Turning 38: Pretty Neat

I have successfully completed yet another trip around the sun. And it was pretty okay.

Last month, one of my cousins had a birthday and the upside down smiley face she used when she announced that she was twenty-four made me think that perhaps she didn’t dig the idea of being twenty-four. I don’t know. I’m barely literate in emoji.

Whatever her intended meaning, my interpretation of it got me thinking about how people tend to have those dreaded ages. For my roommate it was 40. For a lot of women, for some reason, it’s 40. For some, it’s 30. Mine was 13. I didn’t want to be 13 because that meant I wasn’t a kid anymore, I was a TEENAGER, and that just sounded like a fate worse than death to me. Because after teenager is adult, and who the hell wants to be that?

Not me and I’ve avoided it spectacularly.

I think I lucked out getting my dreaded age out of the way early. Now when other people are bemoaning their impending 50th or 25th or whatever, I’m turning 38 like, “Holy shit, how am I still alive? Someone should be fired for this.”

One thing I’ve noticed in my slide down the hill to 40 is that I’m loosening up some. Maybe it’s the meditations and affirmations I’ve been doing. Maybe it’s the realization that I’m getting beyond the age of expectations. It’s harder and harder for society to place expectations of certain achievements, attainments, and behaviors because I’m too old now. It’s too late. There’s no hope for me.

It’s the release of that pressure to live up to these arbitrary benchmarks that’s got me feeling loose. It’s not that I’m now going to abandon everything and become a useless lump. Some might argue that I already am one because I’ve always been one. No, it’s not giving up. It’s the shifting of focus from what society wants to me to be and achieve and the stress caused by the cognitive dissonance of that to what I actually want to be and achieve and the lack of stress from striving for that without any inner conflict.

Makes me feel pretty optimistic about 38.

I think it’s going to be some kind of chill.

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Turning 37: I Can See 40 from Here

birthday hatThirty-seven years ago today I was ripped from my mother’s womb in a most undignified fashion and I’ve been disgruntled ever since. But, I do so love my birthday. I will milk this day for all its worth and I will do it with no shame. I rarely do anything remarkable on my birthday, but believe me, I believe my birthday to be a special day and I will use it as my excuse to do anything.

37 is an interesting age, I think.  From here I can see 40, a dreaded number for some reason. I guess because 40 signals middle age to so many people and middle age is the next step to being old and if there’s anything this society fears, it’s the concept of being old or seen as old. I can relate to that to a certain extent. I certainly don’t want to be seen as old because the connotations of that involves being fixed in mindset, less likely to engage in fun.

But I don’t mind getting older.

I don’t know. I just don’t think I have anything to fear from getting older. In many respects, I’ve always been an old soul, always seemed more mature and responsible and knowledgeable for my years. But then, at my advanced age I still watch cartoons and dance in public and sometimes dress like a toddler who got to pick out her own clothes and dress herself like a big girl. I feel like I’ve got a good balance going here.

I suppose I should be in panic mode. At 35, you’re just on the hill. At 36, you’re just over, but 40 is still at a considerable distance. But there’s nothing between 37 and 40 to block the view. Now here I am, in full view of 40 and I’m still struggling right along, not having checked off one item on society’s to do list. I should be mired in a pit of self-loathing right now, but I’m not.

I suppose if I hadn’t spent much of 36 in a major dialogue with myself about my life I would be panicking right about now. Instead, I’m feeling pretty zen, like maybe, just maybe, I can swing this life pretty okay and be happy doing it.

I have no fear of 37.

I think we’re going to get along just fine.

Turning 36

heartthrobHere I am, turning 36 only a couple of days after David Bowie died, and my brain is having a lot of thoughts.

The first thought is that I had no idea that I would be this affected by the man’s death, in part I suppose, like many, I never thought about him being anything other than immortal. But also, as much as I enjoyed the man and his work, I don’t think I’d ever call myself a David Bowie fan. I think the only thing I own is his greatest hits album, though I’ve definitely listened to much more than that. I just didn’t spend the money or have the devotion required to call myself a fan, I think. And yet, news of his death has left me prone to tears.

