My birthday was on Sunday. I turned 72-years-old. More on that later.
In the days leading up to my birthday, I realized I don’t like the number 27. It’s too close to 30. At least when I was 26, I could round down to 25, and pretend to be the middle of a teeter-totter.
Now, I’m just tipping the scale in one direction and it’s uncomfortable.
I think part of the problem is, I don’t feel this old. Last year, it took me a solid 5 months to remember that I was 26.
And some of you reading this are probably thinking, “Ohh Paul, you’re still young!”
But I’ve never been this old!
Time feels like it’s flying and I don’t know how to stop it.
Do you remember where you were five years ago, today?
I was right where I am now. Sitting in a chair, at this desk, in the wee hours of the morning, typing a blog post.
That one was called, “I Miss School, Already“. A chill just ran throughout my body, that’s how fresh it still feels to me.
I was so sad, while writing it. I felt displaced.
I put my heart into that post and though the layout of it is very simple, it’ll always be my favourite.
A few days before I wrote that, I was starting to get discouraged with my blog. I distinctly remember wondering if I’d ever get more than 32 blog views in a day, or if I had peaked. I thought that was as good as it would get.
And then, bam.
Two days after that post went live, it was featured, and blew up.
1045 views in one day. I was shaking all day, that’s not an exaggeration. There’s more to this story, but I’m not willing to share that part yet. Maybe in a few years. Stay tuned.
I’m now telling you all this to brag about stats. They don’t matter.
I’m telling you this because that day – the one when I wrote about missing school – feels like yesterday. Every day since then, it has felt like yesterday. I can’t escape it.
Yesterday was not Monday. Yesterday was the day I wrote that post. In my mind, at least.
The five years in between feel like a really long dream. There have been days where I tell myself, “Ok Paul, you can wake up now. Wake up. Wake up!”
No matter what I do, no matter where I go, part of me is still stuck in 2013. Part of me is still stuck at school.
Yeah, I still miss it. Maybe not to the same extent, but there’s a reason why I don’t read that blog post anymore. Wouldn’t be able to get through it.
At the time, I received comments from people all over the world.
A few of them told me that every year, when September rolls around, they miss school. These people had graduated 10, 15, 20 years ago. They still missed it.
I didn’t understand them. Now, I do.
And all this time, I’ve felt guilty about missing school, when I shouldn’t. As cheesy as it sounds, I finally came to a moment of enlightenment this past Sunday.
It’s perfectly fine to look back and smile, laugh, cry – whatever you need to do.
But the trade off is this: you can’t stay there. If you stay there, you forfeit all the smiles, laughs, and tears that have happened since. And that’s not worth it.
There’s a quote I heard a few years ago: “If you live in the past, you die every day.” I think that’s applicable.
While the last five years flew by, there were many days that stood still, and moments that stood out. I think the future holds more of those moments, no matter how hard this whole growing up thing has been.
If you can relate to anything I’ve said so far, let me know.
Now then, let’s have some fun!
On Saturday, my sister texted me something along the lines of, “How do you feel that your birthday weekend is about to begin?” I replied, “Fine.”
But the tone of her text tipped me off. I knew right away that in a matter of moments, balloons were going to enter the house. I have a 6th, 7th, 8th, and 9th sense, don’t test me.
Sure enough, a giant 2 and a giant 7 entered the house.
And then 99 red balloons followed.
I immediately set them up to say 72, because I’m a child and an old man, stuck in a 27-year-old’s body.
I will say, though, the balloons have softened me to the number 27. It’s not as intimidating anymore.
Sunday rolled around and we went off to my favourite Italian buffet. When I was about 6 or 7, they took a picture of me and my mom standing at the pasta station and put it in their brochure.
Yes, we still have multiple copies of the brochure.
I like to boast that I was a child model, as well as a model child. No one can tell me I’m wrong.
Then we came home and it was time for my annual, “Sit at the table with the cake and hold up the cutlery, as if you’re about to dig in like a caveman” photo. That photo goes back to my third birthday, at least.
I had three friends ask me if I was going to do “the picture with the cake” this year and post it on social media.
Somehow, I’ve created an irreversible trend, which will only escalate each year as I try and make each one unique.
A few years ago, I recreated the photo from my 10th or 11th birthday? I don’t know how old I was, but I was wearing a Dallas Stars, 1999 Stanley Cup Champion shirt. It was one of my favourite shirts back then.
So, present day Paul put on a green Dallas Stars shirt and posed for the annual cake photo in the same way I did as a kid. Boom, symmetry.
This year, I put the balloons behind me to show that I was 72-years-old. Photos were also taken to show that I was 27, but why would I share those with the public?
Go humour or go home.
I’m not posting that photo here. If I’ve welcomed you into my life via permission to follow me on Instagram, you get to see it. The rest of you will just have to imagine the brilliance.
Oh, and the caption was, “What’s my age again?” because that’s the only caption that could’ve possibly went with the photo.
Actually, my other caption idea was, “Forever Old” and then when I actually turn 72, I’d post a picture with balloons that say 27 and the caption would be, “Forever Young”, but I didn’t really feel like waiting 45 years to complete the joke.
This is how my mind works.
I’ve bragged a lot in this post, but I’m hoping you all see past it.
Wait, one more brag.
The birthday card my mom bought had Snoopy in it and said something about me being classy. I was told she bought the card because I “really am classy.”
So, there you have it. I am a classy individual.
I’ll end by giving you something to think about, since I’m an older, wiser, intellectual individual with a 4PM dinner time.
I get really bothered when people turn 27 (or any age) and say, “I can’t wait to see what my 27th year has in store for me!” No, you fool! You’ve already completed your 27th year. You’re starting your 28th year. Do the math!
Age is a number. Age is not a person. You are a person.