I’ve had quite a few birthdays. I’ve had enough birthdays to remember great, awful, and blah birthdays. Enough to know that I also have the relative luxury to forget more than a few.
I have had enough birthdays where I filled myself with stupid angst about a number. The taste left behind by the unnecessary mugging is somewhere between that of overly fermented bean sprouts and what I like to call “bread surprise.” When I think of all that misspent energy worrying about being young, I wish I could invent a time machine just to have the privilege to slap myself silly.
And so now, thirty-five has arrived and I am amused. Amused because it’s an odd number, and it’s an odd feeling to arrive at an age when you start to feel little about age– and feeling little is something that does not come easily to someone as prone to theatrics as I fancy myself to be.
My grandiose plan to signal the beginning of what can be considered my middle age was to photograph myself somehow next to the stenciled number thirty-five I see on a regular basis at Herr Meow’s school. It seemed in my mind to have some whimsy; or, at the very least, enough moxie for a chuckle.
And then it deluged for a while, and the one picture I could snap was with non-summery feet encased in rubber boots. This struck me as funny– or about as funny as stenciling numbers on concrete steps, but we digress. Here it is:
A few days later, I took the picture I thought I wanted to take. It wasn’t really the picture I wanted to take. Here it is:
The thing I liked, and which was an unforeseen outcome until the two pictures came together is this: thirty-five up, thirty-five down. It’s all in a point of view. Sometimes it feels like you’re going uphill, both ways, in the rain and the snow. Sometimes it’s breezy and sunny and light and seventy degrees in your heart.
And that’s the way with birthdays, too.