29 for 29

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.

Bam! Aging.

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.

Put that on a t-shirt.

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?”ย 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.

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21 Responses to 29 for 29

  1. First off, happy belated! Second, Iโ€™m sorry you have to experience your 29th in a covid $#!t storm.. time is strange. Although it feels like 2010 was here just the other day.. ( I was 20!! ) itโ€™s scary to think that this past year which is coming to an end.. was a total waste and it literally came and went like no ones business! Thank you for always being real! All the best Paul!

    Liked by 1 person

    • Paul says:

      Thanks Jenna, I appreciate it! I feel like we’re all going to get a covid birthday and maybe even two since people can’t seem to follow instructions. Ugh.

      Oh and be on the lookout for my next movie review! Should be out soon!

      Liked by 2 people

  2. Well happy belated birthday Mr. Paul!!! ๐ŸŽ‚๐ŸŽ‚๐ŸŽ‚๐ŸŽ‚๐ŸŽ‚
    Youโ€™ve touched upon several great, poignant issues about getting older, ahem, I mean maturing with age. Iโ€™m glad your getting to the realization that age, indeed is just a number. Itโ€™s not the years in our age, but the age in our years. So if you feel 10 years old inside, even for just one day, run with it! Go burp in church, chew gum out loud, laugh at cartoons (my dad still does, heโ€™s 82), skip around the block. This is what keeps us young at heart, and 29 is still very, very, very young, lol. I should know, I was there once, but didnโ€™t realize it until I hit 49….๐Ÿ™„๐Ÿค”. As always youโ€™ve made me smile Mr. Paul ๐Ÿ˜.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Paul says:

      Thank you!! Age is definitely just a number, I feel like I’ve been 24 for 8 years. Haven’t tried skipping around the block though lol. Thanks for the comment, glad it made you smile!

      Liked by 1 person

  3. peckapalooza says:

    “You donโ€™t realize it when youโ€™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.” …that feels super deep and so real.

    Happy belated birthday!

    Liked by 2 people

  4. rebbit7 says:

    The happiest of birthdays to you, even if belated. I admit, I never gave it much thought just how inaccurate it was to say, “can’t wait for [year] to be a good one!,” because technically, it did pass…I also believe that most people stop caring about birthdays after their 22nd year, as that’s the year many graduate from college and the rest of life is dedicated to other milestones regardless of age (e.g. first job, first house, etc), as they’re widely variable based on the individual. Perhaps after leaving our twenties, things may or may not change, but until then, I wish you a happy and healthy year (and a lot of cake to boot)!

    Liked by 1 person

    • Paul says:

      Thank you! You seem to be quite right about people not caring about birthdays after 22. Maybe just the milestones like 25, 30, etc. but it’s not like how it was when people turned 18 or 21.

      Liked by 1 person

  5. Happy belated bd Paul ๐Ÿฅ‚

    Liked by 1 person

  6. Happy birthday again!!! Celebrate for a second time! More cake! Ps: send me some cake

    Liked by 1 person

  7. Hope you had a great birthday! Your post made me laugh and feel sentimental all at the same time!

    Liked by 1 person

  8. Jeena George says:

    Happy Birthday Paul! ๐Ÿ˜Š๐ŸŒน

    Liked by 1 person

  9. Pingback: The week gone by โ€” Oct. 4 – A Silly Place

  10. Happy belated brother Paul ๐Ÿ™‚

    Liked by 1 person

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