Today is my birthday. I’m thirty-five years old. Yikes. When did I become a thirty-year-old, let alone a thirty-five-year-old? The math says five years ago, 1825 days ago (add any leap days but I’m too lazy to look that up), but my heart is telling me that it was only a few years ago that I turned thirty. I’m going to restate the obvious here but holy hell time does pick up speed the older you get.
There are a bunch of explanations for this that some great YouTube videos cover.
Maybe I’ll link to one below if I can find them (I’m too lazy). First off, a year is less of your lifespan as you age. A year passing when you’re five is 20% of your entire life. Defining your life with a year is a huge portion of your experience going forward. As a kid a year is 10% of your life which means each year is pretty damn important. New adventures, new insights, new ways to define yourself, new things to learn, new people to meet. It’s all new.
At my current age one year is 2.8% of my life. At fifty a year will be 2% and at one-hundred a year is down to 1%. Each year going forward is less important to the grand scheme of your life.
Think of a pizza sliced into eighths. This is what an eight-year old sees when they break down their life. Eight big, fat, tasty slices of pizza. Giant greasy portions of the pizza. Now think of a bag of Skittles. Imagine dumping that shit on a table and seeing forty of them rolling around. If you’re forty, each Skittle is a year of your life. Each one is pretty insignificant to the entire pile of them on the table. Also, why is ‘forty’ spelled like that? Doesn’t ‘fourty’ make more sense?
The second reason that I can think of is that life and time is apparently felt by experiences. When you’re having new experiences every day time seems more filled — you have more to remember — and time seems slower. As you age you’ll probably find yourself into some daily/weekly routine that repeats ad infinitum. When I look back to the past few months that’s about all I have to define it, routine, and that makes time fucking fly by.
You can’t do a damn thing about the “percentage of your life” a year is, but if there’s one thing you can do to slow time down and lead a fulfilling life it seems to be to have as many novel experiences that you can. For someone like myself who does the same thing for literal decades its no surprise that I’m surprised by being thirty-five. When you do jack shit in life, whatdaya expect besides time, and your life, to fly past you?
I love math because it puts things clearly into perspective without any room for feeling or interpretation. I feel like I was a teenager a few years ago and I still feel mostly clueless about life. I still feel young mentally and physically (luckily my body hasn’t started to fail me in noticable ways), but let’s do some math. Thirty-five is half of seventy; there’s almost no math to actually do really. Seventy is a good lifespan, sure you can live longer but let’s go with seventy. I’m healthy but still not the healthiest person alive, so that age is probably a good time to expect to die. At the very least my body will probably be useless around the age anyways unless I really change some shit.
So I’m halfway there! Halfway to being dead. Wow. That’s a fucking bleak mind-blowing way to look at today. The time I’ve been alive, you know, all the time I’ve pissed away not having a career or a passion, and that’s as much time as I have left. Cool.
Being ten you don’t really think like this. Ten is 1/7th of a life. There’s six more parts left to enjoy. You can fuck around and be clueless all you want because who cares? Twenty is still less than a third of your life; once again you have 2/3 parts left which gives you some hope to cling onto. But halfway? Halfway is halfway, past the majority of everything you have and it’s no surprise to feel some panic about this fact. And it basically is a fact unless you somehow live happily past seventy.
My grandma will be ninety this year and I’ve tried to learn as much as I can from her. She’s miserable at her age. She’s said a few times that she’s tired and almost wants it to all be over. She’s not suicidal but seems to be waiting around to die. Young people don’t seem to understand this mindset but it does make sense. Life is only as good as your body allows it to be. She can barely walk due to arthritis. She is diabetic and has high blood pressure. She can’t leave the house without help from someone. When she falls she has to take a trip to the ER. It’d be miserable to have your body get old and stop doing what you want it to do. Sure, if your body is in good shape, fine, but if it give out around seventy — a likely situation — what’s the point of living an extra two fucking decades being miserable?
At worked I talked to a girl (not ‘woman’ or ‘lady’ because she’s my age) who I went to high school with. I asked her if she was 35 yet. Nope. August was her birthday. Huh. “How do you feel about being 35?” I asked her.
“It doesn’t bother me. Everyone will be this age someday or already has been.” She wiped it away with a shrug and a big fat Eh, whatever.
“Huh. That’s good.” Was about all I could say. I don’t have the ability to be totally passive about my current age. Another friend at work, she’s almost thirty-four, jokes about being old all the time! It’s like she’s proud of it or something. I’m not ashamed about my age but I sure as hell ain’t proud of it.
So happy birthday to me. I hope no one at work is aware it’s my birthday. I don’t want to talk about it, I don’t want to acknowledge it, and I want to be left alone to sulk. Oh well, tomorrow is not my birthday and I can get back to living my life and distracting myself from my ever-increasing age. You know, living the last half of my life. Cheers to the journey?
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