In seeing all of the very lovely thoughts and remembrances scrolling along my social media feeds, all of which were quite touching and it was amazing to see how this one person affected so many people, a certain sort of theme kind of captured my mind.

Existence and reinvention.

Existing as you are, whatever you are, that day and existing as that human until it’s time to be something else, then reinventing yourself into your new existence. That’s basically what David Bowie did during the course of his career. And people dug it because they could relate to it. They could relate to every phase of his being no matter what the outward projection was. They could relate to that honesty and that otherness that they maybe couldn’t quite accept or express in themselves.

This isn’t meant to be some kind of poetic eulogy of questionable quality. It’s supposed to be about me turning 36. Which I have done. Successfully. And it is at this successful turn so soon after this significant human’s demise that I am thinking about my existence and my need for reinvention. I’m thinking about my need for honest expression in general, for the honest expression of my otherness. I am thinking about my ability to be in my truest form.

Heavy shit, I know.

The age number is arbitrary, though I know people will enjoy elbowing me in the ribs while pointing out how close I’m getting to 40. But I’ve been having my mid-life crisis since I was 28, so that number holds no superstitious sway over me. If anything, being 36 has promise since it’s divisible by 3 and that’s the sort of thing I like.

I’m sure I won’t spend the whole time I’m 36 brooding about my life and all of the questions in it. I’ve got shit to do, after all, and I’m crap at multitasking.

But I bet I pause more often this trip around the sun to check my existence.

35 Now

birthday hatI’m going to be honest with you about something.

Yesterday, when I officially turned 35, I was more put out about the fact that I had to run errands and go grocery shopping than I was about turning 35.

When it comes to my birthday, I am like a toddler. It’s mine, mine, mine! I don’t have to! It’s my birthday! I get to do whatever I want! And I don’t want to be a grown-up and do grown-up things!

Which brings me to my next reflective point about turning 35.

I am now on the downward slide to 40 (“Hands up! Test your nuts!” as we used to say while riding roller coasters) and as such I’m sure there are people looking at me, possibly wanting to poke me, wondering what the hell is wrong with me. I’m 35 now. I’m supposed to be a grown-up. I’m supposed to be this, that, and the other with a real job and a mortgage and bills and all the trappings of adulthood. I’m supposed to be striving to meet society’s expectations of a woman of my advanced age (and weight, but that’s a different post). What am I doing?

This is actually something I’ve reflected on quite a bit in the month leading up to my birthday.  I gave serious consideration to the fact that I’m still dodging a big part of the standard adult business and that maybe I should consider, you know, straightening up and flying right.

But I just can’t make myself do it, kids. I knew it back when I was 12. I remember being supremely unhappy at the prospect of being 13 because that would mean I was a teenager and after teenager was adult and there was so much of that life stage that I didn’t find appealing. I liked being a kid and I’ve always been very bitter about the whole growing up thing.

Here’s the thing. I KNOW I can adult. I could adult with the best of them. I’m very good at responsibility. I’m so good at responsibility that I’ve been known to take on responsibilities that aren’t even mine. I’m very reliable and dependable and organized. I’m mature. I’ve been mature since I was little. I have all of the qualifications to be a good and proper adult according to society’s standards.

I just don’t want to BE an adult.

After years of doing things I hated in order to live up to someone else’s standards, trying to please other people, I realized that I have no desire to adult. It’s an epic drag and it’s not for me.

I’d rather do things my way, if you don’t mind.

So if that means being 35 and not being grown-up, that’s perfectly cool with me.

Turning 34

34I turned 34 yesterday and I’m not exactly thrilled with it (not to be confused with the actual birthday part, in which I enjoyed myself very much).

It’s not the getting older part that I don’t like. I prefer that to the alternative (aka dead). And I’m not one of those people that protests their own birthday because of the whole getting older thing. Are you kidding? This is MY day! I can do almost anything on the basis that it’s my birthday.

No, it’s not any of that. It’s just the number. 34. It sounds like a drag.

