42.

I’ve never even read the damn book, but I do know the ultimate answer.

I can’t remember a time I liked my birthday. I’m adopted, so that part always made it feel sad. Today is the day I ruined a teenager’s life. And my parents didn’t get me until I was 5 months old. So. What was this day like 42 years ago? I was born. Some nurse probably smoked a no filter Camel while she swaddled me and watched Guiding Light. I probably spent the night alone in one of those plastic baby bins in the room with the window (though, if I remember correctly, my biological aunts, ages 12 and 14, came to look at me after I was born). Eventually, there was a foster home. Not only did I not have a name, but I’m not quite sure they even got my gender right. My legal name was, “Baby Girl” until Mom and Dad came along.

My birthday also sucks because it’s winter. It’s usually the worst part of winter with grey, slushy snow. When I was 12, I wrote in my journal how sad it was to have a birthday in what I called “the coldest month.” I remember, too, pretending I was trying to survive alone in the snowy woods this time of year. I’d stay outside by the creek behind my house until I was too cold to go on.

It’s not exactly a Christmas birthday, but it’s in the time frame of people still recovering from too much socializing over the holidays. I want to invite everyone to drink with me or do sporty things, but, it’s just usually a bummer outside. Today was an unseasonably warm temperature. But. How was I to know in advance? For the past two years and the pandemic, it’s been a huge bummer inside, too.

My birthday also falls on the first day of the semester for higher ed.

Neat.

I don’t tell people it’s my birthday. Why? It’s not like I did anything miraculous to be born. I did no work whatsoever to arrive in this form on the date and time that I did. There are a lot more things I’d like you to celebrate about me.

But it’s been a rough year. A rough two years. I don’t mind if you know now…now that it’s almost over. I just went through a whole day of work without anyone noticing it was my birthday.

To celebrate, I went to dinner with my family, bowled a little bit, and played some arcade games.

I know what I’m writing is not profound in anyway. I’m just telling you. I’m not even trying to be creative.

Look. I know I’m cool and worthy of all the good things that happen. And, on most days, I celebrate and sing myself.

But. Sometimes you just turn 42. Sometimes you just slip very quietly into a newer, sexier, more middle aged version of yourself.

And that’s just as wonderful as slipping as quietly as I did into this world.

Thirty years later. I’m still playing survivor.

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