Posted by: GeekHiker | August 7, 2008

35: WTF?

(This is the closest I’ll ever get to Twitter. ‘Cuz, really, my life isn’t that interesting on a daily basis.

I’m backposting this running string of thoughts back to the day I actually typed it. So, climb into your way-back machine and place yourself, mind & thought all the way back to… well, all the way back to Thursday, August 7th…)

My first thought on waking up this morning was “35? WTF? When did that happen?” No joke.

So, at 4:32 this afternoon, I’ll turn 35 years of age. Most likely I’ll be somewhere in traffic after work today, which somehow seems appropriately mundane.

I haven’t been posting much in the way of personal stuff of late, mainly because I’ve been battling a minor depression for the last couple of weeks, the cause of which I still have yet to root out. Whatever it is, it’s no doubt the cause of the eyelid twitch, which still hasn’t gone away.

(Although, to be frank, given the way my stress level shoots up whenever it happens, the eyelid twitch has become a stressor all of its own. Especially when it happens while I’m driving. Oy.)

This seems to have been the course of things for the last couple of years: I get a little down for the time leading up to my birthday, then the actual day comes around, and I feel okay. I don’t totally understand it, but describing it last night to The Best Friend, she commented “oh, yeah, I know exactly what you mean… same thing happens to me.”

Maybe it’s just a reflective feeling, that I haven’t accomplished all that I’ve hoped to in life by this point. Or a bit of isolation. It’s weird, but before my birthday, I’m a bit down that there are no plans: no BBQ’s, no trips to DisneyLand (who doesn’t want to go on their birthday at some point?), no romantic trips for two, etc. Then the day actually comes, and I strangely don’t care.

Of course, nothing guarantees that those things will happen, not even being in a relationship. The Ex Girlfriend notoriously couldn’t remember my birthday. The last year we were together, the fifth birthday of mine in that time, she thought it was on the wrong day.

On my actual birthday she had signed up for a work seminar.

* * *

One thing I do know is that, apparently, I am shrinking at a rapid rate.

When I was in my late twenties, I was measured out at a shade under 5’10” (barefoot). When I started at the gym last year, I was 5’9 ½” (barefoot). At a doctors appointment last week, I was measured at 5’9″, then the nurse, seeing as I was wearing tennis shoes, knocks off a full inch and proclaims that I’m 5’8″.

At this rate, I should be down to 5′ even by the time I’m 40.

I hope personality really does sell, because any woman looking for a tall guy sure as hell isn’t going to be looking in my direction when I can’t see over the bar…

* * *

Food for thought on getting older: do people in their eighties look at people in their seventies and think that they’re “young and ignorant” the way people in their thirties look at people in their early twenties and often do?

* * *

The real core of what’s getting me down is that I feel old. Note, I didn’t say that I was old, only that I feel it. Big difference between the two.

At the moment, that’s driven almost entirely by my knee, the one which I developed a pain in out on Santa Cruz. Since it had been feeling better after two weeks of rest, I went out hiking last weekend.

It was a fantastically beautiful hike, probably one of the best in a few months. Unfortunately, on the final stretch back down to the trailhead, the knee pain returned, just as bad as before.

Yes, for you mothers and mothers-in-training out there, I do have a doctors appointment for tomorrow. The point is that I’m currently hobbling around like an old man, which makes me feel like an old man.

(UPDATE: Appointment with ortho is set for next Wednesday. Cross your fingers for me.)

So, yeah, it makes me feel like I’m getting older. Or, more accurately, makes me feel older than I am, or at least older than I think I should feel for being a mere 35.

The worst part? In order to rest the knee, I won’t be going out hiking or biking this weekend.

And those are the things I do that make me feel young.

* * *

It just occurred to me: next year my birthday falls on a Friday, making for a three day weekend. Maybe I should make plans now. Anybody wanna go camping in 2009? 😉

* * *

Last week, I’d pretty much decided I was going to cancel the online dating account. Why? Three reasons:

  1. No one’s been responding to the e-mails I’ve been sending out
  2. The only responses to my profile have been spam
  3. To be frank, I haven’t sent out that many e-mails of late because I haven’t been seeing anyone who interested me.

So doesn’t it just figure that someone posts a profile that intrigues the hell out of me? The big key? She had me laughing (yes, ladies, guys like a sense of humor too). Of course, she’s only twenty-nine, so I hope she wouldn’t see me as a mid-thirties-crisis guy.

