February 17th, 2010

Brithday blues and greens

I have made it another year: thirty-five today. I generally regard birthdays as another step in the ongoing transition of aging rather than an immediate transcendence to the next level. From year to year I don't really feel all that different. It's only over a longer period of time that I really see how my life has changed and can look back over the course I have taken.

Yet today puts me in a new demographic bracket. I move out of 25-34 and into 35-44. This implies some kind of measurable (or desire to measure) difference between me today with a label of 35 vs. yesterday with only a 34. I'm just not feeling it. Sorry to disappoint all the marketing-types out there.

This birthday was rather strange for me though. It seemed filled with contradictions and a mix of feelings both good and bad.

For the most part, I treat my birthday pretty much like an ordinary day, but I usually have something I'm looking forward to. Today, however, I didn't have any plans or expectation for any sort of acknowledgment--much less celebration. This was disconcerting in a way I didn't really expect. It made the day feel somehow even less than ordinary. For most of the day I couldn't decide if I couldn't shake the feeling or if it was how I wanted to feel.

I think today was just a reminder that my life actually is very different than it was a year ago.  I have a lot less certainty and stability than I've been used to and I'm still trying to find my way.  But right about when I was feeling most unsure, things took a turn toward the familiar.  I ended up going out to dinner with Lissa.  When I got home, I had cards in the mail from her mom and her sister.  I have a Facebook wall full of birthday wishes.  I received calls and texts from still other people.  So on this day when I was feeling trepidation over how my life has changed, it was great to be reminded of how the best parts of it haven't changed at all.  Thanks to you all!