On Birthdays: mine, specifically

Confession: I tell lies sometimes.

For example: I have, for the past six years, been telling people that I am forty. I am not. I haven’t been this whole time. But when I turned thirty-two, six years ago, (oooo! math!)  I figured that when people heard thirty-two, they were just thinking forty anyway, so why not just skip all the cognitive dissonance between what is and what is believed – the true vibrating painfully against the what just as easily may have been true – and just tell the damn lie. So for the last six years in my head I have been forty, in my mouth I have been forty and in the minds of others I have been forty as well.

Now, my break from my life of lies has always been on my birthday. On my birthday I own up, tell the truth, lay it on the table. On birthdays we remove pretense, we remove guile, we are laid bare for all to see.

Here is the truth:

  • I am thirty-eight today. It is a good age to be.
  • I have three kids who make me crazy and keep me sane at the same time. They do this, I’m pretty sure with magical powers. I’m also pretty sure that’s not a lie.
  • I have a husband who carries me on his back, while I simultaneously carry him on mine. This is also not a lie. We also have magical powers. Magical powers are an essential tool of the long-married. This is well-known. Ask anyone you like.
  • I have, by my daughter’s count, eleven gray hairs on the top of my head. They are short and stick straight out from my scalp. I am convinced that, if I concentrate hard enough, I will be able to use them as supernatural antennae. I will catch messages from other planets. Or from fairies. Or from the dead.
  • I can run long distances and carry heavy things and do a back bend without breaking something, though really I shouldn’t be doing any of those things. I have arthritis and I know what happens to arthritic joints. One day, they will have to replace my knee with something ….else. I secretly hope it will be robotic. I have Cylonic aspirations.  (If Cylonic is not a real word, I suggest it should be. Let’s start a petition.)
  • I have stretch marks on my belly from my pregnancies, so deep that I can hide crayons inside them.
  • I have nineteen scars on my legs, four on my arms, one inside my belly button, and two on my forehead.
  • My blue eyes are crinkled from excessive joy.


So there you go. Truthiness. Live it up.

Yesterday, I told people I was forty, and I will do so again tomorrow. But today, I celebrate the age I am. And while I loved being thirty-seven (prime! a singularity! a typographical dissonance – all curves and edges, all flesh and blade, all cushion and sting!) thirty-eight has a certain stability to it. It has feet firmly planted. It has strong arms, strong hips, a strong back. It is clear eyed and loud mouthed and laughs too long.

And I think I shall enjoy it very much.

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7 thoughts on “On Birthdays: mine, specifically

    • Dude, just try it! Spend a week telling people you are forty. Not only will you suddenly sound smarter to EVERYONE YOU TALK TO, but people start thinking that you look fantastic all the time. Forty is MAGIC. I don’t know what I’ll do when I turn 41. Probably start telling people I’m fifty. Or maybe a million.

  1. You’re braver than I am. I start to say my new age just a couple months before the actual birthday so I can ease myself into it. Happiest of birthdays, you young whippersnapper.

  2. Happy birthday, old gal. When you really turn forty, you’re going to like it. The older you are, the better you get at being you. And don’t let anyone tell you different.

  3. Happy Birthday! I’m 39 now, but for the past two years whenever someone has asked my age I’ve shouted “I’M ALMOST 40!” It feels good.

    When I was 27 I started telling people I was 30 for many of the same reasons you tell people you are 40. Of course saying I was 30 for so many years meant that I spent a lot of time in the past 10 years having no idea what age I was.

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