Wednesday, March 24, 2010


I recently had a birthday.  I thought I’d celebrate by giving myself a fresh, new template.  I wanted to give myself a new Prius but then Toyota went and screwed things up on that front.

A new template isn’t as nice as a new car but it’s a lot cheaper (especially when it is free).  And if I don’t like it I can switch to something else. 

I was going to have a new one in place on the actual day of my birthday but I found myself unable to decide.  And then I got frustrated at my inability to decide.  I should have known better than to set an arbitrary deadline for something that didn’t matter.  I have enough real deadlines in my life, I don’t need the stress of arbitrary deadlines.

In the midst of my frustration, when I was berating myself for not even being able to decide on a new template, I decided I would do something I’m really good at.  I would just walk away.  Walking away is one of the things I do best in life.  

I would like to have walked away from my birthday.  But that’s not possible.  So I walked away from the easiest thing I could.

I’ve always been a person who loved her birthday.  But not this one.  And I was getting really tired of people telling me “it’s better than the alternative”.  I started answering, “Is it?  Really, how do you know?”  That shut them up.

I feel bad about that now.  I went to a funeral yesterday.  One of my cousins, only a couple of years younger than me, died after a long fight with luekemia.

At the funeral, I watched her family and thought that the phrase “It’s better than the alternative” is really meant for the other people.  The people left behind.  For them, it was going to be hard. For her, it was probably a relief to be out of pain and suffering.  She put up a good fight.  But she would probably have liked to have celebrated the birthday  I just celebrated.

When I was young I had a deep superstition that I was going to be dead by the time I was 35.  I knew it was a superstition so I made plans and laid the groundwork for a post-35 life because that was the rational thing to do.  I went to law school, etc.  But deep down I was sure I was going to be dead by the time I was 35. 

And then I wasn’t.

And I suddenly had to face the fact that it was possible that I could live a very long time and what the HELL was I going to do with all that time?

I’ve never had an answer for that. 

Don’t worry, it’s not like I set myself a deadline for figuring it out.

But I think I decided that if I was going to be forced to have birthdays I might as well enjoy all those unanticipated post-35 birthdays.  And I have.  I never had to pretend.  I really did enjoy them. And I liked having the celebrations go on days and days.

Until this year.

It took every bit of energy I had to get through all the celebrations.  And I’m so glad it’s over and I don’t have to pretend anymore.

And once all that stress was removed from my life I found it was easy to pick a new template.