Today I am 37.
Today my blog is 3.
According to the actuarial tables published the year I was born (1969! Child of the 60′s!), the average expected lifespan of a white male born that year is 74 years old. This means that I have now officially reached middle age. Pardon me a moment….
Okay, I’m better now. Midlife crisis over.
Actually, I’m not at official middle age yet because, according to the actuarial tables that were taken last year, a healthy white male my age should easily pass 80 (82, if you want to be exact), so I’m still four years from my maturity. So there.
I’ve been thinking quite a bit about this all lately, which after all shouldn’t come as a surprise to me. I’m currently in the middle of a very good book, and one of the interviewees is of the opinion that young people look ahead and subconsciously pick an age where they will pass some indefinable mark. For him, it was 36, for some, it’s the Big Four-Oh. For some reason, 37 was always my watershed moment (whew, almost slipped up there and typed “Waterloo”). 37 always seemed remotely far off (it’s PAST the year 2000 for pete’s sake! It’s WAAAAAY off!). In the back of my mind, whenever I hear of “a local MAN, age 32″ on the news, it still never sinks in that he would call ME sir. Weird, I know. I talk to people all the time who are my age and they all seem… older somehow. More burdened. More responsible. More aware of What You Have To Do When You’re Grown Up. Me, I still feel like I’m making it up most of the time. I suspect that there are more of us around than is evident from a cursory viewing of the Adult World on the evening news, but this is Austin, and there are artists here after all. Well, that, and lots of cross-dressers.
One of the great things about being married to my wonderful wife is that she takes birthdays seriously. September 10th is Jason Day, and she’s more serious about this than I am. If I ask her what we should do today, her answer is always “you get to do whatever you want, and we can go wherever you want”. It’s taken me 10 years to figure it out, and it’s a freeing thing. Not that we do much different- our lives are too great by half to save the good stuff for just one day a year- but it’s great to know that on this day it’s wide open.
I told Erin today that I always get a small frisson on my birthday every year. I get the same feeling on January 1st. It’s not fear or trepidation, but simply that those two milestones divide my year like bookmarks. Whenever I reach them I find myself wondering what I will look back on in a year and know that I don’t know now. It can be simultaneously thrilling (wow! I got to experience THAT?!?) and a little scary (Wow! I got food poisoning?!). Getting older doesn’t scare me (never did and never will), but the next 365 seem a little dark and unsure every year when you blow out the candles.
So what did I do this year of note? Lots. Traveled a bit. Made concrete plans to start some serious traveling. Shot several short films and discovered that I really enjoy being on a movie set (despite the long hours), as long as the creative team is fun (the ones who grok it are). Had a really successful year doing what I loved. Stayed healthy, for the most part. Well, except for the bad grapes. Being really sick makes you appreciate being 100% in a way that little else will. Everyone who complains about traffic or inflation or any other of the thousand tiny pricks that harry us daily should be knocked on their keester by the Thunderbolt of Sickness. Not so much to go to the hospital, but enough to get our attention.
Reminds me of this:
You ever wonder why you get a cold
Look at the word – spell it – C-old.
You’re pulled over by the reaper for a warning
He says,”I clocked you thinking 80″
You know you’re not that old
You’ve been worried about the darkness in the morning
Well, I’ll give you something to worry about, he says
And he flips open his ticket pad
Appreciate your breathing
I’m gonna write you up a headache for those thoughts
Now why you been so worried
What have you been reading
And why do you have to tally all you’ve lost
I’m gonna write you up a head cold
It comes on like bad weather
So maybe you’ll appreciate the warming
See it gives a new perspective
Soon you’ll be feeling better
I’ll let you off this time
With a warning
He says, But take it easy, alright
People live around here
You won’t see ‘em in time
What I’m trying to say is
You’ll miss ‘em
[appreciative beatnik snaps]
Ah David. Always one to give perspective.
I have a feeling that the next 12 months will bring some interesting changes in our lives. Don’t know exactly what yet, but I just have a feeling. Check back in 12 months and we’ll see. Don’t worry, I’m not about to buy a red sports car and get a toupee (I might just shave the head and beard, though).
But enough of that. We finished the day in grand style, finally watching a movie that Barry has been bugging me to see for years: Babette’s Feast. Thanks for the tip, my friend, and sorry it took us so long to get around to it. Yes, you were right, and no, I never doubted it.
Somehow, it felt like the perfect way to start off my new year.