Birthday 36. And counting.

Here I am at 36 doing something strange with my mouth. That’s my friend Don’s head in the background. He was having a meeting at Payne’s. His third in two days.

I spent the day at Payne’s Coffee in Gas City working on the assessments for the IEI at Ball State, but I started it off with a conversation with a friend who’s trying to make a tough decision regarding her daughters. I had this conversation right after I learned that my childhood best friend, Heather, is having back surgery as I write this. I was torn between coming here to relax/work and spending my day in the hospital with her, but I had to get some work done. Now I feel like an ass for not being with her when she needs me. Again. Anyway, while my friend and I were talking another colleague came in and shared some of her stories from Iraq with us, so the day began in a herky-jerky sort of up-and-down emotional kind of way.

I woke up this morning thinking thoughts of birthday elation. I love my birthday. I have always loved it because I try hard to live with no regrets. The older I get, the more difficult that gets. Should I regret the fact that I haven’t followed the same path as others? I have friends who have kids who graduated from high school this year. I have one friend whose daughter is getting married soon. I have friends who are medical doctors, big business people, and recognized members of their particular fields. I am still struggling through a PhD program. I have no children. I am not well-recognized for anything. Do I need to be? Do I want a life like that? I don’t until I compare myself to other people, which seems to be quite a struggle for me lately. I thought this was supposed to be the crisis that hits on a monumental birthday, not at 36. 36? Seriously. At thirty-three, I jokingly said that Jesus saved the world at that age, and what had I done. Now, I ask myself, What have I done?

I looked back through some of my other entries around previous birthdays, and I don’t mention anything about feeling honestly out of touch or overly emotional. I mention my usual things that I struggle with: my relationship with God and the fact that I feel distant from [Them], my struggle to treat people with a consistent ethic, my desire to eat a compassionate lifestyle with consistency, my desire to make something more of myself, and my inability to be happy with the life God has called me to live. There is always a struggle for me with these things, and they play like a more than broken record throughout this blog and my thoughts, skipping and scratching until I want to pick up the needle for good. But this birthday, this one has me feeling incredibly emotional, teary-eyed, and scattered.

I suppose you, my dear reader, get tired of the struggle, the whining about it, and my attempts at living better only to fail. I grow weary of it, too. What I do know is that I want to just learn how to fix it and have it be fixed. Permanently. Much like riding the bee ride with Iz at the fair, I get tired of going in circles. The ups and down don’t bother me. In fact, they excite me. But the fucking circles make me want to throw up. I get tired of pretending that things excite me at each revolution. I get tired of waving at various scenarios as I pass. “Hey, Iz. Wave at your mom and dad!” translates to “Hey, Corb, wave at the shitty way you treat people” or “Hey, Corb, wave at your questioning about whether or not Jesus matters to you.” It’s fun when you’re on a carnival ride with your amazing goddaughter, but it’s not when you’re on your own personal-life carnival ride.

But, I’ve been reading a lot of Buddhist thought lately, as I’ve indicated, and it seems like a big portion of the Buddhist idea is learning and relearning, which sort of goes against the Christian idea that God changes us. I mean, there is a big portion of Christian practice that leans toward learning and relearning, but it seems to lean on the idea that God is responsible for the change, not the person. I could be misinterpreting things. Maybe I need to be a Buddha-Christ or something. The two spiritualities work together really well. How can you read the Sermon on the Mount and not read it as at least a Buddhist-influenced text?

I’m too busy. Way too fucking busy. I don’t have the time to spend with people that I like to have.

I’m too attached to my computer, spending more time on it than I do with real people. It’s sad when cyber-people become your reality.

I’m too spread thin. Even when I am with people, I can’t concentrate on them. I have a friend who makes each person in a room feel like s/he is the only person there, in a meaningful, you are all that matter kind of way. I want to be that person.

I’m too critical of myself. I suppose I have some good qualities. In fact, I know I have some good qualities, but I focus too much on some of my bad qualities to recognize the ways in which the good ones could make me grow.

Obviously, this post is a bunch of rambling nonsense brought on by my aging. I’ll be fine tomorrow. Really. This quote by John Lennon makes me feel better every time I think about it: “Time you enjoyed wasting was not wasted.” I have enjoyed all 36 years to their fullest. Here’s to another 36 of enjoyment and time wasting.

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5 responses to “Birthday 36. And counting.

  1. I didn’t know it’s your birthday—-so here’s to you on your day! (BTW–I think a lot of us struggle with everything you describe above. Some of us just don’t admit it.)

  2. Thanks, Alex! 🙂 This is why I love you.

  3. i’m with Alex. and you KNOW we all struggle with it, in the middle of every decade. did you feel some version of this at 26? if so, doesn’t that mean you’re growing? more questions, somewhat refined? more striving? or, you could be right–more circles. either way, you question and push, and when i say “we all struggle with it,” i think maybe that’s not true. you try, more than almost anyone i’ve known, to live authentically and intentionally. in this particular period of time, in our particular place, it’s unique. and it’s hard work.

  4. also, happy birthday, you bald beauty : )

  5. Enlighten me. How is The Sermon on the Mount resonate with the tenets of Buddhism?

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