I did something different this year before sitting down to write this post: I read the previous nine. Since I began this blog in Feb. 2004, I can only claim one constant: Without fail, on Sept. 21st of each year, I have written a post acknowledging, sometimes even celebrating my birthday. That's something I do much less frequently in the non-digital world, although this year, as I become 39 IV (or 42, that supposedly magical age that is the answer to "Life, The Universe and Everything" according to noted philosopher Douglas Adams), my wife is determined that we celebrate this day that marks my birth and recognizes my achievement in aging.
It's been quite a year, too, with some amazing highs, a few discouraging lows, a bit of misery but also a lot of hope. Since I wrote last year's birthday post – just shy of six weeks after getting married – we went on our real honeymoon: Three weeks (give-or-take) to Australia and New Zealand, a dream vacation that we desperately want to repeat if only because that is nowhere near the proper amount of time to visit one of those countries, much less both of them.
Then in April, after another lovely little vacation – this one to Hawaii to celebrate my father's pending 70th birthday – I parted ways with my job at a previously mentioned, very important cultural institution memorializing the tragic events of just over 12 years ago (that's called anti-SEO language, FYI). This was an important occurrence of mutual necessity. As I mentioned last year at this time, I wasn't feeling very much like me anymore; I was pretty removed from everything I enjoyed doing, especially professionally.
This summer has been challenging: I'm still looking for more consistent work and trying to write a much more frequently. As I mentioned in what I guess was my latest "Hey, I'm back" post, writing has become more difficult for me than ever, but I continue to plow through, and I think I'm more satisfied with most of the results. At least so far.
As I journeyed through the majority of the past decade revealed by those first nine birthday posts, I was a little amazed at how well they represent each of the periods of my life from which they sprang, sometimes more subtly than others, but in ways that kind of astounded me. Just last year – in an epic entry that subconsciously must have been due to my not having added anything to this blog for the entire previous year – I wrote that "I never intended to regularly use this space as a public diary." That was a very true statement, and that intent hasn't really changed. But when I examine what those nine entries represent, my intent obviously doesn't hold as much sway as I would think.
The first birthday post, in 2004, was full of exuberance as I turned 33. Ah, the worries and anxieties that show themselves over the ensuing years as I got older; they all seem silly now, although only in that I had them then, since so many likely remain. But it is somewhat amazing how young 34, 35 and 36 seem when you're turning 42.
Dammit. I'm not carrying the Jack Benny mantle all that well when I keep forgetting the appropriate public age.