Thursday, June 07, 2007

Another year older

It happens every year and try as I might I can't ignore the day although I tend to treat it like every other ... sort of. I did make a point of going to my favorite local Chinese restaurant for lunch. So far I've resisted going to the self-styled "European" bakery nearby for a slice of cheesecake. But I hear a sort of siren song urging me to go have a piece with some capuccino. In my heart I KNOW I cannot be the age one would calculate from the year I was born. I KNOW it's been a long time since I was this hair-ribboned three year old, but it can't have been THAT long.

When one's last name is Calender, one is stuck with noting the flow of the years. Like Prof. Cox said back in American lit, "our names influence us in ways we don't even realize." [How sorry I feel for the famous Miss Ima Hogg!] And yet I am bad at remembering exact years; it's as if I have been given license by my name to contain all the years in an indiscriminate jumble. What year did X happen? I don't know. I know, like most Americans, exactly where I was and what I was doing when I heard JFK had been shot but I don't know what year it was. I have not yet forgotten the year of 9/11, that is too close, too intimate. But what year did I trek in Nepal to Thenboche to see the Mani Rimdu festival? I remember most of the ups and downs of the trails, the rope bridges, the sight of Everest on the horizon, but the year is simply not important. I forget the years my daughters were born and the same for my grandchildren. That kind of forgetfulness has nothing to do with their importance but with the relative unimportance of this arbitrary thing we call time, and most of all the even more arbitrary way we number years. How ridiculous the millennium madness was! Whose millennium? I kept asking. Why was that year different than all other years? In fact, it wasn't.

And, in fact, I am not older today than I was yesterday. I refuse to be that old and I will not truly celebrate another birthday until I reach a nice round 80 ... and I reserve the right to change that to 90 if I should wish as the year approaches .... sometimes way out there in the oh, so distant future.

No comments :