What is that you say? You say it’s my birthday!
Remember when you were a kid. People ask how old you are and you round up to the biggest possible decimal. “I’m 10 and 3/4’ers and 5 days, 15 minutes, 33 seconds.” As if the longer your response is, the closer you are to it being the next year.
I’m now officially at the age where many women don’t just round down; they outright alter the temporal passage of time:
“Well, according to the Maya long count calendar I’m actually only 24 solar years old.” — OR — “A Shaman once told me I am an extremely new soul in terms of incarnations.”
And then there’s the super-fun turning point where complete strangers in the Publix checkout line morph into my Jewish grandmother and shamelessly pry into my most personal details.
“Oh, you’re such a pretty girl,” they begin innocently enough. And then, BAM! — They bitch slap me with, “Are you married? No? Oh, well, if everything is working down there, you should probably start freezing your eggs.”
Seriously, little-old ladies with shopping carts of canned prunes and Prevail adult diapers, standing there discussing my skincare regiment and the fact that the odds of me being able to have children is dwindling faster than the white-fish spread at the Zabar’s deli counter on Sunday.
(I dare not tell them I don’t think I even want rugrats — for fear of smiting out what little life they have left right there on the spot.)
Yes. Many of the most unforgettable, UN-regrettable, mind-and-heart blowing milestones of my life occurred in my 20’s. But I wouldn’t go backwards, not for all the butter beer in Hogsmeade. To not know what I know now. To taking Jell-o shots off the hood of my roommate’s ATV, only to wake up the next day spooning a Stay-Puft-Pillow-Buddy inside a dog-training crate.
Or the night I spent in jail for — well, let’s just say the crime has been expunged from my record. Sitting there in a 5-by-5-foot cell block with only me, a free-standing, stainless steel toilet seat with a braided weave jammed into the drain, AND red lipstick graffiti on the walls that read, “I fucked your unborn fetus.”
Most of the time, I don’t “feel” my age. I definitely don’t ACT it. But every now and again, I have this Benjamin Button moment where I appear young on the outside, while my thoughts are those of a crotchety blue hair. Example: A few weeks ago, I went to a book festival in town where there was a free, WISHING TREE station.
Orbiting around the trunks of 2 giant Magnolias were all these little kids, reaching on their tiptoes to tie their WISH SLIPS to the branches. I walked over. Grabbed a sheet, and thought:
“I wish the person who stole my social security number this year and filed false taxes with it would come to meet el Chupacabra in a dark alley.”
and — “I wish I could lock down a lower interest rate on my mortgage.”
But then I looked up. And there, scribbled in red and blue crayon on the hanging slips before me, read:
“I WISH BLEEP DE BLOOP DU BLOP”
AND — “I WISH THAT CATS WITH WINGS WERE REAL”
And it hit me: I don’t want to go backwards. I want to go inwards, and see the world through the eyes of my inner child. So — on this, my 35th (in actual years) birthday, I hereby pick up a red and blue crayon and make all of my wishes from there:
- I lived on the moon, so I could eat ice cream all day long and it would never melt or drip onto my hands.
- My brother would grow nose hair as long as Repunzel’s
- I could drive my car to Starlight Music and play keyboard in Jem & the Holograms
- The screeching squirrel outside my apartment would turn into Falcor
- A giant velociraptor would swoop down and eat the inventor of brussel sprouts.
- When someone said “Time flies” they actually meant giant flies made out of alarm clocks that eat hours, instead of horse poop.
- There was no such thing as ill-fitting dress shoes
- Everything tasted like tater-tots.
- I had 20 fingers so I could wrap twice as many cherry fruit-rollups around them.
- Eating too much candy NEVER made your belly hurt
- The hard-wood floors in my apartment were made out of trampolines
- My bicycle glowed in the dark and had a rocket-propeller button under the seat
- For the infinite causes of grass stains!!!!!!
- That cats with wings were real (So. Does. He.)