Collecting Birthdays

By James Weber

Age is only a number, or so I keep telling myself, and anyone who will listen. I sure thought 52 was old when I was much younger but it seems like, well, just me.

I notice things now that I surely took for granted long and not-so-long ago. Some days can simply be special. Like when the alarm goes off and I was just asleep for long enough that I felt refreshed but did not have to climb up out of that senseless oblivion that is exhaustion after a night of fits and starts at best, no real sleep at all. That is a special moment. I feel like I can accomplish anything and I could rush headlong into my day. So different from a late night doing whatever can keep me from retiring early, partying with friends, partying without friends (that is not so much a party as an attempt to convince myself that life is in fact really a party), binge watching that last episode of whatever it is I can’t seem to stop after the famous line I tell myself, “one more episode then I am going to sleep.”

Nowadays I don’t celebrate the birthday itself so much as what it represents, for me. It is a day when I enjoy the company of my wonderful wife, eat sweet things (that I didn’t make but were made for me!) that are not even marginally nutritious, and do all of the things that I like to do.

Now the universe has a way of testing us and my latest birthday is no exception. Our pet cat needs to meow early and often instead of waiting for me to awake rested and alert. Special breakfast at a favorite vegan coffee shop gets interrupted when, to my horror, I realize that I never turned off the pot of beans that were boiling on the stove for our special vegan sausage pizza. I rush off, mostly safely, and not speed too much home while my wife waits for the breakfast (they have seriously slow service). I try not to panic and make it home in time to prevent fire, just smoke and a ruined pot of beans. Then, sadly for this gentle soul, I manage to smash a squirrel as I hurry back to breakfast. Ok, day started off kinda bad, has to get better right? Well, the birthday cake my wife made looks fabulous. All we need to do is some gardening until we have a cake-lunch. Easy enough. OK, I’m pulling this grass weed creeping charlie out of the pumpkin patch when, Ow. Ow! OW!!! I’m getting swarmed and stung by a bunch of bees. Yeah I guess I disturbed their nest. Now I’m panicking and flailing around with my hat. I run into the house, bringing a few with me in my clothes. 9 stings later I am in pain and panicked still. My wife calms me down some, has me pour witch hazel all over the stings and take a cool shower. Ok, I’m sure this day has to get better, oh no!, I have a sting right on my arm where I am getting my birthday tattoo. Hmmm.

Now I’ll stop for some reflection.

My wife woke me up singing happy birthday, the house didn’t burn down, I am not allergic to bee stings and therefore did not die. The birthday cake was amazing, my tattoo came out great and I already had worse pain from the stings so I kept going for two and a half hours, longer then I expected for sure. And the great thing about getting up early be it from that annoying little fucker who yowls when he wants attention or from that amazing beautiful wonderful best friend and lover my wife Stefanie, is that there is so much time in the day to do all those things that I love to do. All in all a pretty full day in year 52, day 1. I wonder what tomorrow will bring.



One thought on “Collecting Birthdays

  1. Well…age is just A number and we are as young or old we think. I always wanted to be an adult as a kid and till date I have no nostalgia abut my idyllic days of childhood. In fact life has gotten better, as I have grown older, maybe we can appreciate and observer more as you said and at 34, I can say I look forward to a 52!!! But that was some birthday! And hats off to you for being so optimistic about it (those are indeed things to be grateful for!). Goes to show that despite being an adult I have much to learn, including not bringing the house down if things go awry on my birthday, which I have done (hang my head in shame)


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