Happy Birthday To Me

44. Yesterday. I turned 44 years old.
I remember when 40 seemed so OLD. I still feel young, but 50 is definitely beating on the door. Time is passing in a blur. I’m really MIDDLE-AGED. There are so many things I was supposed to have accomplished by now, but if life was a game of Bingo I would only have the free spot and the letter “I”. Before I know it my life will be nothing but shuffle board courts, early bird dinners and Cialis commercials. What the heck happened?
I’m not saying my life is full of regret. It isn’t. But, like a fine $8 bottle of wine, as I get older I am not necessarily getting better. And as I look back on the last twenty years, my life has almost always been about two things: survival and the score.
Survival because, let’s face it, this country isn’t what it used to be. I’m raising a family and chasing that middle class mirage pretty hard. And like any good mirage, just when I think I’m about to drink the clean, cool water of a little financial comfort, I only end up with a mouthful of sand. But, as much as I would like to, I can’t REALLY affect the economy, or the country’s troubled middle class.
Life’s score is different. I can have some bearing on how I feel about myself. So, on the occasion of my birthday, I’m rolling out a new mantra.
As of today it is: “I’m 44 and I’m not keeping score.” I’ve already got 45 figured out. “I’m 45 and I’m proud to be alive.” My mantra for 46 is still in the planning stages. It could be “I’m 46 and I’m picking up sticks” (to pay for college tuition). Or “I’m 46 and I’m turning tricks” (if there aren’t enough sticks).
As I look back I can attach mantras to years past. “I’m 31 and I ain’t having no fun.” After that it was “I’m 32 and I stink like poo.” 33 was “I’m 33 and this kid smells like pee.”
So there it is. Happy birthday to me. I’m through measuring myself against others, or, more importantly, my own expectations for myself. I’m living in the moment. I’m through missing the beauty of everyday life because I’m glancing sideways at people around me or looking away from the reflection in the mirror.
I have direct control of my own happiness. No one else does. I’m 44 and I’m not keeping score. It feels good to just say it. (And if this doesn’t work out I can always change it to “I’m 44 and I’m having ‘denial du jour’.”)

Celebrating 44

5 thoughts on “Happy Birthday To Me

  1. Happy birthday from a fellow 44 year old! (44 and my boobs are nearer the floor?) The further I get into my forties, the more the old adage holds true–it sure as hell beats the alternative. Hope you have a wonderful year!

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