This year’s birthday proved to be a difficult one; not, I should make clear, because of the birthday itself — after 47 years, I’ve found that getting older is a fairly automated process if you manage to stay alive — but because of everything else that was happening on the day. By any regular standard, my birthday this year was filled with Things To Do that ranged from the low key (pitching stories for work, writing up one of those stories when it got accepted) to the major (a vet appointment that confirmed that one of the dogs has a sizable malignant tumor on his spleen), with more ranging to the latter end of that spectrum. It was, for any day, a lot.
It was suggested to me during the day that it’s become a tradition that I have unfortunate birthdays. This is perhaps a good thing to have forgotten, but apparently last year also saw the day hijacked by bad news — I think it was to do with paperwork relating to the divorce settlement, but I can’t really remember? — leading to the possibility that October 5th has become regularly full of bad luck and unpleasant events at some point of my life; not the most pleasant idea to play with, I think everyone would agree.
I spent part of the day thinking about how shitty a birthday it was — in no small part because others kept pointing it out, albeit in well meaning tones — and came to the realization that, if nothing else, it fit: 2021 has been, in no uncertain terms, what Queen Elizabeth II famously called an annus horriblis — a horrible, difficult year — for me, with career prospects disappearing, new opportunities arising only to vanish, and bad news plaguing loved ones on a depressingly regular basis. With that surrounding context, why should I expect a birthday that wasn’t filled with bad news, difficult conversations, and frustrations big and small?
Oddly enough, that realization helped, some. That said, if events could conspire to get better any time soon, I’d really appreciate that, please and thank you.