I’ve never given much thought to birthdays, but as I turned sixty on Wednesday, I feel compelled to write about it. Birthdays, like the calendar and the clock, are man made measurements of time. I’ve never felt that time, specifically the measurement of it, was all that important. Except maybe when you’re wondering what time the party starts. It may be fashionable for some to be late, but I like to be there when things get going. And of course you have to know what time to be at work, and what day. It won’t do to show up for work when you’re not supposed to be there or to show up several hours late. So in our society, time is important, whether I think so or not. Which is fine because it helps get things done.
Say you have a toothache and your dentist doesn’t care much about time. This could be problematic. Instead of showing up to do your extraction he’s on the golf course spending your fees on drinks. But birthdays specifically have never held much interest for me. I’ve never had a big party with invitations and guests. Never announced it in the papers. I was only a day younger the day before my birthday so what’s the big deal? When we celebrate our birthday, we’re celebrating something we can’t remember. Of course I was there for it, but being newly born, there are not a lot of memories from it. None, in fact. So why do we celebrate something we have no memory of? Wedding anniversaries are a great example of celebrating something we remember. Unless of course you had too much to drink and the whole day’s gone blank. Most of us who have gotten married remember it and celebrate the event but I think by and large that most of us don’t remember our birthday.
Turning sixty however seems to be some kind of milestone for me. When I was young, I never imagined being sixty. I thought it was terribly old. Gray hair and wrinkles in places you never had hair or wrinkles didn’t seem all that appealing. And yet here I am, sixty years old and thinking, I don’t feel sixty. When I was young I thought being sixty would feel old. I don’t feel old. Sure I’ve got arthritis, but that’s pain. I had pain when I was young. At sixteen I broke my back in a car accident so I know about pain. In my case, I don’t equate pain to being old. I’ve lived six decades, another measurement of time. I’ve learned a few things during that time as I expect I would. Don’t spit into the wind, don’t tug on Superman’s cape, that sort of thing. But really, this doesn’t feel anything like I thought it would when I was younger. Which is a good thing, I guess. I imagined it would be awful. So I’m happy to be surprised.
And so in celebration of my sixtieth birthday I’ve decided to get a tattoo. I’ve never done it before. Getting a tattoo that is. So this should be fun. I’ve been trying to decide for weeks now, what kind of tattoo I should have. A naked island girl is probably out, as well as dragons or Pokémon’s. I feel that I should get a tattoo that has some meaning for who I am. The prominent things that I am are a drummer and a writer. How to combine the two into one tattoo has not come to me yet. But it will, and I’ll show you the result in my next post.