[Note: Today is not actually my birthday. My birthday is on Saturday, but since I will be off-line this weekend, I am posting my annual birthday blog a few days early.]
My birthday usually has me simultaneously looking back on my life and looking ahead to my death. (Fear and nostalgia, that's what birthdays are all about.) However, instead of musing on mortality as I have done in past birthday blogs, I think I will write a list of 9 random thoughts of this particular 45-year-old. (Warning: I fear most of these thoughts are of the get-off-my-lawn variety, which makes sense, I suppose, given my advanced age. Ah well.)
1. You can prove that you were there with a photograph, but who do you need to prove yourself to? Why all this burden of proof all of a sudden? Proof of purchase and ownership, of caffeine addiction and food consumption, of attendance and accomplishment and popularity. If there is no photographic record, did you even experience it? If no one internet-likes it, does it even matter? (You did, and it does.)
2. Hearing another person's real-life laughter, whether it be giggle, chuckle, snort, or guffaw, is infinitely better than reading a LOL. Or even a ROTFLMAO.
3. I think that a big problem with society today is that people are quick to condemn and reluctant to forgive. Think of all the times you said or did something stupid before you knew better. Can we agree that human beings are fallible but also probably not entirely evil and therefore capable of growth and change? Can we allow that change to occur no matter how heinous the crime? (Assuming the individual shows a willingness to change, of course.) I fear for a society that sees others only in extremes.
4. Life is risky. Bicycle helmets are bullshit. It's worth the potential concussion to feel the wind in your hair. (This observation is true both literally and figuratively.)
5. We have a singular gender neutral pronoun in the English language that would solve the difficulty of using the plural pronoun to refer to an individual who does not identify with one particular gender. All we have to do is get around the negative connotation of "it" as referring to a thing rather than a person. I think this would be ultimately easier than referring to one person as two. "They" is confusing and seems somehow arrogant, like using the royal "we."
6. Vicks VapoRub is an effective zit remedy for that kind of volcanic long-term zit you can feel swelling steadily beneath the skin. (I may already have passed this bit of accrued wisdom along, but it bears repeating.)
7. "Riot on" means many things to me. It means do what you can to change the world for the better, even if that change seems small and unimportant, because sometimes the seemingly unimportant is the most important of all. It means be critical of the world and of people who tell you who or how to be. It means be self-aware. It means find fun people to do fun stuff with. It means don't kill yourself even though things seem bleak, because there are people who love and care about you who will help you if only you ask.
8. "Ah well" means only one thing, really, which is that sometimes life is a drag and there's nothing you can do about it, but that's okay. You can handle it. You must. (See "riot on.")
9. Since #9 is inevitably a conclusion, I will end with this: think of how insane it is to be born, to be alive, to exist on Earth in the crazy future world of 2018. No matter how old you are, think of how much you've grown and learned in the years you have been alive. Think of all the places you have been and the people who have meant something to you. Be grateful for every single moment, even the most traumatic and painful, because they mean that beyond all rationality, you are HERE, a living, breathing, thinking, feeling being. And that is fucking incredible (both literally and figuratively). And, oh hey, would you look at this? This blog has somehow turned into a meditation on mortality. (As if there was any possible way that it wouldn't.)
If you are reading this, thank you. I am more grateful than you can possibly imagine for the ability to write down my thoughts and have you read them. The internet sucks, but it is also pretty great. (It's all about the balance.)