Tuesday, June 7, 2011

34 Years and One Day

"Yesterday it was my birthday, I hung one more year on the line.  I should be depressed, my life's a mess, but I'm havin' a good time." -Paul Simon

34.  Not just my high school basketball number anymore.  It's my vintage.  34.  Not a huge fan of 34 so far.  My body hurts more than it did when I was 14 and my mind isn't as sharp as when I was 24.  My hope that I'll be able to use my life toward some greater good diminishes with each passing year.  When I was a kid, my birthdays were always great.  I was royalty for a day.  Now birthdays just make me want to be a kid again. 

My dad came to see me.  He always does on my birthday.  Yesterday morning I was anxiety-ridden because I thought maybe he wouldn't come.  He had been out to say hello and gave me my birthday present  late last week.  It hadn't occurred to me until yesterday that maybe he wouldn't show.  But he showed, and I felt silly for thinking maybe he wouldn't.  I'm glad he did.  I need to see him on my birthday.  He  always tells me the day I was born was his best day.  That's huge.  I made someone's day their best day.  Not everyone can say that. 

My mom came to see me.  She brought fried chicken and cherry pie.  When she comes over I never want her to leave.  With every passing year, I find it harder to communicate with people.  I'm often misunderstood.  My mother either listens to and understands every word I say or she fakes it very well.  Whatever the case, she's the only one I feel completely comfortable talking with.  I like being comfortable, and she never stays long enough.

34 wasn't as traumatic as 30.  30 was hard.  30 was the year I was supposed to have my ducks in a row by.  My ducks weren't lined up.  My ducks are unruly.  Four years later I can't get a single one to cooperate.  By now I've gotten pretty used to the wild ducks, but I am reminded every sixth of June.  I am reminded of my birth and my life and my mortality.  I am reminded of my sense of responsibility to my loved ones and to the world in general.  I am reminded of every mistake and missed opportunity.  I am reminded of how selfish I am to want to be royalty for even one day a year, and how undeserving I am to get all the love I do on all the days of the year.

I am glad it's the seventh of June.  Exhausted by the sixth, I slept half the day.  The eighth will be easier.  By solstice I should be feeling myself again.  That's the good thing about getting older.  I know a few more things.  I know myself well enough to know the melancholy will give way to the sunshine of late June.  I know that it may rain on the fourth of July but the fifth will be beautiful.  I know my ducks are happier running wild than all lined up.  I know next June sixth I'll be a mess again, but I'll foolishly look forward to it anyway.  Just in case I can be royalty for a day.        

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