Happy birthday to me

In 30 minutes, it will have been exactly thirty-two years since I was born. Thirty-two has always seemed like an important age to me, probably because that’s how old my mom was when she had me.

(Oops—looks like I just told my mom’s age to a couple hundred thousand Migraine.com visitors. Sorry, Ma.

When I was in high school, my friend L. and I had seemingly incurable crushes on our not-yet-out-of-the-closet gay best friends. A Ouija board once told us that in 2008 I would marry my [gay] BFF, so for several months—an eternity in teenage life— I would think about how in the distant future, when I was 28 years old, I’d find love at last with my crush. Twenty-eight was my mom’s age when she had my older sister, so that seemed like an important milestone to me as well.

Turning 30 didn’t phase me. In fact, when I was 29 and people asked how old I was, I would often reply with, “I’m thirty,” before realizing I was prematurely aging myself. It’s funny: only in the last couple of months as I neared age 32 have I started noticing wrinkles around my eyes. My facial skin, which has been plagued with acne far worse in my imagination than in reality, is starting to scar a little bit. My teeth, once straightened to near-perfection by years of braces, are shifting in my mouth. It’s strange to see oneself age, and a little off-putting. If you are older than I, please don’t groan and say, “Oh, Janet, please! You’re young!” I know I’m young. I’m happy to be my age. I’m happy to be living the life I’m living.

With rare exception, migraine disease is not a fatal illness, but it does take away days out of your life. Rather than cutting off the end of your life by months or years as a terminal illness might, migraine sneaks in and takes entire hours, days, weeks, or months out of your life no matter your age. It steals a few days from your senior year of high school here, removes you from having fun at your cousin’s wedding here, grabs you and kidnaps you for entire swaths of your college career. I’d like to imagine that those days I’ve missed due to migraine attacks are ones that don’t count in my aging, that I’m saving those days up in a bank and will be able to add them back to the end of my life.

So maybe I’m not turning 32 at all. When you consider all the days I’ve lost to migraine, maybe I’m actually just on the brink of 30.

In any case, it’s a beautiful day, I’m forcing myself to take the day off work from the bookshop, and it’s time for me to sit outside and relax a bit.

Happy birthday to me.

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