Tomorrow is my birthday. This one feels a little flat and I think that’s good. After several years of big changes and big growth, the past year has been stable. When I say flat, I don’t mean unhappy. I mean just that the year hasn’t been big and momentous and, for me, that makes my birthday feel a little less crucial to notice. Things are good, and they seem like they will continue to be. Slow and steady improvement and building on projects and interests and relationships established in the past few. Things feel simple, even when they are momentarily overwhelming.
I’m no longer stunned by my age. It’s no longer a surprise to have lived this long. It’s no longer disorienting to not be young. It’s comfortable.
One thing to note is job title. Just a title change, not really a job change. I’m now an engineer. That feels like recognition of the skills I have built since I graduated with a sculpture degree 20 years ago. It came with a bit of sadness, as the one person I would really have liked to tell about it is no longer living. He wanted me to be an engineer since I was a small child. It would have been wonderful to tell him that what he saw forty years ago was right. Reminders of him still come in the mail this week from people I don’t speak to. That is, of course, bittersweet.
Sunday is our big annual party. Plans of duck were disrupted last week when I had a moment of inspiration. I suppose it is my birthday present to myself. I have always eyed the Jamón Serrano at restaurants, on it’s stand. Now I will have this beautiful pork sculpture in my home and be able to share it with dear friends. That’s about perfect. The past few years, the party fare has strayed from what I want. I have somehow got it in my head that porchetta or duck was somehow more grand and celebratory. Somehow it seemed I should make sure that there was something glorious for people who don’t think that cold, salted, thinly sliced pig is the height of eating. The truth is that cold, salted, thinly sliced pig is the height of eating. I have no reason to compromise on that point. How did the best thing in the world become not good enough? When did I start catering (literally) to what I think I should do rather than what I really think is best? It isn’t like the cheese and caviar won’t be good enough for someone who doesn’t share my taste in pig. Why did I start worrying about that?
Maybe my birthday present to myself is really to look at that question a little more closely… next week.