I’ve talked before about my weird number quirks. I like 3’s and multiples of 3. I was really excited to be 33 because, holy cow, that’s TWO 3’s! Double your 3 pleasure! Better yet, 33 adds up to 6! A multiple of 3! An actual doubling of 3’s pleasure!

34…that’s not a multiple of 3. Worse, it adds up to 7. Everyone else raves about that number, but it’s my least favorite. In fact, it leads me to believe that my entirety of 34 is going to be a huge bummer, as opposed to 33, which I felt sure would be fabulous simply based on the 3 factor.

Okay, yes, I’m weird. Weird to the point that I’ve been thinking of just telling everyone I’m 36 for the next few years (I’m not sure I’m digging 35 just yet either), so I can avoid being 34, at least in spirit.

Hey, if age is just a number, I should be able to do that, right?

Saying I’m 36 might also give my perception of really spending the year being 34 a boost. I don’t have high hopes for the year because of that number. Maybe I can use the 36 magic to boost my spirits some and make it a better year than I anticipate.

You never know. Maybe that little number manipulation might make me change my mind and claim to be 34, really own it.

Sure, why not?

It’s all in the math, baby.

*I have been reminded of Internet Rule #34. I’m not sure if that will make my year better or worse, but it definitely made my view of it more interesting.

The Boat

Riverboat‘Round these parts, folks go to the boat for a good time. For those of you not familiar with the Cornfield and its vernacular, “going to the boat” means going to the riverboat casino in Peoria.

This past Saturday was my roommate Carrie’s birthday. Since it was a milestone birthday (I won’t say what stone that mile marks), she wanted to do something big. Our original plan was to go to Chicago, but since she hurt her knee and wouldn’t be able to do that much walking, she decided that going to the boat would be a good alternative.

Riverboat ViewWe stayed at the hotel. Our room was fabulous with a lovely view of the parking lot and the river beyond. I’m not joking. For a parking lot view, it was still really nice. I could write lyrical poems about the bathroom. The shower was divine. You can’t say that about most hotel showers.

We hit up the buffet that night for dinner. It was a seafood special, perfect for Carrie’s birthday as she is a big lover of seafood. It was a pretty nice spread and the food was pretty good. I’ve never had seafood lasagna before and wasn’t sure I’d like it, but it was some tasty, tasty stuff.

I was probably the youngest person at the buffet and frankly, I didn’t mind it. It made for a quiet meal. The guy sitting next to us was getting his prime rib on. Meanwhile, another lady went back to her table with a plate of mashed potatoes and brussel sprouts. Carrie looked horrified. “Is she being punished?”

Riverboat dinnerConsidering the dessert spread, maybe she thought she needed to earn that German chocolate cake. Laws knows that if salad didn’t count as a vegetable then I wouldn’t have eaten one all weekend.

The casino was loud and bright and crowded, but we managed to find our way to the lowest floor (deck?) and the slots. The dress code was quite loose as we saw some people dressed to the nines and other folks that didn’t seem to own any shirts with sleeves. A few people were in their pajamas.

The first night I won about forty dollars and Carrie won about fifty. The second night, we wore more on the losing end, but we still managed to come out ahead.

I spent my winnings on Steak n Shake.

We both had a lot of fun, but we both realized that we’re not casino people. We found the prime rib guy working two slots at once and he had at least 200 bucks in one of them. Another guy was sliding into Carrie’s seat as soon as she got out of it because he thought her machine was hot. We might have spent an hour or an hour and a half at most in the casino each night. It was fun while we were winning, not as fun when we were losing, and there were a whole lot of people that resembled zombies in there.

Definitely a fun once-in-a-while weekend thing, but we couldn’t make a job of it.

Happy 32!

Today is my birthday and I have successfully turned 32, which will hereby be referred to as 30-Deuce because it sounds cooler.

To celebrate, I’m going to spend the weekend in Chicago at the Cubs Convention with my good friend Becca and going to meet some of my Cubs fan Twitter friends for the first time. It’s going to be a lot of fun (I don’t give things like this any other choice).

This also means I’ll be taking the next four days off. No blog posts ’til Tuesday!

Happy birthday to me!