Tue 5 Feb 2008
i am thirty-six years old.
i have been now, actually, for almost two weeks. the birthday was ushered in at the Queen’s Hotel in Leeds, art deco palace extraordinaire, with the queer early-morning wakefulness of jet lag.
off kilter and groggy, but curious about hotel lobbies and the wet shadows of English streetscapes at 5:30 am, i went downstairs and had porridge.
oatmeal. before dawn. i am so totally ready for middle age.
i was always the youngest in my group of friends, just a bit younger in times when age was measured in quarter-years rather than decades, a January baby in a province where the cut-off date for starting school demanded you be 5 by January 31st of your kindergarten year. i was 5 on January 24th. i was 17 when i graduated and moved away.
i always felt like i was running double fast just to get old enough to count, to do something interesting, to be heard. to be worthy of being heard, to have enough life under my belt to stop being treated like an ingenue. i never felt like an ingenue, not inside. under the chipmunk cheeks that got me carded until i was 25, i was an old soul afraid i’d miss some corner of the human experience, trying to suck out all the marrow of life…right now.
funny, but after a couple of decades of marrow and human experience, some self-inflicted and some totally random, like train wrecks, i’m full up. i am weary. more raw than i like to admit. sitting there on the morning of my birthday, sedately spooning up my porridge and looking back over my neglected but beloved journal as i dribbled cream all over the fancy linen tablecloth, i realized that if i could look ahead and see no more loss, no more despair, or grief, or desparation…only quiet, domestic pleasures and a unglamourous, undramatic life ahead of me for the rest of my days until i fade gently into that good night with my affairs all in place (and preferably a few grandchildren), oh my god i would be so fucking grateful.
i used to want to be a rock star. i used to want to be older and more experienced. i was young and stupid.
now, i’m thirty-six years old and terrified. that there’s more. i just want to hide under that linen tablecloth, with my live baby boy and my other blessings, and pray to all that’s holy and unholy for Passover.