I turned 29 again

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This past week, I turned 29 years old . . . again.

I’ve turned 29 several times already. How many? I don’t know. I lost count.

I’m not much for birthdays . . . I lost that excitement after I turned 21 and realized adulting really isn’t that fascinating after all. I prefer low key birthdays in which I can just sit in quiet, concealed fear of growing old.

Well, I try – but the wonderful people around me just insist on attempting to make me feel special despite my own personal hang-ups.

I remember a particular 29th birthday a number of years ago. That year, my birthday fell on a Tuesday . . . just a regular old weekday, just like it did this year.

On that morning, I decided I’d try to wear fun shoes to work. It had been months since I’ve been able to muster anything but orthopedic models, after breaking my foot and messing up my ankle the prior summer. I decided that since it was my birthday, I’d attempt to treat myself. But after only 10 minutes in my favorite boots, I realized my foot and ankle couldn’t handle the slight incline and I had to sadly put back on the granny shoes.

“This is the beginning of my decline,” I told myself . . . and promptly spilled coffee all over my shirt.

I changed, ran to work for a quick minute and headed straight to the courthouse for a marathon morning.

First stop was the county board room, to cover their regular meeting. Just another day – except that was the day I realized I had been sitting in that room every other Tuesday for the last 15 years or so (the number has now climbed to over 20).

I stopped in the entrance of the room, to pick up my agenda, when the most amazing thing happened. The county commissioners – already sitting in their designated chairs around the official giant desk – broke into song! I was stunned as I heard the chorus of county officials sing “Happy Birthday” to me. Proudly, they proclaimed well wishes . . . I swear I periodically heard harmony! With tears in my eyes, I thanked them for the sentiment. Who knew they were such accomplished singers . . . or that they would still like me after all the stories I’ve written about them over the years.

After a couple of hours watching them conduct business, I went two floors up . . . to sit in on criminal court proceedings which is always an uplifting experience, witnessing the issues of society.

Then, I hurriedly choked down a piece of pizza at my desk, where I witnessed my first-ever “Facebook Birthday.” I resisted Facebook participation until earlier that year. So I had no idea that when your birthday hits, there’s this mass notification to everyone you know. Imagine my surprise when I saw all those messages of niceness . . . and my wonderment at how anyone knew I had suddenly turned 29. I was also shocked how sweet they all were – I’m used to most messages and emails being critical and vicious, so it was a nice change of pace.

My in-laws sent me flowers – they were beautiful. And even better, the card was signed “Mom and Dad Wilkinson,” which they are.

I received a hand-crafted poem about cherries and the sky from a great friend who will forever be older than me (yes, Bob Sautter, that’s you).

And somewhere over the course of the day, we made a newspaper, I finished up work on our general election section, and I reminded myself to call someone for information about the city’s quiet zone project (yes, it was already an ongoing saga way back then).

My husband sent me a picture, indicating it was my birthday present. I could see a TV with a picture of a hot, young football player on the screen. I asked if my present was a television or the football player. He promptly responded that I’d have to get the football player myself – darn it, a girl can never get a break.

As I drove home, I was treated to a song by my boyfriend, Jon Bon Jovi, which soothed the repetitive 29-year ache.

I opened the front door to my house to smell something rancid – I may be 29, but I still haven’t learned to not leave old black beans in the garbage too long.

I took out the stench; put whites in the washer to only realize I was out of bleach; and found I’d lost an earring somewhere through the course of the day.

I put on a sweatshirt, drove to the shop and spent some quality time with the husband as we did our daily work.

The day ended with fuzzy socks, a cold beer, a hot burrito and news commentary about Ebola and ISIS (this year, I had to listen to political arguments about inquiries, elections, recession, inflation and who did what to who in the early 1980s).

That was actually a really good birthday . . . it must have been, because remarkably I remember it.

This most recent time of turning 29 was pretty much a groundhog day of birthdays past, which ended with a good dose of face cream, a glass of water with a spoonful of cologen to keep my hair from falling out and reading posts from online well-wishers which is always better than seeing posts from disgruntled readers.

Oh, it was just turning 29 again.


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