The Dreaded Birthday (or: Self-indulgent Sentimentalist Bitchstravaganza with Accompanying Random Thought Spillage)

Disclaimer: this might get sappy. Or bitchy. Or both. Buckle up, y’all. (Also, for our interactive segment at the end, you will need at least one rum and coke with two limes.)

I’m turning thirty tomorrow.

Yeah. That’s weird, right? (No, Vanessa, it’s not. It happens every day.) Yes I know that! But I don’t know how to feel about it. I mean, I know it’s all relative. I’ll probably feel just as weird about turning forty. Or eighty. I don’t feel old. I just feel weird. Like I should be a grownup by now. But what does that even mean? I have a job. I pay my bills (most of the time). I have car insurance and a will. I have a dog and houseplants and a pretty low level of bullshit in my life. That all feels grownup, I guess. But you know how when you’re young and you think you’re invincible and the thirty-somethings in your life seem sooo old? I don’t feel like that. I don’t feel like anyone should look at me and think “There goes a responsible adult. Good for her.” Maybe they do. Fuck, I don’t know. A hundred years ago I’d be a total grownup by now, no questions asked. Two hundred years ago I’d be a grandmother. Five hundred years ago I’d be dead. Or some kind of revered clan elder. Or something.

I’m not really articulating this very well. Whatever. I’m weirded out, is all. Off-balance.

I just thought I’d have some switch in my head that said “ding” and then I’d feel grownup. It never happened. I’m still just me, goofy as ever. Awkward, certainly, but more comfortable about it. I suppose that’s fine. That’s the trick, though, isn’t it? That self-acceptance? Why does that take so long? My generation is the first to be allowed this weird extended adolescence. Maybe it is our longer lifespans. Or our lack of something to rally around, anything to define us. Takes us longer to figure out what we want. What we stand for. How to get our shit together, basically.

But thirty’s going to be great. And damn it, if it’s not great on its own I will pound it into submission. I had this discussion with a friend a couple of weeks ago and we agreed that in your twenties you have memorable times, and in your thirties you have enjoyable times. Even though they may seem boring, and there’s nothing new to report, you genuinely enjoy things more because they’re not all new and weird and scary. Your twenties are like an acid trip. Your thirties should be like a good glass of wine. Or four. Or eight.

I’m glad I survived this long. That’s actually a pretty impressive feat, all things considered. How many times have I had to say “Dude, we almost just died”? Thanks for that, friends and other hangers-on throughout my teens and twenties. On the other hand, some of us didn’t make it this far. And I miss them. But they’re still around. I think of them and smile. They live on in a way, don’t they? When you smell a particular scent or hear that one song? They’re not here, but they’re not gone. Mostly, I’d just like to hear what they’d have to say about stuff.

Wait, wait, let’s go back. I got all maudlin and missed something important.

I’m glad I’m still here, yeah, but more than that: I’m glad I was even born. Thanks Mom and Dad. Seriously. People don’t thank their parents enough for having sex. I know that sounds ridiculous, but think about it: if these people weren’t attracted to each other you wouldn’t be here, so maybe give them a thumbs-up for having good taste. (And all that raising me stuff they did was pretty cool, too.) But really, more than our parents all having good timing, there are a ton of circumstances that had to line up for each of us to be here. And to be who we are. Eons and eons of time stacked up on itself, and somehow we all ended up here together. I love that.

Urgh. It’s just so weird. Thirty. I should’ve done something by now, right? All I am is here. And happy. Guess one can’t ask for more than that. Here with my thick glasses and my silly sweaters and my typewriter collection. At least I’ve embraced my…whateveryouwanttocallit…weirdness, awkwardness, nerdiness, blah blah blah labels, these past couple of years, stopped trying to cover it or overcome it (but clearly not tried to stop naming the bastard). Fuck that noise. I spent far too long doing that. If people don’t get me, they don’t get me, and that’s fine. Wonderful that our culture has shifted to a point where anything goes and that’s ok. Especially for young people. Hopefully they won’t have to be as angsty as we were in the 90’s (way back in the 20th century, you whippersnappers). What a weird time to grow up, the 90’s. Stuck between hair metal and emo, by way of grunge. Between cocaine and meth, by way of ecstasy. Between pay phones and Facebook, by way of cell phones as big as my head. “We are the middle children of history,” quoth the great bard Chuck Palahniuk. But, urm, anyway, like I said: I’m embracing. That’s my birthday resolution: to embrace. (I make birthday resolutions. I don’t make New Year’s resolutions anymore. Because really, who can stick to anything in the dead of winter?)

I suppose while we’re talking about self-acceptance and the 90’s and moving on I could ramble a bit about getting bullied in junior high and high school. Could? Alright, fuck it. I’m gonna. (Plus I said I would a couple of posts ago.)

