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.