So I’ll write her this afternoon. What the hell, as we all know, she probably won’t respond.

* * *

My day was almost ruined in the parking garage after work. I pulled out of my spot and, out of the corner of my eye, saw a black Porsche pull in on the entrance ramp. Some little bell went off in the back of my head, and I took my foot off the gas. Sure enough, Mr. In-A-Hurry-(Because-I’m-Probably-Compensating-For-Something) came tearing around the corner, on the outside, at a high rate of speed.

If I’d been 20 feet further forward, he would’a slammed into me.

It’s not often my instincts work that well. Must’a been a little birthday gift from the universe.

* * *

Stopping at a bookstore after work, I went into the restroom. Standing at the urinal, I perused the various graffiti on the wall. Various bits of “eww”, “ugh”, and “ick”, as per usual.

Then I caught sight of the most sublime piece of restroom graffiti I have ever seen. I actually laughed out loud standing right there. Written in downright ebullient handwriting:

“I have a pen!”

* * *

Most people at work don’t know it’s my birthday, and that’s fine by me. I hate it when people who give me crap all year turn around, issue a fake “happy birthday” and offer to take me out to lunch. Or, more accurately, use me as an excuse to go out to lunch and then get one of those awful sheet cakes at Ralphs.

Maybe I’m just selfish, but dammit, I’d rather have no one wishing me happy birthday than people shoving false platitudes in my face…

* * *

Still, not all is bad, and I won’t end this birthday post on a sour note. I happened to be talking with a fellow employee at work the other day, someone who’s been there a couple of years but we’d never really conversed before. We were both working late, and got to chatting. Turns out she’s a bona-fide geek, albeit of a slightly different stripe (she’s a comic-book geek).

Nevertheless, in the course of a couple of hours of chatting about all sorts of things (her current relationship, our pasts, various geek stuff, politics, etc.), we decided to see “Journey to the Center of the Earth” tonight. It was actually decided before she knew it was my birthday and, upon finding that out, she insisted on paying for my ticket and treating me to a slice of pie afterwards.

Whether or not she becomes an acquaintance or morphs into a friend doesn’t really matter at this point. It’s not something I’m thinking about.

It was just nice to have a fun night out on my birthday.

* * *

(Just as a side note to the above, if anyone still wants to take me to Hawaii to celebrate a belated birthday, I’m not opposed to that either. 😉 )

* * *


Didn’t see that coming.

The twenty-nine-year-old?

She replied.

* * *

Still, I can’t deny that time is marching on.

How do I know this?

Philosophically: because I don’t want many things for my birthday (though the wonderful Parentage may buy me a new backpacking tent, which is most kind of them); I’m finding “things” less important than activities and interpersonal relationships.

Practically: I put in an order for this on Amazon yesterday. But just for the nose, mind you.




  1. HAPPY BIRTHDAY!!!!!!!!!

    Glad you got a night out, and as soon as I’m able to use my credit card again, I’ll take you to Hawaii. Considering I’m a poor grad student that will be a long, long time…

  2. Happy Birthday!!

    We should all get together for your birthday next year. That would be so much fun! And we’ll spring for a cake from some fancy schmancy place and not yucky Ralphs.

    This was a great post by the way — all the ups and downs. I love reading your blog.

    Your ex sounds like a bitch, your co-workers are self-absorbed jerks, the Porche driver is an ass but the new chick sounds interesting (although you both have questionable taste in movies – ha, ha) and YOU, YOU my single but awesome GeekHiker are dear to me.

    Happy Birthday. Hugs and kisses.

  3. Oh my, HAPPY BIRTHDAY!!!!!!! 😀 Gosh, I hope you had the best time! And that’s not a fake birthday wish, I don’t bother giving out fake birthday wishes ya know. 😉

    I need more time to comment on the whole post, cause I loved it (but I have to sleep now or else I won’t wake up early enough tomorrow), so I’ll come back tomorrow.

    Lots of blessings your way &very happy 35 Hiker! 🙂

  4. Happy Birthday GH! I have to agree with Dingo, this was a fantastic post.

    Wow, I thought I was the only one who got depressed a week or two before my birthday.

    I’m just a few years older than you and I totally have to agree when you said, “…because I don’t want many things for my birthday…I’m finding “things” less important than activities and interpersonal relationships.” For me I noticed in my mid-thirties that there was a switch in how I viewed things and what I wanted in and from life (not just at birthday time, but with many things).

