37th birthday

It always rains on my birthday. There might be some sun during the day, but my birthdays have mainly always been a day of rain. The noisy pitter-patter of precipitation signifies nothing, and I know it. The rain cannot be explained by anything other than the scientific one — the sun warms the ocean and later on delivers pieces of ocean to the land. There is no god of weather with an agenda to make June 23 wet and cloudy every year. I know this because with age comes scientific knowledge. Ernest Hemingway once saw himself dead in the rain. I, on the other hand, can only see myself wet in it.

I’ve had wonderful rainy birthdays in my 20s. There was that one surprise party on my 27th or 28th birthday. It was raining, the kind that destroys plans of being able to reach one’s home, and yet many guests were still able to come. Hard to believe that there was a time when, if you live in Metro Manila and it was raining, you could still go wherever you needed to go, including your home. I don’t think people who live in Manila are still able to go to their friend’s 27th or 28th birthday when it is raining. Perhaps if they’re going to a 40th or a 50thbirthday celebration, they will try harder and it will be a party. 

Turning 37 isn’t a milestone birthday like turning 40 or 50. No one cares about anyone’s 37th birthday — as they shouldn’t! To have the audacity to stay alive at 37 years old is just rude.

My 37th birthday happens to be the second birthday that I celebrate in my 30s that I am single. The first time was when I turned 30. Me and Allan had dinner at Tadaima, a perfectly decent Japanese restaurant in Gateway Mall. I was still struggling with work and visa stuff. I remember thinking, “I am entering my 30s unremarkably.” That was not some unbearably sad event; in the first place, turning 30 didn’t feel any more momentous than turning 21. I remember thinking that the best 30s birthdays are still to come — perhaps turning 31 will be a party. I remember thinking the future held great promise and that when I finally find a job, I can pay for a birthday dinner for two… in cash! I didn’t know yet that no birthdays celebrated in my 30s will come close to the joyousness of the 20s birthdays, especially since my 30s will always be spent in this foreign land where I have way fewer friends. I’ve learned to accept that there won’t be any more “epic” bashes, and therefore no more reason to use the words “epic” and “bash”. You turn a year older, appreciate the miracle of a still-functioning spine, and love the treats and gifts you are given especially the ones you give yourself. Still, I’d have good birthdays in my 30s, receive certain gifts that my heart desired, and more importantly, not experience the burden of having to treat other people on my birthday. Feeding other people on your birthday is a cruel tradition that needs to stop immediately. 

At 37, it gives me pleasure to tell complete strangers who ask my age that I am 37. It is just as pleasurable as telling people I was 36 when I was 36. I don’t tell people to guess. I have been in several guess-my-age scenarios many times, and can confirm that it is only fun if the person who’s doing the guessing incorrectly guesses that a person is much older than he/she is. There are other ways to be nice and polite, and fake-guessing someone’s age to flatter them for how young they look for their age is… not that fun. If you ask me to guess your age (in rare instances when I ask people how old they are), the first number I would say would be 40 especially if you look like you’re in your early 30s.