Thursday, June 12, 2008

Getting Older Doesn't Have to Suck

I turned 33 years old last Thursday. It still feels weird to say that, let alone type it. I remember when my parents were 33, since I was 8 years old then. That was the year that I started attending Sayre after the disastrous 2nd and 3rd grade merger in my public school. I can’t imagine having an 8 year old right now. Shoot, I can’t even find someone to date, let alone someone willing to share my life.

That leads me to the edge of the spiral that I went down in the days before my birthday. I never thought I’d be 33 years old and alone. My plan had been to settle down between ages 25 and 30, then maybe have a kid or two. Being gay did not change this initial plan, just the gender of my spouse. Of course, I never anticipated that I would have such poor judgment when it came to picking men to date. I never knew that I’d have this “rescuer” complex where I try to take on the wounded and troubled in hopes of helping to “fix” them which would result in their undying love and devotion toward me. I never knew that I’d try to settle with a guy that I wasn’t in love with simply because he seemed to “make sense”. So now I find myself at age 33, alone, and with no prospects for that changing anytime soon.

The night before my birthday, I was really wallowing in the self-pity. My dinner that night consisted of a bottle of Amarula, my favorite liqueur from southern Africa. It’s not a heavily alcoholic drink, so I just got a healthy buzz. The thing about alcohol being a depressant is that while it gives you a buzz, it also keeps you down in the dumps. And boy was I depressed about my birthday the next day.

Then my actual birthday arrived. I was determined to feel bad all day about growing older, being alone, being overweight, and having no prospects that things would ever turn around. However, I started getting the legion of happy birthday notes and emails not only from Facebook but through general email. Many weren’t just birthday wishes but some said things like “Sure am glad you were born!” and “I hope you have a fantastic day!” I found it impossible to maintain my bad mood in the face of all this love coming from the greater world around me.

By the afternoon, I even had plans for my birthday night. At first, I had no plans at all, which also contributed to the general “I’m a loser” feeling I had approaching my birthday. My friend John had said that we’d go have dinner, but I hadn’t heard anything else about that. Turns out he forgot, but invited me to tag along on a planned trip to the Botanical Gardens for Cocktails in the Garden. I’d never been, so I decided to accept the invitation. Then I made dinner plans with Daniel, who just got paid, and was in the mood for some hibachi.

Dinner was great, as usual, and I left feeling stuffed. The Garden was nice, but it was HOT as hell. It didn’t really cool down until 8:30pm or so. The cocktails in the park were weak, too. We even had a stalker who followed us around after eavesdropping on the conversation in line.

After the garden, we decided to head to Apres Diem for some real drinks. I had four Hendrick’s martinis, extra dry, with a twist. They were really good. Turns out high quality gin tastes a lot better than the cheap stuff. The conversation was really good, and we definitely decided not to drive home. In fact, we didn’t go home at all, but walked to Blake’s where I proceeded to have 2-3 more gin and tonics.

Turns out I can hold my liquor better than John or Meg, so by the time we got a cab to take us back to their neighborhood in Grant Park, they were both pretty much passed out. We did get Meg in the house, and her sister drove John and I to his house where we crashed.

We awoke about 9am, and had to scramble to figure a way back to our cars. Luckily, Tim was driving to work, and when I told him the situation, he came and picked us up to return us to our cars. I had a presentation at 10:30am on the health plans for McCain and Obama, and I wasn’t feeling it. My head didn’t pound, but I sure did feel nauseated. Luckily, they had water, and I somehow muddled through it. I was a mess, but I didn’t care… my birthday had been a blast!

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