According to my computer, I have less than five minutes left before I'm forty-four. I'm sure by the time I publish this post, I'll be forty-four.
Remember when certain years meant something? I mean certain ages, really.
Five was big. I remember asking Mom how old you had to be to go to school, and she told me I had to be five. I was very big on school. I don't know that I ever wasn't--except maybe once I figured out the whole grading scam thing, where your grade really isn't a reflection of what you know, but a reflection of what a good hoop-jumper you were. That peaked my junior year, when I skipped a lot.
Anyway, I remember when I turned five, I went to Mom all excited to find out when she was taking me to school. I remember being very disappointed to learn I had to wait over six months--although I'm sure she didn't tell me it would be that long, and if she did I'm sure I didn't understand it. But I was disappointed it wasn't going to happen the day I turned 5.
Ten was also big. You got to be double-digits! So much of childhood is about wishing your life away without realizing it. How often do you wish you could be single-digit aged again? How sweet was life at 8, right? Youth is still wasted on the young. You'd think someone would have fixed that by now.
I don't remember that birthday specifically. I mean, I may remember it, but I don't associate it with turning 10, so I'm not sure of anything that happened then. I do remember thinking that things would somehow feel different once I was 10. I also remember they didn't.
The next big one, in my opinion, is 13. I mean, you're finally a teenager! Now you're a member of that secret club of people aged 13 to 19! Now you get to... continue living your life just like before, only saying "-teen" at the end of your age.
Okay, not that big a thrill, really. But still, it seemed like it was going to be.
Now 16, that was a big deal. Now you could get behind a wheel. Now you could drive, pending getting your license and whatnot. I passed the test with flying colors, even though I hit the cone or whatever during the parallel parking (he didn't notice I hit it, but I sure did). However, I was in two big wrecks before I got out of high school, so maybe passing with flying colors isn't a good indicator of how good of a driver you are going to be.
But 16 was a big deal, to be sure. As my friend Andra pointed out in college, "Now, not only do you still have to go places you don't want to go, but you have to drive yourself there!"
And then there's 18. You're an adult. You get to register for the draft. What could be better than that, right?
Oh yeah, 21. That's better than 18. So long, fake I.D.! I've got a real one now! (For the record, I never really had a fake I.D., and never really needed one.)
Oddly, I remember my 18th birthday a bit better than my 21st, and not because of alcohol consumption on my 21st. I just remember a gift from my 18th birthday (my first computer mouse). I remember I went to some club or another in Kansas City for my 21st. I want to say Epitaph, but I'm not sure. One that Jhoneric always talked about I never got to go to. I think that was the Foolkiller. Yeah, I went to Epitaph for my 21st birthday, and had one drink. I also bought a bottle of vodka, which I owned for years and never opened. I don't know what happened to it, though. I'm pretty sure I had it at the last place I lived, but maybe not.
Then, what's left? What's the big deal after 21?
I think insurance rates were supposed to go down at 25 or something, but I don't really know. I think after some age or another I need to start getting a prostate exam regularly. I guess when I turn 56 I can celebrate that I'm old enough to retire (assuming Missouri keeps the whole 80-and-out thing until then) from teaching. I suppose I can celebrate getting a senior discount at... whatever age that is.
Really, at this point I only keep track of my age to show off my counting skills.
But a birthday is a good excuse to have people come over. Since I like having people around, that's a good thing. I look forward to seeing friends and family tomorrow (strike that--today). That I'm another year older is just a nice excuse to get them here.
P.S.: It's now 12:13a.m. on the 29th. Technically, I'm still 43 for another seven hours or so, but legally, I'm 44. Happy Birthday to me!