    And hey, you’ll be out hiking soon enough. Hang in there.

  5. 35. ahhhh …to be young again. Happy Birthday GH and don’t grow up too fast.

  6. Hope you were able to enjoy your day without the fakiness of the co-workers (I’m the same way, asked for no card, no cake, no fuss on my last day of work, no need for a bunch of people – who were the actual reason I was leaving – to get a good meal or some cake out of it).

    Love that you connected with a colleague, regardless of where it goes, its just nice to have someone at work who you enjoy.

    She wrote back….do tell!

    Why don’t you try some swimming, I think its easier on the joints and can still keep you in shape?

  7. Birthday smirthday.

    I want the girl dish!

  8. I’m glad you had a good evening on your birthday. Some of the best times are the ones that happen randomly and movie and pie sounds great to me.

    I may not be able to take you to Hawaii, but I will certainly go with you to Hawaii. Lots of good kayaking there. Also a boy I like, but that’s beside the point. *grins* You should totally plan a trip to Hawaii for your next birthday.

    I’m excited your 29 y.o. wrote back! I can’t wait to hear about it!

    Oh, and btw, you like Garfield minus Garfield?!? Seriously I’m pretty sure we’re the same person.

  9. Huh. I expect my 35th birthday to be emotional. I’m satisfied with my life’s accomplishments thus far, but I do want to have children one day. Even now at 33, I feel worried I’m missing my opportunity. At 35… I expect that will be the age I really freak. March 18, 2010– watch out, world! Tears may be shed!

    BUT– speaking of birthdays… My birthday tends to fall during the opening week of March Madness. So with my primary social group (who are sports fans), I didn’t really have a birthday– basketball was the priority.

    But you know what? I started doing “The Birthday Hike”. I would wake up early on my birthday and try to do something in the 10 – 13 mile range. It would be just me and the dogs. It’s empowering and peaceful and invigorating.

    Even this past year– all signs pointed that I would have a suboptimal birthday. I was turning 33. I was heading towards divorce with my husband (bringing up the “Will I ever have children” angle). And my friend Ann and her two children had just moved to Ohio the week before. It totally had the makings for a bad birthday.

    But I woke up at 5:30 AM, went to beautiful Sinking Creek Mountain on the Appalachian Trail and hiked about 11 miles with my dog. I never saw another human being.

    Being out there you have no choice but to feel at peace. Being at the top, you have no choice but appreciate the beauty of this world and feel thankful for another year. And when you get back to the car after a successful journey, you have no choice but realize you did something with you day and feel accomplished.

    Huh. That said, maybe I should start planning my 35th birthday hike now. It best be a good one, eh? 🙂

    Anyway– I do wish you a happy belated birthday! And I could be down for some camping in 2009!

    P.S. Love that graffiti about having a pen.

    P.S.S. Did you ever watch Kids in the Hall?

  10. I’m doing an email instead :o)

  11. Happy Belated Birthday, GH! You have become a dear friend to all of us and we all care about you! ((hugs))

  12. Happy Happy Birthday, GH!
    (not all cheeriness is false)

    Thanks for sharing yet again – it’s a generous soul that is able to give when it’s their due to receive.

  13. I can’t believe your ex couldn’t figure out a way to remember your birthday–that is a shame.

    I share your melancholy about each year in my 30s passing, and I think it is like you said: there are things that I hoped I’d have accomplished by this point in life. The challenge is to use those feelings as motivation instead of something that drags us down.

    Yay for your birthday night ending up being fun with good company, and here’s hoping that you meet up with the 29 year old and she’s as delightful in person as you found her profile.

  14. Darn it! I feel terrible I didn’t send you a singing telegram and a giant box of trail mix on the 7th!!! I tried to find your bday post from last year awhile ago, but had no luck.

    There’s too much to respond to in this post, so I will write you an email when I have a sec here at work.

    Oh, and keep in mind, 35 is the new 15. You’re a spring chicken!

  15. On shrinking:
    Women will be glad to have somewhere to put their drinks other than a sticky bar. You just found a thing that makes you stand out from all other guys. Congrats!

    On fakey coworker birthdays and nasty sheet cakes:

    On old-people knees:
    Apparently it’s contagious, as mine has gone out, too. Thank goodness the Olympics has made swimming cool again so you won’t be the oldest person in the pool.

