As of this morning, I have been out in the world for 52 years and a few hours. Actually I’m probably still asleep as this posts, as I usually schedule these things for the early hours of the morning, and this year my birthday falls on a Saturday. Of course I’m usually awake at 5:00, seven days a week thanks to the the two furry orange maniacs which have entered my life in the past year.
Poe and Pepper have been a constant source of attention and affection and stress relief in the COVID times. Zyra and I probably owe no small part of the health of our relationship to our cats, who have provided such entertainment while we endured the quarantine which is finally lifting.
Here at the beginning of June, most of the restrictions here in Michigan are lifted, and the remaining ones will likely be removed on July 1. One year and four months which changed the world in ways we will still be discovering a decade from now.
I have attempted in the past to write birthday posts, but being as close to my life as I am, it is difficult to form the necessary distance in order to write about it from the outside. The passage of time helps, but that means that I can only write about those events which have occurred between the bounding horizons of the moderately recent past, where subject slowly becomes object, and the event horizon of memory where I can no longer be sure the things I remember are the the things which happened, or things I invented to fill in the gaps. I am 52 years old. That’s a lot of lived experience, during much of which I wasn’t paying attention.
I have been with the same employer now for seven years. Ten, if you count my time at Cynergy before my current employer bought us, lock stock and barrel. Ten of my 22 years as a web developer. That is by far the longest I have been with a single employer. I have to say, as a middle-aged techie, stability is a Good Thing.
When I turned 51 I was nearing the middle of a crazy project which had me working second and third shift for two months, then a long and late first shift for two months. During springtime I was able to attend the martial arts class maybe twice. When we switched to first shift, which roughly coincided with the class moving to Wilcox Park after almost three months of meeting on Zoom, I felt my age. It has been a running theme among my tai chi classmates that, as we age, other people in our cohort seem so much older than we are. As I discovered, two months without regular sleep and regular exercise are all that stand between Us and Them.
With a more regular schedule I found more time to read and write and edit, and in October of 2020 one of my short stories was accepted for publication at Coffin Bell. The story was published in January 2021. This was a big deal for me, made even bigger by the fact that this was my first unsolicited piece of prose to be published. I have other publication credits, but they were solicited for specific publication. “Occupied Space” was the first to be rescued after being sent out into the wild.
I started my 51st year with profound sleep deprivation, an unemployed and injured girlfriend, extreme social anxiety, and a small orange cat. Here at the start of my 52nd year I am experiencing mild sleep deprivation, my girlfriend is busy starting her own company, I am vaccinated and therefore feel comfortable out in the world, and we have two small orange cats.
Oh: and in the past year Donald Trump, the conservative white supremacist sex predator, failed to be re-elected, like he has failed at everything else in his life except being a sexual predator and a white supremacist. I laugh out loud every time I pass a “Trump/Pence 2020” sign on my way to visit my parents. And since there is a lot of rural Michigan between here and there, I see a lot of those signs.
So 51 started low and improved steadily. If 52 continues the same trajectory the next year should be amazing.