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Aging ungracefully

I don’t think I’ve always hated birthdays. In retrospect, though, I can think of only a small handful of birthdays (that I can remember) that I actually enjoyed.

(I distinctly recall two I liked: a 21st birthday surprise party in college, and – oddly enough – eight years ago, when I ended up having emergency gallbladder surgery.)

Otherwise, birthdays have become increasingly depressing for me. I’m not even taking the day off from work for the big day. I figured that if I was off work, I’d just spend the day brooding. And no matter what, much self-pity and irritation with my immediate loved ones is likely to be had by all.

No matter how I choose to spend my day (and, more and more, the day[s] before and after), I end up sitting around craving people’s attention and loud, enthused good wishes – and, when I don’t get it, wanting to go away and be left alone so I don’t think about being forgotten. It blows over after a day or two, but it’s not fun when you experience it.

When you stop and think about it – and part of my problem is that I’m stopping and thinking too much – humans just want to be remembered and have their existence recognized. That’s all anybody wants.

(And ironically, or perhaps not, I’m increasingly thoughtless and terrible about remembering and acknowledging others. And appreciating them. I used to be really good at it and made an effort to remember birthdays and such, but then the favor was rarely returned, so I stopped. But that’s a topic for another post.)

Two days before the big day, I’ll be heading out, running errands, and figuring out what to do with myself as I turn a whopping 55 years old. Happy birthday to me.