Wednesday, December 1, 2010


Twenty-seven years ago today, my parents were the exhausted and probably terrified guardians of their first child - me! Hello! I was born in Toronto's East End, on a day that was probably much like yesterday: a little dismal, a little rainy. Late November isn't a great time for inspiring weather. It's not like spring, which has its organic fireworks display of fresh foliage and blue skies bursting forth. My parents had to settle for a new kid bursting forth, a process I'd imagine was a lot less picturesque.

But burst forth I did, and twenty-seven years later, I've turned into a passable main character in a pretty decent book. I have a fantastic family with supportive, funny parents. I have smart, thoughtful siblings. I lucked into a fantastic group of friends, most of whom called me on my birthday to wish me feliz cumpleanos, and I got especially lucky with my female friends (not in that way, pervs), because I have a seriously excellent coven of lady-pals. Sure, my chapter on employment is a little skinny, and I'm still neurotic and weird about any number of things (spiders, food, fears of looking stupid on the subway platform), but I think I've turned into a decent adult.

I'm actually pretty excited about getting older. I feel more comfortable in my skin (which, I know, is something women in their forties who just discovered the joys of, like, colonics and talk therapy usually gush about), both in the hey-this-body-is-pretty-nice sort of skin, and also more comfortable in my priorities. The jobs I'm looking for suit me, instead of just desperately grabbing at the first gig that makes me some paper. The men I spend time with are solid, decent guys who make me laugh. I've learned how to say, "Hey, you hurt my feelings" and "I don't agree with you" in ways that aren't tantrum-y. I brush my hair less. I spend less time obsessively thinking about how much I weigh. I spend more time thinking about friends, family, co-op, how to be a real live writer, bikes, and delicious food and snack ideas. I'm happier.

In the same way that January 1 is a magnet for stringent, punitive resolutions ("I'm going to lost one-third of my body weight, never drink beer again, and be nicer to the siblings I haven't gotten along with since birth"), and early September usually inspires dreamy attempts at new projects ("I'm going to renovate the kitchen and finally get around to writing that novella about man-eating duvets"), birthdays tend to inspire a similar stock-taking of one's life. Remember elementary school? The difference between seven and eight seems massive, and the trip into double-digits at ten, or official teenager-hood at thirteen, is mind-blowing. The new age, scrubbed clean of your fuck-ups of the past year, represents new promise. As a twenty-six-year-old, I was kind of a screw-up. I broke myself down: I quit binge-drinking, got help for an eating disorder, had panic attacks, and got some surgery.

My twenty-seven-year-old self knows better. This year could be a year of rebuilding after the flood. I'm looking forward to the kind of milestones my late twenties will bring: travel and fulfilling work, friends getting married, new businesses being launched, maybe falling in love, definitely showing off as much cleavage as I can. I mean, as much as I like getting older and all, I'm no Helen Mirren, and breasts are definitely one of those things that are better when we're younger. Everything else? We'll see.

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