}

Sunday, January 21, 2018

The annual increasing number: 59

Well, today is the day: My birthday. I always say that having a birthday is better than the alternative, because it is. But the truth is that some birthdays are easier than others, and, for me, the “nine” birthdays are particularly difficult. This was one of those.

This year I turned 59, which means I’m now in my sixtieth year, and my next birthday will be a big one. Similarly, this is my last birthday starting with a “5”. This is a difficult thing to get used to.

Turning 9 and 19 were the only “nine” birthdays I didn’t mind: Like a lot of kids, I wanted to be older, so turning 10 was great. When I was a teenager, especially toward the end of those years, I was frustrated by feeling older than I was, so I was glad to enter my 20s.

29 was the turning point. I embraced the acceptance that came from being in my 30s, even as I was sorry to see my 20s, and my youth (symbolically) go. 39 was worse, 49 worse still, and now 59. I can only imagine how 69, 79, 89 (?) will be like.

On the other hand, the year following a “nine” birthday is usually fine. Part of that comes from having a year to get used to the idea, after any angst around the “nine” birthday. So, next year and my 60th at the end of it ought to be fine. Well, I think it will be. I hope so.

This year my birthday fell on a Sunday, and that’s always a weird day: People can’t really celebrate on a Sunday like they can on a Saturday, so we went out to lunch today with some of the family. It was really nice, and being low-key was probably perfect for a “nine” birthday. It helped that the weather, though really hot, was also really nice today.

Birthdays are, as I often say, a sort of personal New Year, “a chance to reflect on my personal year just past, and look toward my personal year now beginning,” as I put it last year. It’s no secret that last year was very difficult for me. In fact, things still are difficult. The reason for that is the ongoing medication problem I talked about last month, something that’s still not resolved.

The most obvious result of that is that I simply haven’t felt up to blogging, podcasting, or making videos. I still want to do those things, but most of the time I just don’t have the energy. I haven’t even finished my office project (not entirely because of a lack of energy—time has been short the past week, too). This has got to change.

Last year at this time I felt much better. In fact, I felt pretty great right up until the medication they put me on in March last year. It’s been rough since then.

Still, I’ve made what changes and allowances I can in order to ease the path a little bit. For example, I again started using my laptop to write blog posts, which just seems so much less physically challenging than going to my office. But even that isn’t that simple: Upstairs is air conditioned, and my office isn’t.

The larger point here is that I’m aware that in some ways things are not as good this year as they were last year at this time. But Nigel is, as always, my rock and my safe harbour, and he makes it possible for me to face challenges. Add the support of family and friends, and things are actually much better than they otherwise would be, and better than they sound. That’s important.

So, this year may not seem as chirpy and cheery as other years, and maybe they can’t all be anyway. But it’s still far better than what some people face, and I’m really lucky that’s wrong can be fixed, and will be. Those are the points that matter.

Now, if I could just blog a bit more this year, that’d be great.

Here’s my annual birthday selfie:



The Illinois Route 59 sign is a public domain graphic available from Wikimedia Commons. I’ve driven on the northern parts of that road.

My Previous Birthday posts:

2017: The annual increasing number: 58
2016: The annual increasing number: 57
2015: The annual increasing number: 56
2014: The annual increasing number: 55
2013: The annual increasing number: 54
2012: The annual increasing number
2011: The annual increasing number
2010: The annual increasing number
2009: Happy Birthday to Me…
2008: Another Birthday

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