Birthdays, and other melancholia

I promised Natasha I'd write about turning 32, so let's do this!

This is my personal blog. There will be a typo or two below. If that bothers you, write your own damn blog. — Alex

I recall turning 28 being a bit shit. When you are 27 you can lie to yourself and claim that you are still in your mid-20s. Young. Full of potential. But 28 was different, it was a decidedly late 20s figure. I was getting old.

Imagine how lovely it was to turn 32 this week. It was somewhat awful. My body rebelled against me the day before my birthday, complaining that my recent diet of coffee, pizza, and small pastry-encrusted-hot dogs and donuts wasn’t really the jam. So, I spent much of early Wednesday morning downstairs on the couch with pain in my gut wondering if I was too young to get killer heartburn.

I am not, it turns out. All of that day was a blur thanks to a huge sleep deficit, so I got to Thursday, my birthday, pretty tired and with a full slate of work to do.

Not that I mind work. I don’t. I honestly fucking love being productive; my parentally-gifted Puritan work ethic fits neatly into my chosen career, and I’ve come to peace with that even if I am still more anti-theist today than anything else.

I digress.

My birthday was a bit of a suck, frankly. Not that people weren’t lovely. Natasha and Chris got me a custom tank top. Aash had an actor from a somewhat obscure Irish television show that I love record me a celebratory cameo. My wife made sure I got cake. My family called. Many people sent kind DMs.

But as I tried to explain to my dear friend David this morning over coffees, I feel a bit lost. I have mostly done the stuff I had in mind a few years ago. Liza and I are married. We got a third dog. I got back into reasonable shape. Several years of aggressive savings have paid off in the form of more financial security than I’ve ever had before. I made it through COVID sans illness and have been vaccinated. I got back into therapy. I started taking anti-anxiety meds. I’m flying my parents out to see us soon. I moved from SF to Providence, and got back to the job I should have kept all along.

And now, well, what.

In a sense children are the obvious answer. We’re working on that, even if I don’t have any news to report on the matter. But until we do have a kid — the first of several, per my partner’s planning — I am mostly just doing the same stuff on repeat. Which is good for me, as routine is my jam and doing the same stuff again and again keeps me sane and helps me stay sober. But all those nice words did not save me from ennui this birthday week.

(I am very aware of my enormous privilege, I want to add at this juncture. Everything in this post is what the AA kiddos might call problems of abundance. First world problems, in other words. But this is my personal blog and this is where I am at. So, here we are.)

It’s ironic that I feel a bit flat, as I positively crave time to obsess on things. You might think that the sort of person who will listen to the same song 1,000 times before they get tired of it would not mind a little repetition. But, but, but.

Anyway, a big thank you to everyone in my little world of friends, and my sober crew, for their presence in my life. And the biggest thanks of all to Liza, who loves me even when I inexplicably get bummed out for what appears to be no good reason other than I am not currently stressed to the marrow about something inconsequential.

Here’s to a good year.