My birthday was today.
It was a pretty quiet day. I lolled in bed for most of the morning, drove out to Carrborro to look at a totally unsuitable apartment, treated myself to a late lunch at iHOP (it’s been years) up in Durham, and then tooled my way back down to my hotel.
This place is pretty amazing in that it is three cities bumped up against each other but most of it looks like the suburbs or even like rural fastnesses. I have a feeling that my sons will find living here to be not really all that different from living in upstate New York.
Except that there are buses here.
And places to work.
And places to go.
I could go on but I think you catch my drift. It’s got a lot of the things I like about living in rural places, plus many of the conveniences of living in urban places.
About once every fifteen minutes or so, I do something to remind myself that I am now 57 years old. I need to do that because I have spent a year being 56 years old and I need to get used to the change.
I’ve had a couple of people ask me what I’m going to do for my birthday, which seems like an odd question. What, exactly, should I do? My nearest and dearest are hundreds of miles away. I am alone in a hotel room. It’s been many years since I have been into any kind of bar scene and I’m not really in the mood to sit at a bar chatting up the bartender.
I would much rather be alone in my room.
Besides, my friend Ken the Anthropologist is taking me out to dinner tomorrow night … a sort of belated birthday celebration. That’s what I’m doing, I guess.
After dinner, I’ll come back to this hotel and pack my things. Early Tuesday morning, I’ll board a plane and head back to New York.
I’ve gotten or will get quite a lot done over this extended weekend. I’ve viewed a couple of potential places to live. I had a fun evening at a Chapel Hill bar talking to a few current anthropology graduate students about the program at UNC. I have heard more about NCAA Championship Basketball over the last couple of days than I think I had ever heard before in my life.
Tomorrow, there will be more. I’ll spend about half an hour sitting in on one of the courses I’ll be taking next year. I’ll be meeting with my advisor, which I’m very jazzed about. I will ask his advice on what he thinks I should take in addition to the core courses. I will meet some people, if they’re around. I’d like to spend some time strolling around the campus, just to get a sense of how the place feels.
And then I will drive off in search of my birthday dinner.
I’ve been telling myself that this is what you should expect when you get older. Your birthday gets to be much less of a big deal once you’ve seen a whole lot of them.
But that’s not the lesson I’m going to take away with me.
I love my family but sometimes I really do need to get away from them. They are demanding and it’s pretty rare for me to get all four of them to leave me alone for any extended period of time. There are reasons for that, reasons that keep me from getting angry about it. But it does mean that, occasionally, I need to go away and be alone for awhile.
But I probably shouldn’t arrange for one of those awhiles to be on my birthday.
Live and learn.