Thursday, January 2, 2014

New Years and Birthday Plans

A new year, a new pile of Facebook status updates with lists of resolutions and a corresponding pile of Facebook status updates ranting about the stupid futility of resolutions.

Eh, why the hate.  The end of the year feels like a time to reflect on the past, and the beginning of a new year feels like a time to look forward.  It's just human to think about what you want to do differently in the future.

In not quite three months I'll be 48 years old.

You know how everyone says that time passes so quickly now?  When we were children time passed so slowly, school years lasted forever and it seemed like waiting for things like Christmas or summer vacation was unbearable.  I heard that the reason for that is that as you get older each time period - a year between birthdays, for example - becomes an increasingly small percentage of your life.  At ten, the year between birthdays is one-tenth of your total life experience, but at nearly fifty it's a much smaller fraction.

My husband will be turning 40 in April of 2014.  The birthdays that end in zeros always feel like milestones, don't they?  We are going to do the thing he wants to do most in the world, which just happens to fall on his actual birthday: we will go to the Cinema Wasteland movie convention in Cleveland. Greg has already made a Facebook event to invite his friends from Canada and across the US, the people with whom he shares a virtual friendship based on a shared love of exploitation movies, even though he rarely gets to see them.  I'll have fun too, but this is all about Greg.

In March of 2016 I'll be turning 50.  Gads. That birthday feels like doom. Turning fifty means impending senior citizen discounts and menopause and... I don't know, bad things.  It means more than half my life is over, it means all my best years are behind me, it means Old Womanhood.

Yeah, I know, there are plenty of things to focus on other than menopause and senior discounts, and I can name a bunch of people (celebrities and not) who are over 50 and are clearly still young and awesome, but still.  FIFTY.  Yikes.

I have been saying for the past few years that turning fifty in Paris would be the thing to do, but now I am questioning that.  Greg really, really hates being away from home, and the four nights we spent in New Orleans might be as long as he can stand it.  I really don't enjoy torturing my sweetie pie, so even though that birthday will be all about me I'm not sure it's worth it.  So now I'm considering whether 3 or 4 nights in Paris would be worth spending the massive amount of money on round-trip plane tickets (plus the 14 round-trip hours on a plane).

I went to Paris in 1998 on a business trip.  A very short trip, I was only there for a couple of days and I didn't get to go to ANY museums.  I stayed in a hotel on the right bank near the Champs Elysees, I toured a half dozen other hotels and ate in their restaurants (I absolutely loved that part of my job), I saw Sacre Coeur and bought perfume in Printemps and had a Tequila Sunrise at the Zen Bar.  I went to the top of the Eiffel Tower and on a short cruise on the Seine.  It really felt magical to me.  I've had the good fortune to be able to travel a bit, I've been to a few of the major cities in America and to a couple of different countries, and though I've enjoyed them all I didn't feel the connection that I felt with Paris.  The city seemed like the physical, living embodiment of art itself.  It was so lovely, and I still tear up sometimes when I see photos of the rooftops.

It's such a cliché, I know.  Maybe I was imagining it, I was a lot younger and a fair amount stupider back then.

The thing is, I love to travel. I'd love to spend my birthday in New Orleans, or in New York, or Las Vegas, or in a cabin on a snowy mountainside, or on a beach in Aruba, or on a cruise.  All of those would be much cheaper and much easier.

I don't know.  I still have time to think about it.  I guess right now I'll focus on Greg turning 40 in the midst of cult movie stars and exploitation movie fans and horror movie directors.