On Birthdays and Easter

Today is my birthday. I am 40. Forty. The BIG 4-0. And it doesn’t feel a bit different. It felt different when I turned 30. Many things changed. But now–things just seem to get better and better. I hope this is a trend.

I remember when I was a little kid and realized that there was a chance my birthday would fall on Easter. This was really exciting for an 8-yr old. Cake AND a holiday, one celebrated with dyed eggs, chocolate, and LOTS of candy. Sign. Me. Up!

So I went about trying to calculate when this would occur. By my simple addition I figured it would happen when I was about 12 or so. WRONG. Little did I know that (western) Easter was a “roaming holiday,” and varied based upon the full moon and the spring equinox. The Catholics were really on to something there–keep the kids guessing. The Orthodox Christians (who weren’t at the time) thought otherwise.

Low and behold, my birthday wasn’t on Easter until 1998. I was in graduate school in Idaho and ALL BY MYSELF. It was a bummer. I celebrated with one of those half-circle grocery store cakes frosted to look like a pastel bunny. YUM.

In 2009 I celebrated my birthday while on my honeymoon in Japan. On that day we took our first bullet-train ride (my first train ride EVER) from Tokyo to Takayama. We stayed at a fabulous Japanese Inn (Tanabe Ryokan) and ate a delicious kaiseki (traditional, seasonal, multi-course) meal. Cake wasn’t on the menu, but raw squid tentacles were! YUM (not)!

Tanabe KaisekiMy birthday fell on Easter again in 2009 and I don’t really remember anything about it. We were in transition. Transition in jobs, housing, life. I think our brains try to block some things to protect us. That was a difficult time.

My birthday will fall on Easter one more time in my lifetime–2020–I’ll be 48. What will I be doing then? Where will I be? In transition? In Japan (wouldn’t that be something!)? I can’t wait to see what the future holds. But for now I’m just going to savor being 40. It seems like a pleasant-enough number. Don’t you think?

Remember when…

Are you ever in the middle of doing something when you catch a whiff of a smell and you are suddenly, briefly transported back in time…

To when you were a kid hanging out at the Little League baseball park where your brothers used to play. And it smells of pizza, and hot dogs, french fries and hot grease. And you’re drinking Coke out of those little paper cups–the ones covered in wax. And eating Astro Pops which take for.ev.er to eat and get stuck in your teeth and cost 25ยข. Not playing ball because you throw like a girl (which is understandable because, well, you are) and this was back when girls were a novelty on the team and the only ones who played, didn’t throw like a girl. And maybe their dad was the coach or something. And you’re running around, all pigtails put up in those “pigtail holders” with the plastic bubble gum-ball-looking things on the ends…

And then the wind changes and the smell is gone. And just.like.that. you’re back pumping gas on your way home from work far far away from the town where you grew up.