In a few days I am going to turn 48. Good god. I was just 12, like, two seconds ago. It is also my blog’s second birthday. Heavens. It was just two posts old a few seconds ago.
I would like to tell you today how to enjoy your birthday. It really comes down to one thing: you must realize that being your new, older, age is much, much better than being any age you’ve been before, mostly because it is different and new and thus has to be better. It is helpful if you subscribe, as I do, to the school of thought that older = better. I’d recommend that everyone mail in their subscription forms to that school, because it is way, way better than the school of older = disaster and much cheaper, because you don’t have to pay for the botox supplement, older being, you know, better.
You have a choice in this matter of how you look at your maturation. I say, go ahead and let yourself enjoy all the things you know now that you didn’t before, things you wouldn’t ever have discovered if you hadn’t grown older. If you are younger than I am (and my sense is that 95% of the people who read my blog are), I will give you a list of those things so you know what you have to look forward to:
- I no longer feel like I have to change anybody’s mind about anything. I have discovered that minds don’t change when you try to change them. They change only, and rarely, through example. So you can shut up about smoking/voting/watching too much tv/eating crap food/and the fact that somebody never spells your name right. And now you will have time to read more books and maybe volunteer at a soup kitchen.
- I don’t write about my relationships with people anymore. My sad, sad journals — journals I kept religiously for years and years — are full of moaning about relationships with people I don’t even remember anymore. Today, I realized to my dismay when I was thinking about writing a coming of age novel that they are NOT full of things like (1) my first winter in New England (or my first fall, for that matter), (2) what is was like being a poor-ish kid from the Pacific Northwest at Yale — including, what clothes I wore and what clothes they wore, how they talked, how I talked, what on earth I was learning — all things, I’d like to add, that might come in handy were I to ever write a novel about this interesting time and place in my life except I can’t, because I can’t remember any of it, because I was spending so much writing time moaning about a guy who, as it turned out, didn’t even like me. What I know now? Write down how things smell, what people say, how they look, what their noses do when they get the wrong coffee at Peet’s, what the interior of their car is like. If you are keeping a journal that moans about relationships STOP NOW. Put that stuff in a story, one that describes how water beads on the window of the car driven by your mean boyfriend and then trickles down the pane of glass as he tells you why you are stupid and wrong. And then think of some even better details about that car ride in which you move beyond this horrible moment.
- I have stopped sewing Halloween costumes and cutting lunchbox food for my children in geometric shapes. You who are just beginning this journey: don’t even start down that road. Your children, honestly, will not really care. They’d rather have small packs of doritos.
- Keep all your pictures on snapfish. Don’t clutter up your hard drive.
- Buy new underwear every year. And when you do? Throw all the old underwear away. If you keep it around, it will make you sad, on a day when you need to be cheerful.
- And, for heaven’s sakes, tell people how much you like them, and appreciate them. Tell them more than once, in fact. And be sure to include strangers, particularly people who work in restaurants and at the post office.
And that brings me to you, dear readers. I am so grateful to all of you for being such good readers — both those who leave comments, and those who read and send me mental comments (I know who you are!). You have made this a very fun couple of years.