You can get used to having no friends. Made me sad, but it made me stronger, I think. I didn’t go down a dark and scary route and get angry, at least. I never got legally committed. And I never got the shit kicked out of me, which is a bonus. I don’t think nerdy girls get beaten up the way that nerdy boys do. Which is not to say that there weren’t fights (redneck ladies can scrap, let me tell you) but I usually talked my way into fights and then talked my way right back out of them before anyone ever actually hit me. I once kept myself from getting beaten up by calling a girl (no, no, a very large girl with a pool cue) a “lugubrious pugilist.” Totally shut her down, like I’d hit restart on a computer, like I wasn’t even speaking English. Awesome. But here’s the unsolvable circular argument: Did I get picked on because I was weird? Or did I get weird because I was picked on? Maybe both. We’ll never know. Doesn’t really matter. Could’ve been worse.

As a point of good karma, though, if any of you happen to be those people who picked on me when I was young, I’m not going to tell you to fuck off and die. Oh, no, I’m totally over it. I’ll just be the bigger person and tell you that I hope you and your eighteen three-eyed flipperbaby crackerspawn are healthy and happy living in your meth lab trailer by the factory/railroad tracks/industrial runoff. See? Embracing. Forgiving. Moving on. Acting like a grownup. (While we’re on the subject, you guys should all watch this – and it’s my birthday so I won’t bitch about the grammatical error in the title, my gift to you.)

Ahem. Anyway. (Cue your rum and coke with two limes.) So here’s to another good year. Many more, hopefully. To embracing, accepting, and letting shit go. To writing snark and learning to do cartwheels. To probably not drinking ourselves to death. Much love and many blessings. Cheers.

5 thoughts on “The Dreaded Birthday (or: Self-indulgent Sentimentalist Bitchstravaganza with Accompanying Random Thought Spillage)

  1. I think this is one of my favorite posts so far because it’s so…well, it’s awesome and you’re awesome and–and that is not the way one compliments an individual who fends off attackers with the words “lugubrious pugilist.” Happy birthday, friend. May your new year be the best one yet.

    (P.S. You have a will? Like, a real, legal one? Now that’s adult!)

    1. Awww, thanks Meg. And yes, I do have a will. I don’t have any stuff, so it’s kind of pointless in that regard, but I’ve written my eulogy, my obituary, and included a detailed plan for my funeral. Now that I say that out loud, it seems a little fucked up.

  2. First, HAPPY BIRTHDAY! Second, I have a few points…

    You mention a switch with that ah ha, or “ding”, moment. Well, have a kid! You want to feel that actual sensation of most certain adulthood slapping the fucking taste out of your mouth, there it is. Granted, I wouldn’t recommend unprotected sexual acts of greatness without a lot of thought and consideration. 😉

    How many times have we said we almost died? Shit! To many for our own safety. Jesus Christ, I’m surprised I made it past my Porsche years, but I’m glad we all made it together.

    Bullies, yeah they suck. I did get the shit kicked out of me in 7th grade by four guys. That really sucked a big one. But you know what? I stood there and laughed at them as they punched me in the face. Afterwards, there so called bully friends all liked me because I laughed at them as they gave me all they had. Then, three of the four guys became friends with me and would make fun of the “main bully” that had them kick my ass. So, take that jack ass. Of course, I balled like a baby when I got home that evening! Oh well, it sucked. Plus, that shit hurt son!

    Now, that circular unsolvable question of the bullied into weird chicken or the weird egg that became a bullied chicken (see what I done there? hur hur hur). I say that question is neither. Mainly due to the fact that you are not and never were weird. No more or less than anyone else to another group of people. You just happend to be in a group of people that was more suseptable to being bullied due to a lack of numbers and protection. Well, that is my guess anyway as that is always how I have felt about myself. I would also say you are who you are not because of being bullied, but because you were alredy different than the other groups of people way early on. I would place that on the groups of people we were around the most and the people that influenced us the most that were adults while we were young. I mean, I already know Orion is most likely not going to be in a “average” group or larger group of people if he does move on to public school later on. Why and how do I know this? The wife and I are his main influences and we are in NO WAY the norm. 🙂 He is also way beyond all the other kids we know his age so I foresee him being… not weird… above average. That is a small group, Nessa. Like us, I feel we are above average in the normal groups of people and that makes us, different. That makes us, special. You, Nessa, are very special. Don’t ever forget that. This life is special and I’m glad that I have all of those that I do have in my life, in it. The ones that have passed I do greatly miss, but part of everybody is always here. In our minds and literally here, man. Our atoms all get passed around, so you and I are literally not who we once were years ago. So, those that have passed really are still here on the atomic level. Now THAT is what is weird. Holy fucking sheep shit, I just weirded myself out again with Quantum Physics.

  3. I really enjoyed this. 30 was harder (?) for me than 40. Like you said, it was a milestone of sorts….you made it through the 20’s….time to be an adult (well, sort of), but still have fun.

  4. First off, belated birthday wishes to you. Secondly, I suspect you never feel quite grown up. As someone in their 50s I feel quite young, but then I see the greying hair and my knees give me a twinge – too much pogoing when I was a teenager – and I wonder how I got this far. What is sobering is realising how old I seem to younger people and then I look at people older than me and realise I’m thinking in exactly the same way about them. And so it goes. What does puzzle me about all this is do “proper grown ups” – presidents, kings, queens, bosses of multi-nationals etc – have the same feelings. Do they sometimes wonder if they are grown up enough? Anyway, happy birthday again and many more of them.

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