….and I am not at all happy about this. I don’t care much about getting older as long as I can afford Botox and hair colour—-it is not so much the visible signs of aging that get to me but more that I am not able to live out a birthday ritual that I have had going since I was 10 years old. Every year on my birthday I buy a legal pad and I write a list of what I have accomplished that year:
1. Kissed a boy
2. Got an A in Spanish
3. I collected all flavors of Bonnie Bell Lip Balm
4. Finished third year of dance class at Karen Ketterer School of Ballet
5. Have new BBF
6. Got the chicken pox on purpose
7. I went to a shrink for the first time and I hate her and she is stupid and she just doesn’t get it.
As I got older the lists got more impressive:
1. Got into college
2. Failed algebra
3. Learned 50% of words in Taber’s Medical Dictionary
4. Got a job working for a pediatric neurologist
5. Broke up with shit for brains boyfriend
6. Wrote a short story
Once I review everything I accomplished the previous year then I at exactly 9:20 a.m. pacific time( the time of my birth) I sit on a bench at Palos Verdes beach and plan what my life will be in the next 365 days. Every year I have done this ritual I have sincerely and earnestly believed that I could make the next year would be whatever I wanted it to be if I worked hard enough at making it happen. I still have the notebook I wrote out in 2001 and almost everything I wrote out as goals for the year came true. I did get into grad school. I did get only A’s. I did get a fantastic internship where I loved working there and they love me working there” ( an exact quote from the 2001 birthday notebook). I did read all assigned reading and everything on the suggests reading list. I did walk a half marathon and I did have one of the happiest years of my life.
Well, tomorrow I should drive out to the beach at Palos Verdes and write out the f’n list of everything I accomplished this year but just the idea of that makes me feel like I need a Peptobismo cocktail. What did I accomplish this year? Pardon me, I need another shot of Pepto with a Tums chaser.
Okay, this year I:
1. I survived Austin
2. I survived Inkey dying
3. I survived being hit on by a family member
4. I went on Vitamin W
5. I lost many friends that I no longer have a single thing in common with because: 1) I am not and never will be a mother and b) I will no longer give away my work for free to them and hence I am down 6 friends this year. Woo-hooo! What an accomplishment.
6. I made a lot of lovely blogger friends who don’t seem to care if I am not a mother and that I won’t practice my craft on them for free and I feel lucky to have real friends that I have real things in common with, so that is good.
7. I am in therapy with Igor.
8. I wrote a crappy non-fiction book and had it rejected
9. I wrote 24 pages of a crap fiction book.
11. I survived moving to Valencia
12. I completely lost my faith and hope in any kind of benevolent force
13. I got my Prius
14. And, most importantly, I got Lily and have learned to train her
That’s it. That is what this year was and now it is over.
But for the next year I can come up with nothing to put on the list, there is nothing that I care if it happens or not. Yeah, we are going to Paris but I don’t really care( I know that is shocking) and yeah I am writing the crap novel and I don’t really care about it either. I think all the hope, desire and expectation I have had in last years has been crushed by disappointment, loss, trauma and harsh reality and so I just don’t dare to fully invest in a desire.
Yeah, I would like stuff for my birthday. Here is a list for you last minute shoppers:
1. I would like to have hope.
2. I would like to believe that someday we will move out of L.A. and find a real home.
3. I would like to lose 20 pounds without any effort or sacrifice on my part.
4. I would like a Canon Digital Rebel XSi 12.2 MP Digital SLR Camera with EF-S 18-55mm f/3.5-5.6 IS Lens (Black).
5. I would like to trade in depression, anxiety and despair for boredom, fatigue and indifference.
6. A really good chocolate cake.
7. A cave with comfortable interiors and an inability to give or receive telephone calls from.
8. My student loans paid off in full.
I might get the cake, everything else is more of a dream. I can’t write anything on the yellow legal pad that I don’t believe can happen. I just can’t. It would be breaking the rules. But cake will make it to the legal pad.