Birthdays are always horrible, self-conscious affairs for me. Every year I cobble together a positive response to getting older, as if the increasingly grown-up unknown version of me will be different and better, simply by willing it so. Here are some good reasons to resolve to change – birthdays, new years, mid-whatever-crises, Tuesdays. Returning to the same threshold over and over to pledge yourself to something you’ve never managed to do is cowardice, not courage.
You can only want so much so badly that you’ll get it done. There is exactly one thing that you can change about yourself at a time, and it takes at least three months of doing it daily for that to become a part of you. Everything else, you don’t want or need desperately enough to bother with – fuck everything else, don’t lose sleep over shit you don’t really care about. Fuck self-improvement, fuck self-evaluation, fuck growing up, and especially loudly, fuck giving a fuck. Twenty-six is a great age because you’re not young enough to be full of endless potential anymore, you’re not old enough to be like, respectable and substantial – all you’re expected to be is alive and getting older, and that’s one thing that I have been unquestionably fiercely successful at thus far.
I can’t speak for anyone else, but my early twenties were spent looking over my shoulder, constantly worrying if I was sucking the marrow out of my prime exuberantly, judiciously, incandescently enough. Thank fuck that’s over – how ridiculous and exhausting. I’m much too old for that level of excitement, or worse, social involvement. Give me a pit and I will gladly crawl into it, as long as it’s warm and there’s an internet connection, a cache of dimly-lit books to ruin my eyes with, or perhaps a couple of seasons of insert HBO series here. Speaking of things that aren’t good for me, yes, I will have coffee and cake for dinner, and drink out of the carton, because what would be the point of being an adult otherwise? And I’m not just saying that as some hedonistic art school fuck, I’m saying that with parental, baby-birthing housework-neglecting real-adult-bullshit authority.
This month I turned 26. On my birthday, I hung out with Cece (my 20-or-so-month-old spawn), met up with my high school friends, and ate an insufficiently obscene amount of salmon sashimi. Just enough excitement for a middling mark of young(er) adulthood, at home by 10pm. This year’s ageing wisdom? I like my life the best of the ones I know, and it is a life of my choosing. It’s wonderful, glorous madness that I get to experience it and see where I’m taken next.
We don’t celebrate our birthdays, we celebrate living, specifically, our experience of it, in all its statistical improbability. They’re reminders to us, that of all the possible people who could have existed, nevermind that, who could be alive right now, we’re the ones who lucked out. “I’ve just got to get all this living out of my system!” I cried dramatically at 15, 16, 17, 26, and while the complexion of my desideratum shifts slowly but decisively, what doesn’t change is that I still, I always, I will always, want more.