Birthday 2004

In completely unrelated news, Wednesday is my birthday. Not surprisingly, birthdays leave me feeling reflective, and it was for me interesting to go back and look at where I was last year at this time. Unlike last year, I haven’t really been thinking about my birthday (in fact, I almost forgot the exact day). I’ve been way too busy with conferences, articles, grading, and end-of-the-semester parties. But blogs have the strange effect of formalizing the process of reflection, at least for me.

Jenny discusses this sense of reflection in a post from several months ago in which she discusses “the state of being almost-30” (inspired by Clancy’s post on the same topic). I’m a little older than “almost-30,” but their observation that they aren’t the person they imagined they would be at that age resonates with me. I never would have imagined that my life would still feel this unsettled, that I’d be single at 34, that I’d be a college professor teaching film studies and freshman composition. But there’s something incredibly satisfying about that (at least for me). I’ve become a much different person than I ever would have expected, but I much prefer the life I have than the one I’d planned for myself. To some extent, this satisfaction might entail a rejection of the person I could have become, the other possible lives I could have led.

I’m on the job market this year, and the fact that I could be living in a completely different place is pretty exciting to me. Even though I sometimes worry about where I’ll be next year and whether I’ll finally be able to make a serious dent in my credit card debt or finally be able buy a car built in the last decade, on another level, I realize that my future is very much open, and that’s pretty exciting to me right now.

14 Comments »

  1. Caleb Said,

    December 8, 2004 @ 12:19 am

    Thanks for your comment about the excitement of having an open future. That is a really helpful way of looking at things. Those of us who are still on the student side of a university position wish like nothing else for a job, while it seems like many of those who have a job wish like nothing else they were back at the beginning, in our shoes.

  2. Caleb Said,

    December 8, 2004 @ 12:19 am

    And oh (how rude of me) … Happy Birthday!

  3. Scrivener Said,

    December 8, 2004 @ 12:30 am

    Hey, Happy Birthday!

    I don’t have a birthday coming up or anything, but I’ve been thinking a bit along similar lines over this semester–how differently my life has turned out than I’d ever expected, almost entirely in a good way.

    Good luck on the market. I’m sending you positive thoughts.

  4. chuck Said,

    December 8, 2004 @ 12:43 am

    Caleb, don’t get me wrong: there are times when I’d love to have a tenure-track job, but tonight (though maybe not tomorrow), having an open future is a pretty exciting thing. And even when (or if) I get a tenure-track job, I imagine (from conversations with friends) that I’ll still feel like my future is very much open.

    Thanks to Caleb and Scrivener for the birthday wishes….

  5. Dylan Said,

    December 8, 2004 @ 1:41 am

    Happy Birthday, Chuck.

  6. Rusty Said,

    December 8, 2004 @ 8:28 am

    Happy birthday Chuck. I recently had one as well, and went through my own period of reflection. It wasn’t productive for me, but I’m glad yours seems to have been.

  7. JM Said,

    December 8, 2004 @ 8:34 am

    Happy birthday! I will be feeling reflective in a few weeks, myself. I’m not terribly thrilled about it though. Can I just reflect on _your_ life instead? It sounds more interesting. 🙂

  8. Jimbo Said,

    December 8, 2004 @ 9:15 am

    Happy Birthday!

    jwb

  9. Clancy Said,

    December 8, 2004 @ 10:12 am

    Happy birthday! I noticed on Orkut that your birthday was coming up and thought about blogging it, but decided against it in case you were trying to keep your birthday on the DL.

    Whoo…yeah…turning thirty a couple of months back. I didn’t take that very well at all, as the post you linked indicates. I now feel a lot more positive, like you, preferring the life I have and all that.

    Anyway, go out and do something fun tonight if you can! Don’t spend your birthday the way I spent my last one: sulking, knitting, and watching my Alias DVDs.

  10. chuck Said,

    December 8, 2004 @ 10:49 am

    Clancy, I’d forgotten about my birthday being listed on Orkut, but your mention would have been appreciated. One of the reasons I mentioned my birthday was that I’d written about it last year and happened to notice how blogs and birthdays conspire to encourage reflection, at least for me. My birthday also makes me crave Mediterranean food apparently in that I went out for Lebanese tapas with my parents….

    Oddly enough, I’ll probably stay in tonight and grade, but only because I’ve been going out a lot (end of semester parties, dinners with the family, etc) a lot lately. But maybe I’ll catch a movie if I manage to be productive this afternoon.

  11. Chris Martin Said,

    December 8, 2004 @ 12:47 pm

    Happy Birthday, Chuck!

  12. George Said,

    December 8, 2004 @ 1:07 pm

    Happy Birthday!

  13. Jason Said,

    December 8, 2004 @ 1:12 pm

    Happy Birthday Chuck 🙂

  14. LiL Said,

    December 13, 2004 @ 12:04 pm

    Happy (belated) birthday!

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