I don’t like my birthday. Well, that’s not completely accurate. I enjoy the fleeting attention and warm regards from family and friends, but that’s it. I do, however, celebrate other people’s birthdays, and I’ll be the first to wish you a good ‘un, when I remember. I find it is a constant reminder of the impending: how time slips like dry sand between the fingers, the sand that will fill up our graves. A memento mori. For the first time in my life I feel that I’m growing old, not growing older. And there’s the constant niggling in my mind that I should be doing much more with my life, that I should’ve done much more by this point.
I recently published my hundredth post. It came, and went without a whimper. Somehow, numbers ending in zero are seen as significant. They aren’t. I haven’t found any empirical evidence that zeroed numbers have any more value than ordinary numbers, as far as our limited existences are concerned. Most of the years, the numbers, we attach importance to aren’t particularly important. It’s all in our minds. Yet, the mind is a powerful thing. It’s the man and woman turning thirty, it’s the man and woman turning forty, and the tick-tock getting tick-tockier, the mosquito in your ear, the cold finger of time slowly tracing a line from your neck down to your back.
There’s still a lot left to learn and to do and it seems there will never be enough time. A sense of a loss not yet experienced, an inexplicable expectation hangs about everything, a constantly-held breath, for a plunge that one doesn’t seem to reach yet comes all too quickly. Maybe the before-mentioned numbers have their place, the zeroed ones: the ten steps and even the smaller groupings of five steps (years). Easy to grasp, to follow, logical and neat progressions. Clean-cut. As adequate and as common-sensical as ever.
They remind us to stretch and to reach before time actually runs out, a reminder that despite our past failings and accomplishments, there’re more horizons waiting to be explored, that we can’t afford to wait. Despite the fear and the doubt, we can’t afford not to dream and to hope, and to do everything we can to not just live on dreams and hope.