When I awoke this morning things seemed pretty much the same. It’s not like I was expecting anything to be any different. It just seemed like for the past week I was waiting for something to happen, knowing all the well, nothing would happen. I awoke overtired and was greeted happily and lovingly by my wife and four year old Chihuahua. For them the day seemed different, but for me it was like any other – at least upon waking it was how I wanted it to be. I wondered during the days leading up to my birthday, was I going to have some sort of crisis or emotional breakdown? Was I going to find myself standing in a public fountain with my pants down? Was I going to go out and buy something completely ridiculous and hyper-expensive just for the sake of it? Was I going to transform into a miserable old bastard and take whatever ‘was’ out on everyone around me? No. I wasn’t interested in having anything like the latter transpire. I just wanted a regular, but relaxing day to contemplate life, and reflect on whatever comes to mind.
My wife handed me a large red scroll with a string on it and I was afraid to open it. I don’t know why I was afraid. I guess it kind of made me feel like if i did open, it I really would be 50. Little did I know I already was, and denying it wasn’t going to do anything to stop it. I unfurled the scroll on the bed in the white morning light as the dog and Daniela watched. On one side there was a screen print of the Chinese zodiac. On the other 50 handwritten sentences preceding a hand-written title: 50 reasons why you should have an awesome birthday this year.
I began to read them slowly aloud, taking in every word. I read each one and paused between them, unable to look up a either my dog nor my wife. I was locked onto the writing and it was pulling me further and further inward. Each line went deeper and deeper. Each line meant more and more. It affirmed everything. It reassured everything. It put back all of the bricks that I had pulled down labouring over the fact that I was who I was and how turning 50 meant I needed to measure myself and my life as a whole. Each phrase and statement written in her hand was putting me back together again and I had no idea that I had pulled myself so far apart until I began to read it. Still I couldn’t look up. I knew if I did I would break down and become a blubbering 50 year old emotional wreck – but I had to acknowledge them. I had to affirm how powerful an experience she had created for me. How her 50 phrases were slowly putting me back together. I manned up and looked at them – then completely lost it, tears running hot down my face. I completed the list aloud with a couple of blubbery pauses and a few pockets of silence to relish in the magic of it all. When it was over I was fully repaired. There was no need to feel impending doom. My armour had been mended and nothing mattered.
There was no real need to do anything else that day, as nothing more was needed. Self-pampering or indulging would be fun, sure, but it would be done with knowing that I already have everything I need and that nothing could really make anything any better no matter what it was.