Oh, here it is, on the dawn of the first day of my 53rd year. I am still here to welcome you and receive the plaudits and hosannas which are my just due and proper.
Ha! I almost got through that with a straight face.
This is my third pandemic birthday, and so far life is as good as can be expected. The weather is beautiful and poetry events around town are starting to pick up. This past week, for the first time in years, I read at an open mic event, and it was wonderful! And yesterday I attended the reading by the winners of the 2022 Dyer-Ives poetry competition, for the first time since well before COVID.
Now that I am in my mid-fifties I can say that I am doing a lot better than many people my age. I am in a loving relationship with a beautiful partner. My health is good, though keeping the weight off is not as easy as it used to be. My career is stable, my mind is as active as it ever was, even if I am currently severely burned out and counting the seconds to my two weeks off in the first part of July.
There have been a few changes; I am now wearing bifocals (long, long overdue) and my hair has not been this long since, I think, 1998. Compare the selfie above to my birthday photo from 2021.
This weekend was the first Grand Rapids Festival of the Arts since 2019, and the city is full of celebrants. I plan to spend more time out in the world than in past years, though with proper precautions since we are still in the middle of a pandemic which has been exacerbated by some extremely reactionary interpretations of “freedom.” Still, most of what I like doing involves being outdoors, so I will have an easier time staying socially distanced.
I don’t really have any concrete plans for the upcoming year, other than to continue to read, write, practice, and love my partner, and enjoy the company of our two little orange maniacs. That’s enough for my middle-aged self.