As a way to put a positive spin on gaining in age from year to year, I tell myself that I have become magically smarter when that date in October comes around. You know, it’s that whole “older and wiser” thing. So far, it’s worked in my brain and it makes others stop and think when they ask how I’m “coping” with turning another year older.
Ever since I was a little girl the idea of age 30 intrigued me. I thought it was an appropriate age to stop and turn around to see just how far you’ve come in life and how much you’ve learned. I felt it was an age to appreciate what you have, laugh at some of the silly mistakes you’ve made and look forward to the rest of your life. I loved being 30. I did feel smarter.
Turning 31 was the first time in my life I wanted to put the breaks on a birthday. It took me all day to come to terms with crossing the threshold and firmly planting my two feet in my thirties. Deep breaths. Okay, I’m here. I can do this. I tried to psych myself up the night before the big day.
The morning of my birthday I woke up with a stiff neck and I couldn’t turn to the right. I had helped a friend move over the weekend and apparently all of that twisting, lifting and straining isn’t as friendly to 31 year old muscles as it is to those a years younger. My first order of birthday business was a trip to the chiropractor at 8 a.m. It wasn’t a fun detour in my day’s schedule, and it cost me money, but I knew I wouldn’t get very far without it.
After that the day spun out of control. It was the single busiest day I can remember having in the past two years of writing business. Clients I hadn’t heard from in months emerged from the woodwork and needed things that day: meetings, advice and writing. It was insane and there was nothing I could do to slow it down or rearrange. I just had to throw my hands up, ride the rollercoaster and try not to freak out.
Huh, the day’s schedule kind of felt like turning 31.
I pulled myself out of my car that night around 8:30 and I trudged into the house, thankful to be able to fall into my bed and crash away from the world as early as I wanted to. When I woke up the next morning, 31 and I had an agreement. We were going to be okay and I did feel a little wiser.
I took a spontaneous trip to the store that morning and at the end of making my way through a warehouse-sized store, my bleary eyes caught the glimmer of an object that made me slam on the break of my full cart and let out a full gasp…and then a giggle. I spotted a label maker. It is a gadget I’ve always wanted – ever since my old TV days when I borrowed one from the engineering department and labeled everything in the newsroom. (They had to take it away from me when I started labeling co-workers’ computers with their nicknames.)
This was it. This is what would help me with the transition of turning the page to 31. Happy birthday to me. I bought a label maker. I regained the control I lost while riding the birthday rollercoaster and I knew that I would never have to hand write a label again. Yep, 31 is going to be a very good (and very organized) year. You see, it really is the little things.
McCurdy is a writer based in Fargo, N.D. Connect with her online and read more stories at www.SarahMcCurdy.net.