Seventeen-oh-two. Seventeen-oh-two-twenty-seventeen. Ones and sevens and zeros and twos. Numbers I’m familiar with: they’ve designated my birthday for 31 years.
17 February 2017.
I woke up early this morning at home with Almond cat who greeted me, as he does most mornings, by sitting oh my chest and purring into my ribcage. It’s not a bad way to start the day. I went to a yoga class, stretched out my body, muttered namaste at the end with my usual sense of self-conscious bemusement and came home to begin my day. At some point, I found myself sitting down to write this.
I never wanted to write blog posts of this variety: the excruciatingly trivial, eye-rollingly self-absorbed variety. (I say this with full acknowledgement that the musings section of this website is premised on self-indulgence.) I know that no one wants to read about how I feel about my birthday (I don’t feel much at all, it’s never really been a thing for me) and I know that no one wants to know what my thoughts are on this particular day (there aren’t many, I’m vaguely thinking about what I’ll have for supper). But birthdays do offer the opportunity to trace an interesting trajectory. This time last year, this time the year before, and the year before…
My 27th was bitterly lonely, more than I hinted at in the Bolivian blog I wrote around that time. My 19th was joyful: Lauren threw a surprise party for me. Which reminds me, Natasha threw me a surprise party too, somewhere in late high school. My 25th involved a hike up a mountain with some of my closest friends. My childhood birthdays were always defined by the same homemade chocolate cake (repeated year after year because it was that good). My 29th ended with a skinny dip in Sass and Lasz’s pool. (This experience was unremarkable in itself – nothing gets me naked quicker than a body of water – but those who witnessed my late-night mischief included some of my nearest friends, my then-lover – and George. My dear friend George who I worked with and who had never seen me naked before. There were apologies come Monday morning.) My 30th was a completely uncharacteristic extravaganza.
At 27, I was lost and low. At 19, desperately insecure. At 25, newly single and freshly confident. At 29, happy and in love. Even happier at 30, and still in love, though our relationship was drawing to its inevitable close.
I’m not sure how to describe 31 yet. Some numbers might help. Seventeen-oh-two.
Seventeen: The number of days since I started working for myself. Also: the number of times I felt snubbed at a recent gathering of people who were not my people because I had neither a partner to present nor an infant to discuss, and was therefore some sort of subhuman. As I hit 31, I’m more grateful than ever for the colourful community of people I call my own, who live their lives in a myriad of unusual ways and who care nothing for my marital status or procreative proclivities.
Oh: Uh-oh. The moment of financial panic that set in this week, as it was always going to do. Also, zero. The number of regrets I have about my freelance move, despite the financial panic. And finally: 0. The shape of my heart after said romantic split: to my amazement, it’s intact.
Two: Two hands for writing. Two feet for wandering.
Okay. Enough self-absorption. Happy birthday. Namaste.