FEBRUARY 23 — I turned 44 on February 22, 2022, which is a nicely amusing set of numbers.
Two years ago right before the lockdowns started, I celebrated by taking a week off to see friends and have a lot of pretty drinks.
This week I did the same thing but have already had one meetup cancelled due to a friend being a Covid-19 close contact. It’s not too upsetting; my friend and I rescheduled.
My birthday activities are curtailed anyhow — to short outdoor meals at quiet malls and most of my week will be spent working on various little DIY house repair jobs.
Trying not to get Covid is a job in itself and changes your perspective on most things.
Seen through the lens of a pandemic, things that were irksome before seem far less important.
Case in point: I am too tired from the mental work needed to stay functional in a pandemic to pick fights on the internet or heed people trying to pick fights with me.
Perhaps 20-something me would be upset to know that 40-something me is a single cat (and dog) lady columnist.
I would tell her she should be glad to have come this far and dodged many bullets along the way.
Maybe I will be a bit more worried about my age when I hit 50 but right now being able to carry a solid wooden table up the stairs alone without dislocating a hip? That’s the stuff for me.
People keep interpreting the phrase “life is short” as advice to do as much as you can, chase those dreams, reach those milestones.
I would say instead, that life is too short to spend it being miserable.
It’s good to have something bigger to work towards, but there is also beauty and joy to be found in a simpler existence.
I know a couple who are disappointed their son hasn’t “made more of himself” and prefers to stay home to mind the kids, taking side gigs while his wife is the primary breadwinner.
They do not see that their son is happy, his marriage is solid, and that their grandchildren benefit from having more time with him instead of with a sitter.
Their grandchildren are healthy, with sunny personalities and are wonderfully articulate for kids their age.
As I’ve said, it’s all a matter of perspective.
When I was younger and a lot more neurotic, I’d worry about leaving a mark on the world and obsess about what kind of reputation I would leave behind.
Now, if I were to die tomorrow, I’d know the people I love most know just how much I care about them and that, for me, is good enough.
I have learned that I have no control over many outcomes in my life and that there are doors that will not open no matter how much I kick and scream.
There are too many adults I know who obsess too much about the paths not taken, love unreturned and dreams too far out of reach.
The pandemic has turned our lives upside down, no matter how many of us live in denial about it.
“Well, I’m not dead yet,” might seem like a morbid way to look at life and living but that’s my current choice.
I’m not dead yet. Why not grab a nice cup of coffee this week?
I’m not dead yet. I’ll work on a couple of ghost stories this weekend.
I’m not dead yet. I’ll accept that invitation, learn that new language but still find time to take a lot of naps with my pets while I can.
The problem with the modern human condition is how much we think we can dictate all the outcomes of our lives.
That house you bought? You could lose it in a flood or fire. The job you love? Your company or business could go under.
The only solid foundation you can build is the one you carry with you and that, really, is the one most valuable takeaway of my 40-over years of annoying as many people as possible.
I hope that you, dear reader, don’t take quite as long to learn it as I have.
Here’s to another year of getting through this pandemic and at the very least, more cake.
*This is the personal opinion of the columnist.