Most of the time, I have only given my birthday a cursory acknowledgment. Not for the reasons most people do, though. I am blessed, if you can call it a blessing, to not look my age. Knowing what I do now, I would not object to looking older if I could feel younger. I apparently am the law of averages. I look a lot younger, feel a lot older, boom. My actual age is the average between the two. Go me, right?
Even when I was a kid, my birthday wasn’t exactly the special day it was for other kids. I grew up in the day before Toys R Us. See, back then, department stores did not trot out toys until they were getting ready for Christmas. Or send out the Christmas toy catalogs (there was no internet, thus no internet shopping.) My birthday is early August…the catalogs never appeared earlier than the middle of August. Back then, usually right before September. The toys appeared after Back To School was done. When school traditionally did not begin until after Labor Day. That was when all the summer stuff disappeared and the winter holiday stuff came out.
So, as a rule, I never got toys for my birthday. (My parents never considered lawn darts as a single-child toy.) I once asked for a surprise birthday party for my birthday. The ‘distraction’ was so obvious it was painful. Apparently, I had no friends of my own as those who came were immediate family (adults) and friends of my parents who had kids. I got a watch (it was pretty, yes, but too pretty/fancy for daily wear.) And my two favorite things at the time…a box of ice cream sandwiches and a box of Ellios pizza. Wild times, I’m telling you. Not.
Roll forward many years. I ended up being pregnant for my 21st birthday. Had one small drink as a token ‘I can drink legal now’ event. Oh, and I was stuck on base because the first Iraq war event had just happened and the entire military was on alert. I almost did not get to spend the day with my husband (he came on base, no one argued about his presence.) The Army’s gift to me…and the other pregnant women…was we were allowed to go home at nights to sleep there, but we had to be in first thing every day and were there until forever at night. I was grateful for the bed, but the whole thing was a mess.
Roll forward another few decades and my birthday is now the anniversary of Robin Williams’ death. Yaaaaaay.
This year, though, is the Big One. The big Five-Oh-Gods-I’m-Old one. Could it have been better? Oh, yeah. A weekend of two 10+ hour drives because of one person’s utter inability to think about the impact of their decisions on anyone else that will likely never be repeated because said person and the rest of the family’s utter inability to be anything but effing arseholes. I’ll take that as their present to me, as I doubt they have the capacity for compassion. (Why yes, they do support certain individuals occupying space on PA Ave and wrecking our nation. Shocked? I’m not.)
Got to spend the day at our local Ren Faire with my daughter. It was fun, though disappointing for me as the atmosphere of the place has continued to degrade. They have put in speakers at most of the stages, but apparently did not bother putting out for actually good speakers. When there wasn’t the bone-jarring feedback now and then, the balance between speakers and background music left much to be desired. Or understanding the songs being sung. Not a clue what was being said most of the time, which detracted from the fun. And I knew a grand total of two people, when my husband and I had known a good portion of the cast, crew, and regular artisans in the past. Glad to see my daughter has a lot of friendships, but I was decidedly left out. (Writers are boring no matter how good our stories are.)
But I survived another year. Made it to 50, still going to yell at the husband for his NOT making it to 50 (reasons I may be immortal…no one on that side wants to deal with my very irritated I-am-done-with-your-shit temper.) My goals now are to figure out how I can afford to retire when I want so I can actually do things before my health detours onto a PennDOT maintained side road (ie, uneven, teeth-rattling pot holes, and other fun adventures.)