Birthdays are only as special as we make them. My birthday falls on the Autumn Equinox, and I adore this fact. I love the date: 9/23, and the number twenty-three. I also love when 9:23 AM/PM comes up on my phone. When the numbers magically fall together in any variation, I’m pleased.
But generally, I dislike my birthday.
I meet a lot of people who feel the same way. There’s pressure to make the most of it, and nothing feels more heavy than saying good-bye to the representation of youth our twenties give us. In fact, never was an age more repetitively declared YOU ARE AN ADULT AND THERE’S NO TURNING BACK as twenty-eight has been for me. It’s a persistent point in those ‘coming of age’ films, novels, and television shows.
Frances Ha! Being my most recent reminder with:
Frances: Do I look old to you?
Benji: No. Yes.
Frances: How old?
Benji: Older than I am.
Frances: Older than 27?
Benji: No. 27 is old, though.
Here comes twenty-nine, and I don’t know how to handle it. It’s not as if I feel old; I just feel more aware of time being fragile. Things like high school reunions throw blaring reminders my way: “10 years is NOTHING.”
Twenty-nine awaits me, along with holiday after holiday, followed by summer, followed by thirty. Forty. Fifty. Sixty; and then?
I feel threatened, tiny, and not quite in the celebrating mood.
My best friend calmed me post-rant with, “So many good things are going to happen in the next five years!” and I was momentarily brightened at the thought. But time dominates everything, and my birthday feels like it will breeze on by without significance. Only a reminder that this is going to go by as fast as life does.