Pam Webb

a writer's journey as a reader

O Me, O My, My Birthday

Here is a math problem:

“Person X, soon to have a birthday, realizes this birthday will be the same chronological year as the birth year. Person X also realizes the birth year and achieved age are flipped numbers of the year of high school graduation. Given the birth year, chronological age, and graduation year, how old is Person X.”

I think I had this math problem in my eighth grade textbook.  This is probably why I decided to major in English.

But it’s true: I realized something unique about this year’s birthday–I shall turn the age of my birth year, at least the last two digits. When I compute that in my brain it sounds like I’m much older than I really am. What it comes down to is this:
I’m not sure how I feel about this particular chronos marking.

  •  I’m not old enough to retire, although some establishments elect to grant me a discount.
  • I’m past AARP’s initial invitation.
  • I’m old enough to know better, yet still have the gumption to still give it a whirl. Then again, it depends on the “it.” Bungee-jumping requires a deeper consideration these days as does the all you can eat buffet.
  • I can remember the “when I was”, although I am amazed at how long ago the when truly was, plus some of the details are fuzzy.
  • I no longer look forward to birthday cake because I only see calories laughing at me under all those candles.
  • Speaking of candles, the little skinny invids have been replaced by the fat doubles. I find this an insulting truism of my present state of figure.

My mother raised me thinking birthdays were really extra special. Part of that reasoning stems from waking up and seeing flags hanging up all over town and in front of everyone’s house. I never questioned my mother’s ability to achieve this. She was that kind of mother. It wasn’t until I turned about twelve that I learned June 14th signified Flag Day and hanging out the flag was expected. Please no comments about my naiveté or lack of American holiday knowledge. It wasn’t until I became an adult that I discovered another disenchantment–birthdays are only really a big deal up until the age of 21.

The Dr. knows how to make the special day special!

All the big deal birthday milestones take place in this order:

1. turning one: not too cognizant but it’s a big deal nonetheless
2. turning five: Yay! Go to school!
3. turning ten: Wow! double-digit
4. turning thirteen: All right! Teen Time
5. turning sixteen: Yes, I’m gonna drive my car
6. turning eighteen: Yay! Get out of school! Oh yeah–vote for important stuff too.
7. turning twenty-one: Omigosh! I’m considered an adult–all kinds of perks.

After twenty-one there are some milestones to consider such as thirty, forty, fifty–okay, I’ll stop there. All those in between and beyond years are rather tedious and accumulative. Yes, it is nice to get cards and presents, and okay, one small piece of cake.  The wake up to ME day (check out the Dr. Seuss book) isn’t happening anymore.  Is that sad or a state of reality?

For instance, instead of relaxing and trying to encourage the Queen for a Day mode, I allowed myself to get talked into proctoring for the ACT–funny how extra money is a motivator when the car is acting up. This is not how I envision the first part of my birthday. Lounging in bed definitely was part of that vision. Oh well, I don’t sleep past 7am anyway.
The MEPA assured me the rest of the day will proceed better. A muttered “kidnapping” floated my way. I’m not sure if this is a threat or a promise.

How do the rest of you spend your birthdays? Are they still big deals or just a tick on the age stick?

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8 thoughts on “O Me, O My, My Birthday

  1. Dave Quayle on said:

    Another thing about birthdays up to a certain point is – sorry, a bit more maths – the older you get the closer your kids’ ages to yours are proportionately. So, for instance this year my oldest son achieves half my age. And next year he’s more than half my age. And so on. In as much as this slightly deflates him, it pleases me.

    • Ooh-that is one to ponder. 15 and 45 is much different than 25 and 55. The gap seemingly decreases but remains the same. This is much like the warning in side mirrors: caution–age differences are smaller than they actually appear.

  2. I like to disappear. My husband likes to be surrounded by people. Yet we are still married. 😀

  3. Congrats on making it to the age of your birth year! 😀

  4. Same for me — 1957, and 57. I still like to celebrate…better than the alternative!

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