announcing it weeks before hand. It’s my birthday month, let’s go out to dinner to celebrate! My birthday is twelve days away, let’s go to movie to celebrate! My birthday is tomorrow, what are you getting me?
Some people hate their birthdays so much you feel the urge to start avoiding them once you realize the event is coming. Happy Birthday? A pox on Happy Birthday! Bah, Humbug! Just let me take the day off and don’t talk to me.
Most years, I fall somewhere in the middle. I’ll mention it a day or two ahead of time, happily accept emails and cards and Facebook wall messages and Twitter messages and the odd gift, but I don’t typically go overboard with excitement or with denial.
Of course, there are years at one extreme or the other.
2005 was a bad year. Not because I was turning thirty-nine, but because my mother had passed away due to lung cancer in February and I’d spent the summer not feeling up to my usual self and wondering what was wrong with me – we discovered a few weeks later that I had cancer myself. 2007 wasn’t so hot either, learning of the unexpected passing of my father just two days before I turned forty-one (and learning of it while I was on the road for work and still having to teach for the day).
2006, on the other hand … a great one! My first trip to California, spent with my good friends Karen and Eric and Michelle: experiencing Disneyland and Universal Studios and the Warner Brothers Studio Tour for the first time, dinner at Medieval Times, the LaBrea Tar Pits. Great way to celebrate turning forty.
This year? Turning forty-five turned out pretty well. I’ve picked up the habit (since the year Dad passed away) of taking my birthday week off. In years like this one, where I’m feeling pretty content with life and getting a year older, I’ll usually start talking about my “birthday week plans” around August 1st. I’m sure people were a little sick of the tweets and comments by the time the 15th actually rolled around. But I had some good plans, and they pretty much all panned out: seeing Daniel Radcliffe and John Larroquette in HOW TO SUCCEED IN BUSINESS WITHOUT REALLY TRYING; visiting The Mysterious Bookshop in NYC and meeting legendary editor Otto Penzler; vanilla egg cream at the Film Forum; visits to two other independent bookshops in NYC (all of the preceding with Dave and Roxy); dinner out with cousins; GLEE in 3-D with Margaret and Kat; a birthday cake made by niece Morgyn and eaten with Scott and nephew Jared; finally resolving a long-standing alleged traffic violation issue in court ON my birthday; phone calls with my sister and niece Renee and nephew Vinny from their new apartment; and of course all those birthday Tweets, Emails and Facebook wall messages. I’m sure I could have squeezed some more in there, but I enjoyed all of it and enjoyed all of those who shared any part of it with me.
This “getting old” thing isn’t so bad. At least, not this year! And what a year it is starting out to be: my first SF short story being published in the SPACE BATTLES anthology; interviews with some of my favorite authors (Jay Lake, Bryan Thomas Schmidt, Neil Ostroff, Joseph Pittman) and performers (The Dalliance, Sister Gin, Burnham); and now that the alleged traffic violation is taken care of, perhaps I’ll have a car on the road soon and will actually be able to visit my sister’s new apartment and see my other NY, NJ, CT, MA and VT friends. It’s been a bit odd seeing more of the friends and family in the midwest and west coast than I have of the friends and family who live only an hour or two away!
I’m looking forward more than I can say to this year of being forty-five. Share the journey with me, won’t you?