I have few good memories of my childhood, and of those, my birthdays seem to dominate most of them. It makes sense: December 20th rolled in right before Christmas break. Yes, I said Christmas break, because back then, nobody said, "Happy Holidays." You fucking said "Merry Christmas" or you didn't say anything at all. There weren't too many Jews or Muslims where I grew up.
Right around my birthday, school started slowing down. Instead of learning new material, we'd make decorations for our respective Christmas parties. Or maybe we'd go see a school play or watch It's a Wonderful Life. I would bring in some cupcakes on my birthday and we'd be set - coloring with crayons, using scissors, putting shit together with Elmer's glue, and eating chocolate cupcakes. It really didn't get any better for a school day.
My favorite part about my birthday was of course, getting what I wanted. My parents weren't the type to surprise me. They didn't ever talk to me to figure out my interests and then surprise me with "that thing I wanted." In my younger years, I erroneously viewed this as a good thing. See video below to see what I'm talking about.
I wish Old Spice dude was my dad.
Unfortunately, my father worked two jobs. Not because he had to, but because he didn't want to be home. My mother was too busy losing herself in her chores and religion. On the day of my birthday, my parents would drive me down to Toys-R-Us and I would simply point at what I fucking deserved for putting up with their toxic, abusive relationship, which my mother always told me she stayed in because she wanted "the best" for me. I wish she would've just grown a pair and told me a divorce would made her look bad because she married against her family's wishes.
At the time, I thought it was a pretty good deal. I do hereby agree to be kept up until 3:00 AM some nights listening to you two beat the pulp out of each other. For this, you buy me a brand new Nintendo 64 video game system with a copy of Goldeneye, the game that changed it all for first-person shooters. Note to self: should the opportunity present itself again, do not take this deal. No matter how good the game is.
So as I hit twenty-seven, I have to admit I'm a little scared because now, I'm officially in my late twenties. There are no more decorations to cut, no cupcakes to distribute, and most certainly no video games to drown the noise. There are adult expectations. I'm allowed to maintain my sense of humor, but my actions have to speak louder than my words. The problem is, there's a hungry rat scurrying around in my head, craving what I missed from growing up too fast. It's deeply regretting the responsibility that was thrown on me from such a young age. I'm constantly feeling like I've missed out in life and it's ruining the moment.
And so what if things had been different? I keep wondering, maybe then I wouldn't inadvertently hurt the most important people in my life. Tragically, I've become my own childhood hero without any of his powers, but all of his weaknesses (except Kryptonite of course). I go out of my way to help and accommodate others, but I am not close to any of them. This is incredibly wrong.
Ultimately, this post isn't really about getting old, it's about feeling extremely lucky that I am married to whom I am. I'm lucky that at twenty-seven, I have someone who knows me and is voluntarily willing to stay. She's willing to push me, put up with me and work with me to help me overcome the mental obstacles that could potentially poison everything. I think a small part of me will always want my youth back, but I wish I did a better job of showing her that life really is better with her presence in it.