Today is my birthday. I have mixed feelings about this.
Of course, I’m thankful for having reached another birthday because, by all rights, I could have been wiped from the face of the earth about a dozen times over during the course of my life – and also because too many people I’ve known and loved actually have been. That’s the first thing I think about on my birthday, and I suppose still being around is the thing for which I’m most grateful.
Next, I’m thankful for the fact that people think I’m much younger than I actually am. I still have to show my ID to buy beer or get into bars despite theoretically being old enough to have fathered the guy proofing me. This is because I’ve never been married, I have no kids, and I’ve never smoked crack. Stay within the confines of that trifecta – single, childless and crack-free - and you’ll still look young long past the age where most guys you know are bald and fat and can’t make it up a flight of stairs.
Getting older bothers people like me. It probably bothers people like you, too, but I’d like to think it bothers me more because of who I used to be and what I used to do. Chronologically, I’m now another year removed from many things I’ll never have the opportunity to do again. Psychologically, these things happened centuries ago. Physically, I might be in the best shape of my life and can probably still perform well, but nobody’s taking applications for thirty-something rookies nowadays. This makes me sad when I think about it, because I know things now that would have made life much easier back then when I should’ve known my ass from my elbow.
Too late, though. Thanks for playing, now go get a job.
I know what I know because I’ve gotten used to taking pride in the accomplishments of people I’ve helped, instead of walking around bragging about shit I’m doing. On my birthday, however, I temporarily think more about what I’ve missed than what I’m currently hitting.
“Does this mean,” asked Clint, “that we have officially hit the age where doing becomes teaching others to do?”
“Seems like the next best thing.”
“Still ain’t the same, though.”
“Not even close.”