I was pretty proud about how I handled this years birthday. With the business of the year, when it rolled around I simply couldn’t be bothered to care. Usually it is met with fear, trepidation which leads to hatred and melancholy before I get to indifference. The final stage is acceptance. To which I throw myself into the idea that festivities will make it all ok. And plan a weekend of events, if only to try to drown myself in other peoples happiness.
This occurs to me today (which is far from my birthday) because Dreannan is turning a year older today. As a guy, he dives in with happiness. He’s always happy at an approaching year. Largely, I presume, because as a man there’s nothing for him to worry about. Not. One. Thing. Not wrinkles. Not sagging skin. Not infertility. (And thanks to scientist) Not deflating sexual interest. Dreannan gets to continue to act as if he’s five years old (which is really, the only time, birthdays should be whole heartedly enjoyed). Actually, no, he acts like he’s twenty-five. Man, it’s good to be a man. Which he knows since he’s most likely partying like a rock star, at this very moment.
Then on the other side of the friend podium, is a friend who would prefer to remain nameless (FWPRN). My close friend since high school, she has decided to go the way of denying that she was ever actually born. Only to prevent anyone from ever knowing how old she might be. The mention of her birthday is fraught with strategic defences and threats of disownership. She currently lives in a place where no one knows her age. And would probably die trying.
So you can understand FWPRN‘s dismal of me when I emailed her that our 20th year reunion was currently being planned. The realization that I’ve been out of high school for that length of time had completely escaped me. How did I get old? When did it happen? It feels like yesterday that my brother went to his. I stood laughing at him describing how fat, bald, homely the popular kids had become. Or was that his ten year? I have no recollection. Which sadly brings me back to the point – that I’m obviously aging! No matter how I approach each birthday, it is happening.
I’m not going to go to my reunion though. I like to keep high school as a pleasant and distant memory. Nor do I think, any good will come from being in a room full of people who all will go on at length about how old we’ve become. Because it’s happened. And will continue to without fail.
So has a simple invite to a reunion helped me end my delusion about me ageing? Actually no. What ended it was my today. I was home trying to write when I decided to put on some music. We have Apple TV and decided to use the radio app on it. Flipping through I came across a station playing Boyz II Men End of the Road. Before I knew what was happening, I had my cell in my hand, standing in as my mic, while I belted out the tune like I was on stage. I reached out into the crowd and everything. Which made me remember doing that exact same thing back in my bedroom on Long Island when I was what…fourteen? Sixteen? Doesn’t really matter, it was a serious case of deja vue. And as Lisa Lisa and the Cult Jam began singing, I had to look at the screen to remember the songs name. Do you know what I saw?
I was listening to the Adult Contemporary radio station.
No longer are they playing Brown Eyed Girl or any Paul McCartney. Nope, my music has now been labeled Adult Contemporary. And I sighed. A really, really long sigh. Then Karyn White came on singing The Way You Love Me and I was right back, singing my heart out. Accepting that I grew up in the 80s and know nearly every popular hit from the 90s by heart has helped me accept that I’ve fought the good fight. Which, assuming you can do math, you’ll figure out that I am well into my thirties. Truth – I am 37! Where next year a room full of my former peers will celebrate, commemorate and commiserate that we haven’t been 18 for twenty years. I’ll take a moments pause before kicking into my second verse of The Humpty Dance.
I hope, when my birthday comes around again, that I’ll be able to just accept it and move on. And that my friends will join me.