I find that the older I get, the less I like birthdays. What was once an annual reason to celebrate my existence on this planet has, over time, become a once-a-year reminder that I’m no longer as young as I once was. The Grim Reaper has his eye on me and, no matter how fast I run or how hard I pretend he isn’t chasing me, he is ever so steadily gaining. One of these days we’re inevitably going to cross the finish line together.
It’s not just the thought of my impending demise that has turned my sour on birthdays, though. There are plenty of other reasons to not be enthusiastic about the incessant march of time. As a prime example, I submit to you my own failing metabolism. Like someone who has held the same job for far too long, my ability to burn fat seems to have grown burnt out at its current duties, and now seems dead set on doing the absolute bare minimum to keep its job. It is quiet quitting. As a result, I’m finding it increasingly easy to gain weight, while also discovering that, much to my dismay, it is proportionately more difficult to lose it. As if it wasn’t bad enough that wrinkles, gray hairs, and other disfigurements are ravaging a head some people may once have considered handsome, the rest of my body seems 100% committed to making absolutely sure nobody ever finds me attractive again.
So, of course, a party was thrown to celebrate my being one more year uglier and closer to the grave.
I wouldn’t have made a career out of streaming games from my bedroom to an audience I’ll never actually see in person if having a crowd surrounding me was one of my favorite things. I’m not a huge fan of parties, and even less enthusiastic about them when they’re being held in my own home and I can’t easily escape. I am, despite any preconceptions you may have based on me pouring out my life story on the internet for the whole world to read, a hard-core introvert who would much rather celebrate with the very few people I really care about than to have to put on a dog-and-pony show for everyone I’ve ever met, but Nalani thought it would be a nice gesture to invite over all of our friends and acquaintances to celebrate my big day. I do appreciate the thought behind it, but between contemplating my own mortality and suffering the noisy throng of humans who have been milling about my house all night, I’m grumpy and exhausted and I’m considering moving to a hut on a secluded mountainside for a few years to recover.
As I sign off tonight, emotionally, mentally, and physically exhausted, I can’t help thinking that I am older than I have ever been, and I’m only getting older from here. My youth, hanging from a thread though it may be, is just going to keep dragging on that thread farther and farther behind me until it is so far back I can’t see it any more. The constant aches and pains that have become a part of my existence to which I’ve grown accustomed, and have mostly learned to ignore, are just going to become sharper and deeper from here. It seems really unfair, honestly. You spend an entire lifetime trying to become a better person, but the more you learn, and the better you get at being human, the harder your own body fights against you. The more proficient you get at it, the harder it gets, like some kind of sadistic Dark Souls game. It might be funny if it hurt a little less.
As I prepare to log out for the night and put my tired, old body to bed, though, it occurs to me that, for all the things I have to complain about, I’ve got a lot to be grateful for as well. I have a home I’ve built with my own hands. I have been successful enough at my career that I can provide, if not all, at least most of the things the family I dearly love, and who love me back, could ever want. While I may not always enjoy having throngs of them in my kitchen, I have friends who care about me enough to drop by to celebrate my existence. I have you, my dear readers, who for reasons I cannot explain drop by here week after week to see what I’ve got to say.
Nalani and I have had our problems in the past, but we continue to work through them, and I can honestly say that, at this point, I am at least content. The feelings of hurt and betrayal come back on occasion, but the more time passes, the less intense those pangs feel. Our relationship may not ever be quite the same as it was, but if the alternative is a life without Nalani, I’m not sure I’m up for that. She is the mother of my kids (well, my kid and the other one, though I have no intention of ever treating Boone as anything less than the son of mine that he is) , and even after what we’ve been through, I still love her. She, and the rest of my family, give me a reason to try to be the best person I can be every day. I am happy, and not everyone can say that.
When I really stop to think about it, a few aches and pains, and a bit of extra blubber around my midsection, don’t really seem like an unfair price to pay for the life I’ve been given.