It's my penultimate birthday before the big "Six-Oh."
I am officially decades older than I ever thought I would be. I have severely mixed feelings about having achieved (?) this venerable age. Mostly my feelings revolve around small arms and household poisons and wondering where I can obtain both.
Sometime in my late teens, probably around the age of 17 or so, I was so unhappy with life that I remember being awakened from a violent dream one night in which I was being shot to death at the age of 30, I'd be "done in." My "killer" in the dream was a jealous lover. I thought it was very glamorous and dramatic to be killed in one's prime by a jealous boyfriend.
Keep in mind that at the ripe old age of 17 I'd never had a boyfriend and, because it was 1965, I wasn't even sure what a boyfriend was... but I knew that a) I wanted one and b) I wanted to die at his hands while I was still young and beautiful (stifle yourselves).
Flash forward to the age of 41. Two weeks after that unremarkable birthday I had a massive coronary on the evening of one of the hottest days ever recorded in New York.
I lived (obviously), but only barely. For at least another decade and a half I was sure that God hated me so He kept me alive. For that decade and a half I smoked like a chimney and drank like a fish. I wanted to be more right than God. I was jealous that I wasn't God. I hated God because I wasn't Him. I hated God because I was still alive.
Then I got sober 90 days before my 50th birthday. I never told a soul, not even my 12-Step sponsor, that it was my birthday. I believe I was in court having my license suspended for six months that day. It was a great way to spend my 50th birthday! I was paying my debt to society, starting to clean up the wreckage of the past, and moving out of my drunken life into my new, sober one.
I have continued, for the last decade, to keep this date quiet from all of my new friends and acquaintences. Fortunately for me, most of my old friends, and what little remains of my family, have nearly completely forgotten my birthday.
Look, I have this theory that there's an age beyond which you should just get over the fact that people forget your birthday.
That age is 7.