On Year 44

What All Those Birthday Wishes Mean to Me

44 Party ZoneAs I walked from home to the playground today to pick up the kids, it occurred to me that — perhaps — at some point in one’s life it is considered “untoward” to make such a fuss about one’s birthday.

Of course, not that I’ve ever given a crap about that which is untoward, as we all know.

But it just sort of occurred to me — especially since I’m at the age of being in charge of planning/chaperoning birthdays for so many younger people — that maybe at some point in my life I’m supposed to stop wanting that “special day” to be a special.

It’s not this year, even though I’m officially rolling down the other side of the hill. I don’t feel old. I don’t think I LOOK old, but that’s open to interpretation, especially since I forget that I spend most of my days surrounded by children. They don’t think I’m old. They actually think I’m worse than that: invisible. That’s what happens when you are an old person in a young person’s world — you disappear.

But this year 44 is strange for its own reasons. First I am now two years OLDER than I have ever thought my mom was. I actually STILL think my mom is 42. Every time my parents come to visit I am shocked at how old they appear… because they are still 42 to me.

Also, 44 is strange because I never really got the hang of 43. I liked 42 ALOT. It’s was great being THE ANSWER to Life, the Universe and Everything. Then, last year 43 came along and I think I went into denial. 43 just had no twang. Until, literally, two days ago, when I said to Tati: “I can toss out the rest of my dinner because  when you are a 44-year old — er, wait, FORTY-THREE!! I’m Still 43!! —  you can do whatever you want.” I guess, I just wanted more time!

44 is particularly strange because, for me, it is solidifying the truth that only the years pass. I have gone from the age of 34 to 44 (all the years I’ve been married) and I’m still this same kinda ME inside — a sad and funny extro-invert that has oddly wonderful friendships, a string of old boyfriends who were never ever  around when we dated but who now just won’t go away, and who, just about the time she gets settled in living somewhere, is ready to move on.

Same me– regardless of the year.

Elizabeth Howard

Elizabeth writes literary non-fiction, haiku, cultural rants, and Demand Poetry in order to forward the cause of beautiful writing. She calls London, Kansas City, and Iowa home. 

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