I've been making the same joke for the last six months. On my next birthday, I'll be the age of... Christ, I'm old.
It's ridiculous, of course. Thirty-three is not old. Forty isn't old either, but the fact that in a couple of hours, 40 will only be seven years away is a little disconcerting. Thirty-three, though. I've a very high suspicion that I'll wake up tomorrow morning and have to stop myself from shaking my fist at the sky and demanding a re-count.
Last year at this time, I wrote wistfully about smoking, and my decision to quit. I've more or less kept to that promise, domestically anyway. Foreign smoking is still allowed - for now, anyway - because I'm a firm believer in picking my battles. One thing at a time.
I can't remember the last time I purchased Canadian cigarettes, and the increasingly rare instances of smoking I do indulge in in Canada must fall into the following parameters: it can't be during daylight hours, and it can't happen alone. It's kind of lame, isn't it? But, you know, one does what one has to do.
I've said it before and I'll say it again: self-awareness is half the battle.
I suppose, like New Year's Eve, birthdays present an opportunity to mend your ways, or make resolutions, or set new goals.
I don't know what I want to accomplish in my 34th year. I guess I'd like to know how to pronounce chipotle, because it's been bugging me for a while now. And I wouldn't mind going out with someone who doesn't make me want to vomit after an hour, who I can fall in love with, who will find the spot on my neck that makes me sigh without me pointing it out to him. And I'd like to, once and for all, get all those blonde countries in northern Europe straight in my head.(If you're Danish, why can't I remember what country you're from? Where is Rotterdam? And somebody help me out with the Netherlands, please. About the only thing I can remember about that whole section of the map is that Sweden is not the capital of Norway.)
Maybe looking forward is too much; maybe looking backwards and taking stock is the way to go. In the year since I turned 32, I stopped hating my body so much, which is probably why the state of it is improving. I have behaved in a manner that Iím not proud of, and I have behaved perfectly as well. I have been charming, and I have been seriously irritating. I have chopped off all my hair. I popped my karaoke cherry, and became fascinated with Facebook. I have tried to live without judgement, and have realized that itís not something I do well. I have purchased only one pair of shoes since December.
I came to terms with the fact that Iím proud of what I do for a living. Iím not a writer or an actress or a movie stah. I run a little business, and Iím trying to make it bigger. I was at a small dinner party in December, and the topic of what I do for a living came up. I remember that it was at a time when I was angry at the state of things at work, incensed at the decisions of head office, and disenchanted with my lot in employed life. And then I sucked it up and dug my hands in again. Sometimes Ė and I suppose this bit comes with age Ė itís just a matter of knowing when to wait it out a day or six.
The last year has taught me that sadness is still a part of my life, and Iíve almost come to accept it, and live with it. It wonít ever be just mine, but also the sadness of others, which is where the weight of it comes from. But the desperate days are over, and Iím almost back to regularly scheduled programming; Iím even almost used to having a little static in my set. Sadness canít kill you, if you learn how to make room for it. Itís a lesson I could have lived without, though. I still miss my brother.
So, tomorrow is my birthday. Iíll be 33, and Iíve still got a lot to learn, about life, and you, and me.
Thatís ok; Iíve still got time.
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