49 Sentences About My 49th Birthday

by Jeff Oaks

1. It’s hard to celebrate a birthday for an age you don’t think you are.

2. I bought myself a box of chocolates and ate it all last night while rereading the middle part of The Hobbit.

3. Today it is raining in such a way that it’s hard to believe that it’s my birthday.

4. Yesterday, while turning left at a busy intersection, I almost hit a man I didn’t see until I was literally almost on him.

5. I think there was a complicated blindspot involving my left hand windshield and my new glasses.

6. I got to renew my driver’s license today, and I promised myself that part of my penance for yesterday would be to accept whatever photo the license person took.

7. I always use my birthday as a moment to evaluate where I am and what I have.

8. I always feel at some point during the day envious of other people who are better published or better positioned or better employed or better looking.

9. By the end, I’m always satisfied that I haven’t in fact wasted my life.

10. I try to make writing the biggest part of the day on my birthday.

11. I have two huge bags of folded laundry at home that need to be put away.

12. This is the first birthday that my mother can’t call me or send me a card.

13. I’m the kind of person who, knowing that 50 is coming up next year, will start thinking of myself as 50 this year just to get the weirdness of it out of the way early.

14. In preparation for the renewal of my license, I got my hair cut short and finally got new glasses.

15. It’s weird to think, now that I’ve mentioned it, that my mother is gone, and that she’s taken the body that made me, that birthed me, that read and fed me, away.

16. Major Tom to Ground Control anybody?

17. The coffeehouse is extremely busy today because of the drizzly rain that makes it impossible to feel comfortable in or out of it.

18. Jesus, why did I think 49 sentences out to be written just because it’s my 49th birthday?

19. I often jump into things before I think them out completely.

20. I also have to renew my passport this year, especially if I want to go somewhere special for my 50th birthday.

21. My brother just called me, but because I had my phone on vibrate and in my coat pocket, I didn’t hear it in time to answer.

22. I actually am made happy by the birthday greetings I receive on Facebook.

23. Thank you whoever you are.

24. At 49, I still don’t always remember when to use who and when to use whom, when to use lie, when lay.

25. I am currently writing an essay on the subject of, some might say the theme of, mistakes.

26. I am after all a 49 year old mistake.

27. I was conceived on September 9, 1963, which was my parents’ 13th anniversary.

28. They both admit they were drunk, and I believe they were both glad I came along.

29. My mother told me she thought she still had more love to give, but that was after she’d decided not to abort the pregnancy.

30. I felt a certain amount of guilt growing up, because I knew that she stayed with my father because she wanted me to have a father.

31. I want to clean the house today because that helps to alleviate a certain level of anxiety I feel rising.

32. What in fact would really change my life, I always ask myself on my birthday.

33. Yesterday, if I had hit that man, my life would have completely changed.

34. I practiced apologies for the next few hours, expected the police to call me, considered turning myself in in case it was reported.

35. When I looked in the rear view window, the man was already crossing the other street, not staring at me, not waving a fist at my recklessness, not even looking back at me.

36. I couldn’t have stopped to apologize without really tying up the awful traffic even more, or so I said to myself.

37. Nobody got hurt, my mother would have said, let it go.

38. All day long I drove around very carefully, letting other drivers in, not blocking intersections or driveways, stopping for yellow lights.

39. There were a few people who were clearly not happy that I was slowing them down.

40. I have boxes of my mother’s things that still need to be put away.

41. One at a time, she would have said, even though she herself would have put everything away at once, broken down the boxes, and cleaned the house afterward.

42. At the very least, I should put the folded clean clothes into the proper drawers.

43. Tonight I will bag up the bags of garbage out in the alley and leave them on the curb for the garbage men in the morning, so that tomorrow I will feel lighter, less anxious.

44. I don’t forgive my own mistakes very well, except in writing, when I invent strange forms in order to facilitate the creation of them.

45. I believe in the left hand turn as a concept, but when I’m in traffic I often curse the person trying to make one against heavy traffic.

46. I have a theory that life is like traffic more than anything else, with lucky lanes and abrupt stops and gos and limited control.

47. I’ve paid off my car because my mother died this year and left me enough money, for which I’m both sad and grateful.

48. I was born on a Saturday, which according to some book I read as a child, meant that I was immune to vampires, although I don’t remember why that should be so.

49. I have always been bad at making conclusions because there’s no accounting for everything that’s happened.