Now we are 32
Today is my birthday, and I am thirty-two by all marks of modern time I choose to keep. I count things a lot, it’s partly the OCD, and partly the personal religion of nostalgia and growth, though that might be OCD too. It’s hard to tell, as I’ve never not had it.
One thing that I tend to count is years by date. I find it important for some reason. What was I doing last year and the year before on this very date. I didn’t realize how much I did this until Meagen looked at me like I was a savant. It was a loving look but it was still “yo that dude is a savant”. Nothing seems more important to me than what I or someone else might have been doing five or (good god) even ten years ago. The decade as a marker of personal progress is the god I choose to believe in.
And I was going to say, I don’t remember what I was doing at age twenty-two, that I must have had a birthday but no knowledge of the event exists. But that’s not true, I realized last night laying in bed, I know exactly where I was.
In 2006 I was twenty-two, newly rechristened in Christ Himself. I had just spent two years being on-and-off homeless. I was living in a town called Spring Hill with my friends Sakroka and Paxson of Ashgarden. We lived in a duplex that had been converted from a type of place the locals unfortunately referred to as a black church in the 30s. I had fallen out with my friends, a disturbing trend I wouldn’t buck for another decade, and driving nearly every other day to another called Green Hills, where my new friends had a big house I could sleep at whenever I liked. It was a house filled with women and each of them I cared about. We all had siblings and everyone spent every weekend together praying, laughing, trying to figure out flirting, and of course panicking. I slept on my friend Rachelle’s giant bean bag she kept in the living room. I woke up on my birthday with a card all my new friends had signed, an that night they asked me to move in with them.
Twenty-Two for me was a rough year of learning and readjusting to life. I went from penniless and homeless and without family to surrounded by people who would shower prophecies on me every time I turned a corner. I lost all of those friends too eventually, and had to pull my shit together to make amends with everyone. Out of all the groups of people I have known, the girls in that house have continued to care for me, even if most of us never see each other. My friends Michaela and Julia introduced me to my wife Meagen, and Julia’s little brother Joshua ended up making games with me. Our friend Carol became a nudist and we never hear from her. But good for her!
And I was going to say, when I decided to write this post, That I don’t remember my twelfth birthday either. But that’s not entirely true–I can at least place it. It would have been 1996, and we would have just been living in Tennessee for about half a year. And though I can’t say quite what we did to celebrate as a family I know we homeschooled, and were lucky enough to have kids in front and behind of our house that also did, so I’m sure we saw them. I was obsessed with Goosebumps books and Spider-Man comics. Ben Reilly with blonde hair and Disney Adventures magazine. I also really desperately wanted to buy Magic: The Gathering cards, but I was told they were evil.
And looking back, what I find interesting is this: The year I was twelve was just as much of a transitional year as when I turned twenty-two, as much as I feel thirty-two will be. Twelve is when I started middle school, when I bleached my hair, when I finally did start playing Magic: The gathering, when I made my own card games. It’s the year I entered seventh grade, and got the shit kicked out of me on more occasions than I can remember. These are years that held onto my life like anchors and leeches, and made me who I am more than any others.
What in god’s name will happen this year?