Today’s my 39th birthday. This means it’s the last year of my life before I hit the big one. Another big one.
Whenever I feel old, I like to think about famous people who are within a year of my age. For instance, Rachel Maddow. Richard Engel. Jimmy Fallon. Seth Meyers, who is just one day younger than me. And three-fifths of the cast of my favorite currently-running sitcom: Neil Patrick Harris, Jason Radnor, and Alyson Hannigan. And Jim Parsons. And Seth MacFarlane. And Kristen Wiig. And Seth Green. And… on and on. (Those two links contain mostly actors, but that’s OK.)
I suppose this could all just make me realize how little I’ve accomplished in life. But for some reason, it doesn’t. Instead it makes me feel like I’m in the prime of my life, and that I can still accomplish things if I can figure out what they are. And more importantly, that I can still be happy.
Happiness is something you have to choose. You can’t wait for it to happen. You have to say: right now, in this moment, I choose to be happy. Because there’s always something to be happy about. Happiness doesn’t come naturally to me like it does to some other people; I have to work at it. But I’ve been getting better at it, I think.
Or maybe I don’t mean happiness. Maybe I mean contentment.
Either way, it’s always achievable.
So here’s to another happy birthday.
Thirty-seven years ago today I was born in a hospital in Manhattan — the same hospital where Stephen Sondheim was born, I just learned this year.
As I lay in bed last night, I was feeling a little dejected about this birthday. It’s not like it’s a milestone birthday like 30 or 40, but I feel like I’ve officially transitioned from my mid-30s into my late 30s, and I’m not happy about it. How did I get to my late 30s? When I turned 30 *SEVEN YEARS AGO* (jeez), I remember someone telling me, “Your 30s are great! You stop worrying about turning 30 and all the drama of your 20s starts to go away and your life becomes more stable.” I guess that’s generally true. On the other hand, the years since I’ve turned 30 seem to have just sped by. I don’t know what I’ve done with myself. My 30s have been… boring.
And yet when I look at the individual days, I know I’ve had some specific moments and experiences that have been lots of fun and enjoyable.
But it strikes me: the way my life is right now is probably the way it’s going to be for the rest of my life. This… might be it.
In some ways, that’s good and fine. Because you can’t really think about your life on a macro level like that, or else you’ll just get depressed. You have to think about it on a micro level. You have to appreciate all the little good things that happen in a day. You have to be attuned to *small* things: the smell and taste of a meal, the sound of blowing wind on a snowy day, relaxing on the couch with your honey watching TV, a nice drink with friends. I have given up most of the big ambitions I once had for myself, and I seem to be happier on a day-to-day level. It’s only when I look at the big picture that I start to get a little uneasy. So I try not to look at the big picture.
So anyway: I’m frickin’ 37 years old. Jesus.