On My 38th Birthday

Posted: January 12, 2010 in Poetry

Hoo-boy. This is the first of these posts that will get a little personal. It won’t be the last.

CONTEXT: March, 2006

March happens to also be the month in which I was born. Back in 2006, I had started writing, but I certainly didn’t see myself as a poet yet. I had gone to a few shows, maybe read a couple of times at Dusty Owl, but that’s about it.

March 22, 2006 was my 38th birthday. I moped all day at work, not really knowing why. Ruthanne picked me up after work and she asked how my day was.

I burst into tears.

Yeah, not exactly the most swaggeriffic, manly thing to do, eh?

I had never had a problem with getting older. Ever. To me, age was just a number, but as I sat there, looking at my life and seeing how little I had accomplished and how little I saw that changing in the future… it was too much.

Jump forward one year to March 22, 2007. I was standing on the stage at the Black Sheep Inn, surrounded by my friends and peers, performing poetry that I had created. (2008 & 2009 were spent surrounded by fans of L5R, the game I write for. 2010 is scheduled to be a Capital Slam. Yeah, things have changed.)

The way I felt on that birthday in 2006 seems so far away that I can barely remember it.

I am SO grateful.

This poem was actually written the day after my birthday, if I remember correctly. I wrote it as a method of shaking off the negative feelings I was having. Still in my ‘rhyming phase’, but it has a style of ending that I have used quite often since then.

I am pretty sure I have never shared this before.

    On My 38th Birthday

Today I got a birthday present
A magic TV through which time is bent
So I can see myself on this day in any year
I can be an historian or a seer
To remember where I was or where I am going
To follow the tides of time that are flowing
Around us all, within them we float
I thought no more and grabbed the remote

I set the box to seventy-six
I saw our old house out in the sticks
Where houses now surround on every side
No more trees and hills where we used to slide
When there was snow on that rare year
When winter treated us like it does out here

I was eight years old
I didn’t know what was ahead. I was told
To be ‘good’. For no specific reason
I didn’t know the passing seasons
Would bring me rewards or pains
Or that they would be one and the same

I flipped ten years forward until
I was graduating high school with still
No idea what to do with my life
I knew I would go to college but I was rife
With doubts and fears and questions
I was to go, but no one mentioned
What I was going there for.
But high school showed me the door
So it was college or the ‘real world’
I knew which way that flag was furled

I pushed the buttons on the machine
Until I saw 28, ten years between
That day and this
It had been three years since I sealed with a kiss
A new vow, a new life, with my dear Ruthanne
I was back in school, last time ended as it began
This time education was opening doors
Instead of stalling like it did before

I turned the channel until I was thirty-eight
And saw myself standing in front of a screen… wait!
That is now I am seeing as I look
Into the past at the actions I took
That led me to today
I looked at the remote that would let me say
I know what is to come
I only need to push forward choosing some
Year from the future to take away uncertainty and doubt
Take away questions that wonder about
Where I will end up after all my choices
Have been made. And all the questioning voices
Are silenced. No more wondering who I’d be?

I broke the remote and smashed the TV.

  1. nadinethornhill says:

    Thank you for sharing both the poem and the story that inspired it. Thank you also for inspiring me. You remind me that it’s never too late to become the person you want to be.

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