Okay, Make with the Good Wishes Already

It’s not to be helped or avoided at this point: it’s my birthday. The first one I’ve really dreaded in about… well, in pretty much precisely a decade. Interestingly, it’s not a big round number type birthday, but the one before it, which to my way of thinking is worse, apparently. Turning 29 stank: it was nothing but a year-long reminder that my twenties were almost over, and that, being still in grad school, I hadn’t gotten much of anywhere, that decade. Turning 30, however, was fabulous: a whole new decade, wide open before me, with endless possibilities. And it turns out to have been an appropriate start to what’s been a great nine years.

But now, here I am at the birthday before the big one again, and while my angst this time out has nothing to do with any feeling of lack of accomplishment (even I’m not that silly, particularly not this summer), I’ve still got that end-of-things feeling. Perhaps I’m deluding myself into thinking that I’d rather be turning 40. Perhaps next year I’ll feel worse rather than better. Perhaps this is just the way of birthdays at this age. But I’ve nonetheless got a touch of the bleh today.

I’ve planned myself a good day, culminating in my flights back to SoCal. So tomorrow morning, this long bout of travel and the aggravation of turning 39 will be over. Instead, I’ll be in the thick of the pre-semester startup, with little time for such whining as this.

16 thoughts on “Okay, Make with the Good Wishes Already

  1. Let me be the first to wish you a Happy Happy Birthday on your blog, my dear!

    And for the record, you don’t look a day over 28.

  2. I knew there was a reason I liked you: your spectacular judgment, and discerning taste.

    I thank you, and the record thanks you, too.

  3. Happy birthday! And I’m glad to knwo there was someone else in the world besides me who was happy about turning 30. I’ve been feeling like such a freak.

  4. I loved turning 30 too–and hated 29. I think you’ve nailed it in that one looks back and the other opens up new worlds. So, anyway happy birthday, and here’s to next year’s 40 !

  5. Thanks, all. It turned out to be a pretty great day, or as great a day as any day that involves the airport can be. And I made the decision at some point that any year that begins so well must be fabulous, simply by association. So onward and upward.

    (And Frances: I’m a firm believer in birthday-week, so you’re not late at all!)

  6. Many happy belated returns, from restful Seven Hills Lake in Putnam County. I’ll be whingeing through my own almost-forty soon enough.

  7. Thanks, all. It’s funny — as I emailed a friend, being 39 feels, weirdly enough, exactly like being 38 (which felt exactly like being 37, which…), and yet turning 39 seemed an altogether dismal prospect. It’s funny how much psychic energy gets bound up in that day, only to have it turn out to be pretty much like every other day. I’ve often wondered if birthday anxiety, particularly as we get older, is in fact less about the actual significance of the day than about the ways that the day really isn’t all that significant any more.

  8. how fortuitous that i happened to cruise by your blog on your birthday. i completely agree with you re: the -9 vs. -0 thing. -0s open out onto new vistas and possibilties; -9’s seem like terminus points. anyway, good luck this year as you make your way toward that next open door of possibility. and btw, it’s been far too long since you maria and i had a pow-wow. we need to do that again soon! all best, ciw.

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