Monday, August 25, 2008


Today is my birthday. Please don't take my announcing that as any indication that you have to flock to the comments section and wish me well.

One thing about getting older is that you learn a lot about being younger. For instance, you learn that it was no great accomplishment to be in your 20's despite the fact that you thought that you were so much greater than your parents and all the other boring people who you thought you were smarter, prettier, and more interesting than. You realize that what you really were was more shallow, immature, and out of touch with the reality of being on this planet for an extended period of time.

The other thing about it is that, you know that trauma you're supposed to feel about aging which people make a big deal about in their 20's and 30's? That trauma goes away after awhile because you just learn to accept that those numbers don't matter to you as much as they matter to everyone else. Past a certain point, you stop trying to cling to the concept of youth and just let such neuroses slip from your fingers and it is good not to try and hang on anymore. Of course, I can't remember when I let go, but I think it was actually quite awhile ago.

There are some things I've come to realize that do matter about getting older. One is that your memory definitely gets worse no matter how smart you are or how hard you labor to keep yourself mentally stimulated. Lately, I've gotten worse at keeping track of what student has told me what detail of their lives and I find myself asking them questions that I asked the week before. Of course, that could be more of a reflection of the fact that I have so many students now compared to two years ago that I can't keep so many people's lives straight in my head. At any rate, I am starting to understand why older people keep telling the same stories over and over again. They do it because they forget who they told such things to yesterday or last week.

The other thing is that death, while still scary in the way that all great unknowns are frightening, becomes less of that "I can't sleep at night because all I can think about is that one day I'll actually die" sort of concept and more of a mystery that you're going to find out the answer to one day. Mind you, like most people, I have my guesses at what occurs, but I'm never certain. I think that it's more terrifying to consider dying when you haven't lived than when you've had quite a few decades under your belt.

I don't approach my birthday with any sort of dread nor with any sort of particular joy, though my CH is pampering as best he can (and he is a true blessing). Mainly, I'm just tired because I woke up at 6:00 am and couldn't go back to sleep, but I guess that's another part of getting older as well. I'm just one step away from banging around my apartment at 5:00 am waking up my younger neighbors like the old(er) people living next door to me.


Emsk said...

Well, Happy Birthday from me anyway! Hope you have a great day there eight hours in the future. It's dark here right now.

I try not to be neurotic about age, but I don't do it very well and am known to lie about it. It's not a great idea - especially if I meet a man who wants children which means I really should be honest. I guess the alternative to being 42 - my age - is not being here at all, which is grim.

I recommend a viewing of Mamma Mia if it's showing over there yet.

'badmoodguy' is mike said...

I just had to rush right over to the comments and wish you a happy birthday! I hope that you have a good one and get lots of loot and prizes.

I will be 33 this year. It doesn't seem that big of a deal to me, but I do occasionally get pangs of thought about "where has the time gone?" and all that. It seems that everything has become a blur since I was 16.

Wally Wood said...

Omedetou anyway! Something I've discovered as I've gotten old is how perceived time time accelerates. And because I can see time running out, how much more precious it becomes. Don't waste a moment.

Orchid64 said...

Thanks to everyone for the kind words. I appreciate it. :-)

emsk: I can say I've never lied about my age in any way (never said I was older when I was younger or vice versa). I'm a terrible liar, but I've also just never cared. ;-)

Mike and Wally: I definitely feel the time speeding up thing all the time! When I think of how long I've been in Japan, I think that it does not feel very long. Life just really zooms by.

Thanks again to everyone for their wishes!

Helen said...

I'm a little late to write, but Happy Birthday! Did you know that we are the same age? Good grief, did I just out myself on the internet??

I found 29 to be a traumatic year. I was very aware of time passing. I was in a dead end job that I really didn't like, didn't want to stay in, had no romantic relationship in my life, but thankfully had a lot of good friends around me. I think I thought that I should have been taking the world by storm. However, almost the minute that I turned 30, all the negative feelings went away and I started working on making positive changes in my life.

Anyway, I hope you enjoyed your day.

Orchid64 said...

Hi Helen, and many thanks for your good wishes. :-)

I didn't know we were the same age. For some reason, I thought you were a few years younger than I.

One thing I think really plays into not caring about age is having a romantic partner. It's easier for me not to care when I'm happily married. I think my attitude would have been quite different if I hadn't been married because you feel on some level that your "marketability" is constantly going down. It's sad, but true.

Thanks again for taking the time to comment!

Dateline Osaka said...

Happy Birthday!!! I'm really sorry I didn't say so sooner - This job has had me crazy (I worked through the weekend to be prepared for this morning, so I've had literally no time to spend doing anything other than WORK on the computer!)!!

I hope you had a wonderful day! :)