My birthday was earlier this month, which means I am contractually obligated to put together a list of things I’ve learned in my life – one for each year – and present them in a, let’s be honest, borderline preachy manner that you can’t judge me for because a) we’ve all done it, and b) I
am was the birthday boy.
I will not be doing that today. I am drawing the line.
Twenty-nine is just too many things to think of. I’m old; I don’t have all day to come up with stuff anymore. Heck, it takes me half the day just to figure out what day it is.
So, consider the line drawn.
That’s the first rule of getting older, by the way. You get to change the rules, so they’re always to your liking.
Don’t get mad at me. I don’t make the rules. I just change them.
Before I trail off into who knows what, I’d like to make a PSA (Paul Service Announcement).
Can someone shout out a number? I hear 22 in the back.
Okay, if it is your 22nd birthday, please do not write in your Instagram caption: “I can’t wait to see what my 22nd year has in store for me!”
No, genius, you just completed your 22nd year. You are about to experience your 23rd year. It’s very simple math. Use an abacus.
That’s just a minor pet peeve of mine that I’ve seen too many times.
This Paul Service Announcement has been brought to you by Helium. Helium – We’ll blow you up, up, and away!
Anyway, I’ve had this idea for many years, that we should treat everyone as if every day is their birthday.
You get a cake, and you get a cake, and you get a nice message, and you get a nice message.
We don’t do that, though. It’s too much work.
Maybe it’s just me, but my birthday has lost a little pizazz over the last few years. It’s not that I’m not excited for it, or that people don’t do nice things for me. I just feel like, “Oh, it’s my birthday again. Alright!”
When you’re a kid, birthdays are like if the Super Bowl was on Christmas.
You have a party at the local mini golf place and have pizza and orange pop in plastic cups. And then the plastic cup moves away from you as you’re filling it up because you don’t have a free hand to hold it down, since the large bottle of pop requires both of your small hands to hold it.
That’s how spills happen. Find me a birthday party that didn’t have a spill. You can’t.
Those were the days, though.
Sometimes, my birthday fell on the first day of school. That was always weird because it felt like I was walking around with a secret.
If no one remembers your birthday, you don’t really feel like reminding anyone.
In Grade 12, my third period teacher was the first to realize it was my birthday. He called my name for attendance and then did the double take at the paper in front of him before looking up and saying, “Happy Birthday.”
And of course I was near the back of the class, so everyone turned around and said, “It’s your birthday?”
Proof that there is such thing as a stupid question.
In elementary school, they would announce birthdays over the PA during morning announcements, but because mine normally fell before the first day of school, I never got to hear it.
Oh yeah, before school ended in June, they would announce all the “summer birthdays”. Apparently, I didn’t qualify for that either.
I was in birthday purgatory. Not the summer, but not the school year, either.
I think this might be why I try to remember the birthdays of those closest to me, rather than relying on a social media post to tell me.
It’s a small thing that makes someone feel important. Otherwise, it’s just a lonely experience to live through.
In my adult years, I’m perfectly happy doing nothing on my birthday, except eating at a restaurant and having cake.
I don’t need a party, I need a couch.
As I get older, I find it harder to believe that all these years have passed since I was born.
Sometimes I’ll look at a shirt and think, “I’m a growing boy, I’ll grow into it.”
No, Paul, you’re done.
Time is the strangest thing. Are we sure we’ve calculated the correct number of days in a year? 2010 feels like it was just here. I can re-live memories, and retrace steps, as if they just happened.
Yesterday, I was reunited with mint chocolate swirl ice cream that I last had in 2004 during the MLB playoffs. It was my favourite and I thought it had been discontinued because I hadn’t seen it since.
Last night, I had it while watching an MLB playoff game.
Sixteen years. It doesn’t feel real.
You know that song that asks, “How do you measure a year?” Well, I measure sixteen years by mint chocolate swirl ice cream.
I’m rambling now, but as I look back on my life, I’m happy with the person I am. The world could probably use more people like me, but I’m probably
biased, if not correct.
I’m happy with the friends I’ve had and the people I’ve met along the way.
You don’t realize it when you’re playing at recess, or talking in the hallway before school, or sitting next to your friends in a class, but those moments are all temporary.
A lot of the friendships are temporary, too.
We are constantly weaving in and out of people’s lives. Timing is everything.
Think of your closest friends right now. How many things had to go right for you both to meet at the exact moment you did?
Were you placed on the same floor in residence at university? Were you both hired at the same place? Did you sit next to each other in class because your teacher had a seating plan? Did you both start a blog?
I am incredibly lucky to have had some great friends along the way.
And to the friends I’ll make in the future, I will find you. That came across more threatening than I intended, but I’ll leave it in there.
I saw a tweet the other day that said something along the lines of: if you’re not where you want to be, it’s because this isn’t the version of you that makes it.
I feel like I’ve needed to hear that for the last decade.
It’s easy to say, “Don’t compare yourself to others” and “Everyone moves at a different pace”, but those phrases still require you to look outward and scroll through feeds of photos that you’re unable to take.
If I look at my life in reverse, I can see the moments where the version of me changed and a new door was opened.
That gives me comfort and reassurance for the future. Everything happens the way it is meant to happen.
Anyway, I’ve been the same way since I was a baby, except I don’t burp in church anymore. That’s a story for a talk show appearance.
I was a few months old, relax.
Now I have to think of a new conclusion.
Okay, got one.
Since my birthday, I’ve found myself smiling at the TV while watching shows, and just the other night, I fell asleep on my back.
If those aren’t signs of aging, I don’t know what are.
Age is just a number.
It’s the new habits that immediately become second-nature, that should slightly terrify you.