Thursday, July 16, 2020


Life continues to surprise and change.

This is a somewhat funny thing to think after life has been nearly the same, day after day, for 4 months. The pandemic feels like something I have been mentally and physically preparing for, but it is still a challenge.

I wake. It's 8 am, or thereabouts. I lay in bed, relishing how relaxed I am, my leg and back blissfully free of complaint for the moment. I think about my plans. 

I am 51 today. Who would have thought it would look like this?

I don't just mean the physical aspects, of course. My hair hasn't been this long in at least 20 years. I mean the bigger picture. I don't really know what I thought life would be like at this age, whether forecasting from my teens, my 30s, or even last year. But I never imagined any of this.

I put on some music while I drink a coffee. I treat myself to some Dynamo donuts. It's only this day once a year, and only this specific day once ever. Recent events have reminded me you need to enjoy the things you like while you can, because you never know when you can't ever again.

I read email, the news, and finally, Facebook, scrolling through birthday wishes. I write in my journal. I ran yesterday, so I don't have to do that today. I put in some laundry, and clean up the kitchen. 

I spend the day like I have for the last several months: I work on some music. I apply for some jobs. I play some games. I putter around the house. And I talk to friends.

I scheduled a 2.5 hour Zoom with over a hundred invited people for 4:30. I figure I can have a virtual birthday party. I am pretty sure it is going to be a disaster, if anyone even shows up. 

But it is not a disaster. It's actually wonderful. By 4:45, there are 10 people on, some of whom know each other, some of whom do not. People cycle in and out.

I talk to some friends I haven't seen since 1985, 1987, 1990-something. I talk to some brand-new friends. I sing a couple of songs. We catch up. Iran does a live demonstration of how to make her Manhattan.

For someone who has so much personal mythology around being isolated, alienated, and alone, I sure seem to have a lot of wonderful friends. It is an emotional experience, and before I know it, the official end time has passed and we continue for another 30 minutes. Finally, I'm talked out and starving. I bid farewell and shut it down as the sun sets. 

I reflect on my life. Nobody is happy about the state of the world. It seems clear there is no going back to what life was like a year ago, or four years ago. The future remains murky. We are all trapped in a kind of long present. Based on what I'm reading, we will be here for a while. If we're lucky. 

But I don't mind. If this is my life, I'm going to figure out how to enjoy and appreciate it. I no longer take it as a given that I, or any of us, will be here in 2 weeks or 2 years. 

That realization makes every day more special and more precious. This could be the last good one, or the last one. I stay up late, thinking of my friends, squeezing every last moment out of the day.

Maybe I didn't get to see my friends in person, and maybe it was only slightly different from any one of the last 100 or so days. I didn't go out for a fancy dinner, and I only had one drink. I'd still say this was one of the best birthdays I have ever had. 

The only profound philosophical insight I can offer this year is "it is good to be alive, enjoy it while it lasts."

Happy birthday to me. 

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