Friday, June 8, 2007

This, The Greatest of Days

Today is my birthday. It is on this day that I like to don my sweatpants and sweatshirt, sit on my favorite couch, and ruminate about my favorite subject -- me.

I am 45 years old.

At one time, birthdays bothered me. I used to get feelings of anxiety during this time of year because I was unsettled. I have a theory that for me -- for me, I want to emphasize -- I am happiest in a long-term relationship. I'm wired that way. I'm a conformist, a team player, a company man. Part of me wishes that I were a rebellious free spirit that likes to travel the world, have casually passionate sex with a number of women, and work from job to job like a ski bum. Except for the part about having casually passionate sex with a number of women, that's just not who I am. I save money better than anyone I know, yet I still fret about retirement.

In some ways, I live for retirement. I don't know where this magical retirement is going to take place, but I have this vague notion that in about twenty years from now, I'll sit in some kind of comfortable chair looking out at beautiful scenery, and because I've spent my whole life fretting over money, I won't have to worry about money in my retirement chair. Money will save me from worry. Although it may be the case that sitting in a comfortable chair and looking at beautiful scenery would interest me at this time in my life for about fifteen minutes, I'm assuming that I'll undergo some kind of transformation that coincides with old age. Don't laugh. There's historical precedence. I'm fairly certain that some kind of switch will kick in, and I'll naturally want to wear plaid stretch pants, repeat stories, and talk to someone else while Wendy is talking at the same time. This may seem like a foolish idea, but so far, the aging process has gone exactly as planned for me. You're only as old as you feel, but it just so happens that getting old makes you feel old. I complain about no good music coming out in the last ten years, I have no idea which movies are playing this summer, I repeat the same old stories, and I have to trim the hair that grows out from inside my ears.

Going back to the idea that birthdays used to make me edgy because my life wasn't on track, today's birthday doesn't make me edgy at all, because my life is good. It wouldn't suit me to be married to just anyone for the sake of being part of a family. I love Wendy. I love my kids. I'm fed up with my job, but that's temporary. I'm lucky. It is a happy birthday.