'The secret to staying young is to live honestly, eat slowly...

by tosca on Sunday, May 16, 2010

...and lie about your age.'
~ Lucille Ball, August 1911 - April 1989), comedienne, film/tv/stage/radio actress

I don't have much of a problem lying about my age because ordinarily I don't remember it. It's not something I think about every day - it's a part of your identity, right. Why would you? I don't wake up every morning and think that I'm straight, even though I am (although I wouldn't turn down some 'quality time' with Captain Jack Harkness and Doctor Who at the same time). I don't sit around all day thinking that I'm a girl (even though I so obviously am). Nor do I wonder why my eyes are brown. These things just...are. My age is pretty much like that. I don't think about it, it's just there, and when people ask how old I am it takes me a few moments to count it all up. When I have to count, though, it always takes me aback and is usually accompanied by a sinking-feeling like, 'Whoa, where did the years go? Am I really a grown up, now? Can I not be a tan-Peter Pan forever?'

My birthday ambivalence is legendary in my family - I detest my own birthday. Quite happy to go out of my way for others, buy presents and big, fat, chocolate-gooey cakes (that's more for my benefit than theirs, really) and do the whole loot bags thing for the little kids etc. In fact, I suspect I get into that more than they do. But I'm a real slacker in celebrating my own birthdays. I've always found them to be dissatisfying, somehow. Ever since I was young and barely had the words to explain why. In past years, it's been a time of getting presents that weren't me, and pretending to be happy with it and celebrating it with what felt like people who didn't take the time to know what would really mean something to me. Which seems much worse when it's your own family. Drama queen, much?

I think it was possibly an amalgam of things that made getting older a tad bit traumatic: feeling like I hadn't really achieved anything of note (by whose standards I'm not sure because surely that sort of pressure only came from myself?); presents that didn't really capture anything about me (did I truly have the personality of a car seat cover, a cowboy hat, a bracelet, a book by an author I didn't like?); general feeling of something half missing. I solved a third of that problem about 10 years ago. I decided to start asking people for what I wanted for birthdays. It's half worked. I also decided I should buy myself some effing fantastic birthday present each year that would blow my black skull & crossbone socks off of my feet. I have kept this tradition :) Only I know what I truly want, yeah? As for the other third of the problem, the general air of something missing, hmm, not so sure about that one. What to do or what it could be. And the last part - the 'omg my life is wasted, what have I achieved, what the hell have I done with my life, it's such a waste, I'm such a loser' thing - that used to be the hardest. I used to have this weird internal clock that would tell me where I'm meant to stack up in terms of quality of life (you know, Nobel Peace prize, cure cancer, write a bestseller while helping the homeless etc.) but this year I'm going to hit the snooze button on the clock and think differently. This year, to hell with my expectations of me! No pressure is my gameplan. So tomorrow, when I turn 35, I'm going to sleep in, finish reading a book, have lunch with 3 of my 6 sisters, have a few drinks and just enjoy it. To being 35! May it only happen once. Unless you own a TARDIS. Then really we must talk ;)

Leave your comment

Kia ora! Have a comment or suggestion to make? Then speak now or forever hold your peace.