paid off my student loans. So take that, universe.
But is that enough? Why don’t I feel like a grownup? Where is my beautiful house? Where is my large automobile? (How did I get here? Where does this highway go to?)
Worse still, am I so afraid of letting the time slip by that I lose my days and years in self-assessment? Surely the hour I spent writing this blog could’ve been used in preparation for climbing a mountain or, like, organizing my stock portfolio or something.
But as good as it is to have ambitions, obsessing over accomplishments is not my idea of a life well spent. This is not my beautiful house.
So I realize I’d be better served using my birthday as an excuse to cut myself some slack: I’m going to ignore my frozen black bean burgers and eat out for lunch on Friday; I’m going to Friday-night hockey practice, where I’ll skate so hard I fall down, and then I’m going to eat French fries; I’m not going to go to soccer practice at 10 a.m. Saturday; I’m going to spend Saturday out and about doing whatever, and then I’m going to drink beer and eat pizza and watch UFC, and from then through Sunday’s hockey game, I’m going to put my energy into the dirtiest, funniest, most reprehensible locker room talk, and I’m going to punctuate it all with a monster belch. Because I’m 32, dammit.
And if I don’t do any of those things? Well, I’m determined to feel ok about that, too. There’s always next year.