Wednesday, August 23, 2006

25 and 33, and other things.

On August 12, I turned 33 years. Also on August 12, IBM 5150 PC -- generally considered to be the first personal computer -- turned 25 years old.

I'm trying to remember if I knew this, but near as I can, tell it comes as a surprise that I would share a birthday with the personal computer. Eerie.

That little piece of trivia is about the only good thing to come out of my birthday this year. Which, for the most part, is fine by me. Birthdays have sort of lost their shine over the last few years. I can remember, seven years ago or so, while I was still at the Tribune, sneaking around after hours so I could scribble my birthday in everyone's daytimer, just to make sure no one would forget. I couldn't be bothered to do that anymore. Too much work. And for what? So what if their daytimer screams a reminder at them about my birthday, most people would either ignore it or offer a half-hearted, unfelt birthday wish. I'd rather they just not say anything at all.

Had to renew my licence on my birthday as well. Renewed for five years, at a not-so-economic $75. Which I guess is okay for five years, but having to drop that much at once, while I was on vacation, stung a little.

It also stun to realize that the next time I renew my licence, I'll be 38 years old, staring down the barrel of 40.

Holy fuck, let's not talk about that.

I've been in a horrible funk lately, and I kind of hope that the whole "vacant-birthday-getting-old-almost-40" thing is the cause of it. Because if it is, it should be passing soon, and it couldn't pass soon enough for me. Why it hasn't passed already, actually, with progress on the new novel going so well, I can't figure out. Usually I'm at my emotional lowest when I'm *not* working on a project. Usually having a short story or a novel on the burner is enought o keep me uplifted. Not so this time.

I do feel pretty good when I'm actually working on the book. For the few hours each night that I'm staring at the screen and pumping out the words, everything else goes away, and I am energized and enthused. But then when it's done and I shut the document down, I look around and I think, "What am I doing this for?" And not the book, but everything else. Everything that feels like it's just killing time, everything that feels like it's not building towards a legacy I can be proud of, everything that makes me think that, unless I can fix it, bring meaning to it, make it worth something, then I'm just wasting perfectly good oxygen here.

I don't want to say that I'm a wreck, because I'm not. I'll live. I always do. Until I don't. But I'm definitely off, and in a funk, and in need of something to reinvigorate my interest in the world around me, something to convince me that I'm doing something good by being here. Or, better yet, in need of something to emerge on the horizon that can help me throw off everything around me that's dragging me down, so that I can embrace the things that really matter to me more than anything else in the world.

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