Half-birthdays were cool a lot longer than marking the three-quarters point of a year. We carefully tabulated and casually dropped half-birthdays in conversation well into late-single, early double-digit ages. My group of friends stopped hailing the half-birthday around the time we all passed around dog-eared pages of Judy Blume’s Forever. Once we put it all together, so to speak, and figured out the approximate day of our own conception, it just seemed embarrassing to even mention birthdays, birthing, half-birthdays or the vaginas from whence we came.
Half birthdays are huge when you still count your age in months. 18 months is a different beast than 12 or 24 months. Milestones, precious moments, opportunities are measured in 3- and 6-month spans when one is still in diapers.
Saturday was my half-birthday. The Earth keeps spinning around the sun and I am still blissfully pinned down by gravity on this planet.
For the last few years, half-birthdays and birthdays were hard for me. I have felt restless, unguided, aimless, pointless, and old. Especially tough was coping with being a former wunderkind…one of the youngest in my class, graduating college at 20, youngest professional in my job…always ahead of the game. Suddenly, I entered new games: marriage, motherhood, theater, and I was behind. An older bride. A geriatric pregnancy. A positively Methuselah-eqsue amateur performer.
This one feels different. Maybe I’m just tired, maybe I’m just grateful, maybe I’m just eating way too many cupcake halves, but I no longer feel anywhere (or any time) other than now. I can’t make things go faster, I can’t slow things down. I will never be younger than I am, but I can be better, stronger, fast…ahh, nope. Not going there.
I feel expectant and eager, anticipating the hopefully large undefined void ahead. I’ve learned in the last 18 months – the Toddlerhood of my Second Life, if you will – to say yes to things that scare me and to say no to things that don’t bring me joy. I’m finding my voice, even if that voice only says “Yes” and “No” and “Thank you.”
Here’s to the second half of the trip around the sun, one I wish to be replete with milestones, precious moments, and opportunities.
(Incidentally, assuming a textbook pregnancy, I was conceived on Valentine’s Day. That rubs me the right way.)