Sunday, January 21, 2024

The annual increasing number: 65

Another birthday, and no big deal, right? I mean, it’s not like 65 is anything much. Heh.

So here I am, reaching the age of retirement, so called, and now five years since my last big huge birthday, the one where Nigel made me feel so special that I became utterly lost for words. Could anything top that? Of course not, so this year I decided to go in an entirely different direction. I’ll talk about the trip with family members soon, but, for now, I’m just glad to make it this far. So many don’t, after all. As well I know.

The thing is, how the actual f**k did this happen?!! I swear it was only a few years ago I was cleaning my apartment in Chicago to get ready for my 30th birthday party, looked at my watch and thought, “Huh. I’m thirty,” before I carried on with my cleaning. I dunno, somebody clearly must’ve made an arithmetic error somewhere.

There was a time I used to say that I celebrated my birthdays because there was only one way to stop having birthdays, and I wasn’t keen on that option. That much hasn’t changed in all my many, many years of life, but I’m far more relaxed about the alternative now than I used to be. That’s definitely the result of what I’ve been through in the past five years since my last my last big huge birthday, and I suppose aging, too, would have made such circumspection arrive eventually.

Unusually, I’m writing this post in advance, and I don’t know if I’ll be able to add my annual birthday selfie to the bottom of this post as I usually do before I publish it. If not, I’ll add it later [Update January 22: It’s now added].

So, yeah, this year is a rather significant birthday, and I have a completely different way of observing it this year—I’ll be away on a summer holiday with family. It felt like the right thing to do, the right solution, and I think Nigel would think it was a good idea.

I still believe what I said last year:
I still believe that having birthdays beats the alternative (though three—or six!—decades more seems a bit greedy…). I’ve been fortunate that, despite everything, my birthdays since Nigel died haven't been awful, and most have been quite nice (though the first one without him was pretty bad).

None of us knows how long we’ve got, how many years (or decades…) we are from the end of the annual increasing number. I’m at peace with that, something that wasn’t possible when I worried about leaving Nigel alone. That’s the one and only thing I can think of that’s actually liberating about being a widower. There had to be something, I guess.
So, my annual increasing number happened. Again. This year, it actually was a significant age to reach, but, as I also said last year, “every age achieved is a gift. That’s another thing I understand even more now.”

The Illinois 65 sign is a public domain graphic available from Wikimedia Commons. Illinois 65 is an East-West road between Aurora to suburban Chicago at Naperville. As far as I know, I’ve never been on Illinois 65.

The Interstate 65 sign is also a public domain graphic available from Wikimedia Commons. Interstate 65 stretches from Mobile, Alabama to Gary, Indiana, near the Illinois state line. I’ve driven on I-65 when I was a grassroots LGBT+ political activist attending organising meetings in Indianapolis.

My Previous Birthday posts:

2022: The annual increasing number: 64
2022: The annual increasing number: 63
2021: The annual increasing number: 62
2020: The annual number increase happened
2019: Another 'Big Birthday'
2018: The annual increasing number: 59
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


Anonymous said...

I can’t mock you on this because I am even older!

Arthur Schenck said...

Oh, I'm used to mockery. For a preacher's kid, mockery is a background to childhood and youth.

Roger Owen Green said...

On the other hand, I already mocked Arthur on FB even though I'm almost six years older than he is.