    On birthday in Hawaii:
    Seriously count my ass in. Except for the camping part, it sounds awesome. I will wait for y’all in the hotel.

    On dating:
    Dripping your pen in company ink is risky, no?

  16. Lol, concerning the 29 year old: I would have used “ouch” instead of huh:). Guess you own sense of humor wasn’t far off either.

    Anyway, I’m late but a happy birthday too!

  17. A giant, blanket THANK YOU to everyone!

    Lea – Heh, I’ll remember that Hawaii promise, ya know… 😉

    Dingo – Hmmm… perhaps I should start looking into reservations now… LOL to everything else, I appreciate it.

    Narami – I’m so glad you enjoyed the post.

    LY – Apparently it’s quite common. Glad to know my philosophy is common as well…

    Homer-Dog – Heh. I’m trying not to, believe me!

    BackPackerMomma – Yeah, it all just seems silly at work doesn’t it? I would try swimming for sure, if only my gym had a pool…

    Just A Girl – *snicker*

    Rachel – It was a nice, quiet way to spend the b-day. You’re welcome to come on the Hawaii trip (will you be posting about this boy you like?). LOL, G-G is a fantastic site (although a little to close to home sometimes).

    Vicky – I like the birthday hike idea, I may have to try it some year. Don’t worry too much about 35, you’ll be fine. I only saw a few episodes of KitH, unfortunately.

    Narmi – And I have replied.

    Dobegil – Dear friend? *blush*

    Marie – Too kind. Heh, I usually think of it as “catharsis” rather than “sharing”! LOL

    Hadley – *shrug* it happens. I’m trying to find motivation, believe me.

    Mel Heth – LOL, it’s okay. Next year you can help me plan a party, m’kay? I looked at my knees and told them they were only 15. They still hurt.

    TheCoconutDiaries – Great, something to look forward to, being a drink stand. As for Hawaii – how about a luxury cabin somewhere? On the dating: two separate girls: the one at work is just a friend.

    Gany – LOL, but she did write back. 🙂

  18. i missed your birthday post! argh.
    i love how you said you were going to cancel your online dating account because no one was responding to your emails.. but you’re not sending out too many emails. 🙂
    and just so you know.. i do not think 35 is old!! i’ll let you know when you turn 50..

  19. Awwww helllll, I totally missed this post AND the opportunity to wish you happy birthday ON your actual birthday.

    Happy Birthday!!

    So. You’re 5’8″…that means you’re taller than my 5’4″?? Between that, and the fact that you laugh at ridiculous grafitti, you’re sounding like quite the catch. 😉

  20. Kristen – No problem! Yeah, I suppose it is a bit contradictory, isn’t it? I’m glad you don’t think I’m old! 🙂

    Ms. H – It’s okay, really, I appreciate the sentiment no matter what. Well, I was measured again and apparently I am 5’9″, so yea for that! *blush* Thanks.

  21. Okay so this is late and it’s going to be long so you will just have to accept it.

    1. I was thinking of you today (and I mean that in the non-creepy way). I remembered you were a Leo and was wondering if I missed your birthday while I was on holidays (I did. Obviously). Anyway, I’m sorry that you missed it and hope that it was fun.

    2. The way you feel about your birthday is similar to how I feel about mine. I used to be PUMPED for my birthday but this year… I don’t know. It just makes me sad. I have 9 days to get over it and be shocked with happiness when I unwrap the bike I’ve told everyone I wanted. (it’s pink! with a basket! And yes, I don’t care how this makes me sound, it’s a cool bike)

    3. If you are 5″ when you are 40, I will be only 2 inches taller than you. That’s if I don’t shrink AT ALL. So take comfort in that.

    4. I would volunteer to come camping but I’m scared I would ruin your trip. I would (naturally) run into a pack full of bat crazy chicks who would ruin the whole thing by constantly talking about their favorite lip gloss or which celebrity was hotter. And then I would have to kick them (I have a lot of aggression lately) and you would have to stop camping and bail me out of jail, and it would just be awkward.

  22. Brandy – LOL – no problem. 1. I never complain about a cool girl thinking about me. 2. I fully expect you to post a picture of said bike. 3. I do, though you should probably know The Ex was 5′ even, so you’re tall by comparison! 4. But think of the stories we’d get out of it, and it’s all about the stories!

  23. ack! happy very belated birthday!! sorry i missed it 😦

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