Warning: The following is a snapshot into my psyche. Much like the movie, The Blair Witch Project, it’s mildly frightening with an unsteady focus that may cause motion sickness and/or trigger epileptic seizures.
I’ve done it. I’ve reached another milestone in my nihilistic life schedule: my 44th birthday. Against all of my personal expectations I exited my 43rd year of existence still breathing. Amazing but true.
If you’re scratching your head right now and wondering why this is such an astounding feat, you can step back in time and read this bad boy to catch up to speed. I’ll wait here.
Even before my mother died I was obsessed with dying young, a notion fed perhaps by my fervent belief that I was Martin Luther King Jr. reincarnated as a small white female and my misguided romantic notions of martyrdom. I staged my own death at the tender age of five to gauge my family’s reaction. For the record: their reactions were extremely disappointing and I immediately wrote them out of my will, a slight that moved them even less than my faux-death, despite my impressive collection of tattered stuffed animals. Those people were cold.
Actually I was pretty zen about the whole idea of an early death for most of my life, having adopted a Richard Bach death-is-merely-a-new-adventure attitude. I was fairly certain that after death I’d achieve total enlightenment, a huge welcome party at the pearly gates and a perfect complexion, all of which seemed pretty freaking cool. Then I had kids and my zen went out the window along with my sleep schedule, replaced by the irrational fear that I would leave my children to struggle without a mother in Captain Agro’s Mini Boot Camp for Semi-Orphans.
You would think that after my malignant shoulder tumor turned out to be a sore muscle brought on by advancing middle age and I didn’t suffer a fatal heart attack while training for my 5K, I would’ve been freed from my psychotic burden. Not so. By the end of the year I’d battled Parkinson’s, MS and various forms of cancer all within my own imagination while lying in bed planning my memorial service, which by the way will be way better than the memorial service I planned for myself when I was five.
Anyway, I was expecting to feel relieved and elated about breaking the 43rd barrier, like a giant weight had been lifted from my shoulders. I figured I might even throw myself a Dodged That Bullet party or have some sort of wild weekend in Vegas with The Hangover cast. However, when it came right down to it, the thought of outliving my mother didn’t make me want to party. In fact it just made me sad. Just when I think I understand my own psyche. What a buzz kill.
And to top it off I was over-scheduled, which made it hard to properly obsess and wallow in my angst. I kept thinking, “Is this how I want to spend potentially the last few months of my life? I should be reaching enlightenment sitting in an ashram in the heart of India or some other deeply meaningful nonsense that will vex my husband.”
Then (BAM!) my birthday came and went and life went on almost as if I wasn’t the center of the universe, which is weird because I’m pretty sure that I am.
Kidding. I was just trying on narcissism as a possible replacement for hypochondria.
So I’ve been wandering around a little aimlessly in these first couple of weeks of my 44th year. I mean, my death is no longer imminent and my memorial service is already planned, what to do with myself? Perhaps I’ll look at these as bonus years and just do whatever the fark I want (within reason–I do still have children to care for). The ashram is probably out…or maybe not. Do ashrams have reliable child care? I could be ashraming next week. Who knows? I’m a wild card.
Happy Birthday! Glad you made it- I feel we have some more drinking to do!
Yes we do!
I, for one (and I’m sure I’m joined by many others), am really glad you survived the year and didn’t fall victim to any terrible (and, I’m sure, painful) maladies or fatal knife-stab wounds (also painful) inflicted by an overly competitive parent at your child’s school who is insanely jealous of your very well-toned arms (pretty sure I saw this in an After School Special years ago); I would miss your hilarious blog posts, witty insight into the psyche of crazy people, and fantastic cultural references (mentioning both Richard Bach and Zach Galifianakis in the same post? Brilliance! And serious skillz.). Congrats on surviving… and thriving… and happy belated birthday!
Thank you! Your compliments are the best birthday presents ever! Well except for the whole still living thing which is pretty sweet too.
So glad you made it! oxox
Me too! Those imagined illnesses can be tough to beat.
May I suggest dipsomania as a replacement for hypochondria, narcissism and over-scheduling? It’s carried me almost unscathed (well un-convicted anyway) past the fifty threshold, which is far higher and scarier than anything the forties can throw at you. Happy belated!
I come from a long line of dipsomaniacs.
And is it my imagination or does time seem to speed up as we get older? I feel like I’m stuck on fast forward.
Skidding toward eternity on a banana peel and a steady stream of invective, no?
44 is the new 34 so middle age has yet to arrive & is not yet nippin at your heels!! Happy Birthday! I so enjoy your writing 🙂
Thanks, Denise. Demi Moore, would probably tell me that 44 is the new 24, but my bikini tells me otherwise.
Oh! I should start a mommy ashram. This could fill a great niche in our society! 🙂
Mommy ashram! Brilliant! That’s exactly what I need.
As I read the above, I couldn’t help but think of three things:
1.) Wednesday Addams
2.) It has been far TOO LONG since your last blog entry.
c.) Take solace in that you’re still closer to 40 than you are to 50. In mere weeks I must acknowledge that the latter is just one year away.
Oh, I’ve missed you. Don’t stress about 44. I’m on the tail end of it. I’m pretty sure 45 just pulled my hair and stuck out its tongue at me. So glad to read that you’re well, but not surprised to discover that you’re a hypochondriac because I discovered that about myself. Yesterday. When I wrote a blog post called (I swear, it’s true) “Holy Diarrhea! I’m a Hypochondriac.” If I find out that our periods are in synch, I might have to take a break from blog reading again. xo MSP
Isn’t hypochondria an indicator for extreme imagination and intelligence? I like to think of all my psychoses as assets. I’d better go read your post so that I can figure out what disease I’m going to obsess about next.
Dengue fever! Dengue fever! Dengue fever! Or should we be nationalistic and call it Furlough Fever?
Ha! Does it turn you into a bombastic senator because that scares me worse than cancer?
I sure hope not. I don’t think I could walk around with that greasy “I-think-I’m-Elvis” hair don’t that Cruz sports around the Senate.