At 29, you think I’d know better, living like a kid.

I have one more week to post about being 29 (and use the above lyric as a post title).

This year has kind of sucked, (well, the first half, anyway). I think if you ask a lot of people, they will agree, 2010 was just a lousy year all around. But despite my rocky start to last year (Deep breath — out of work, moved back in with parents, had an undiagnosable health issue that kept throwing me in the ER, got divorced, my crush of 6 years finally broke my heart, and… well, at least my dog didn’t die) things have been looking up. Which is why, unlike most people who get freaked out at turning 30, I am excited. ‘Cause it can’t be as bad as 29. How’s that for a pessimistic, “well, no where to go but up” sentiment.

My mom instilled in her 5 children a profound special-ness of birthdays. She went all out, throwing us costume parties, finding a way to explain to her mom, the cake decorator, what an ALF birthday cake should look like, letting us pick the meals for the day of our birthday, all that stuff. Presents were never a big part of it (I couldn’t name a birthday present if I tried), but all the other stuff, feeling like you were the most important for one day, was a big big part of it.

On my brother’s birthday, we almost always had pancakes for supper (Sheldon’s Lunch being one of his favourite books) and this weird Turtle cake he apparently loved. 

My older sister always got to have a sleepover at the cottage, being a lucky summer-birthday kid. Those sleepovers were fairly epic – I learned that poking a hole in your pop can, above the tab, gave you superpower ability to spray the rafters, got some really bad makeup tips (blue eyeliner, on the inside edge of your eyelid), and took part in a giggley looking up of the word ‘sperm’ in the Funk & Wagnells Dictionary.

My younger siblings birthdays were… kind of embarrassing for me. My friend Elizabeth W. and I dressed up as clowns to be in the Santa Claus parade one year, and my mom thought we were really into red nose entertaining. And pretty soon, Bubbles the Clown was learning how to make balloon animals, telling bad jokes at birthday parties, and realizing that she probably wouldn’t ever have a boyfriend.

So, in the spirit of birthdays, getting older, moving on, and my last week as a twenty-something, I’m going to post the songs (and more importantly, the key lyrics) that have been coming up on my shuffle and making my head hurt with the realization that there are a lot of people who had a tricky time at some age or another.

Swim Until You Can’t See Land – Frightened Rabbit

“And if I hadn’t come now to the coast to disappear, I would have died in the landslide of rocks & hopes & fears” (but seriously, the whole goddamn song is one of those songs)

Apartment Story – The National
“Stay inside til somebody finds us, do whatever the TV tells us”
“Tired and wired, we ruin too easily, sleep in our clothes and wait for the winter to leave”

Matches – Wildlife
“We’re making our beds while the city’s burning, cleaning our house while it’s falling down”

Younger Us – Japandroids

“Remember saying things like ‘We’ll sleep when we’re dead’, and thinking this feeling was never gonna end.”

I have about 12 other songs to write about. Will save it for another post. Upcoming:
Seven Day Mile – The Frames
Seven Year Ache – Roseanne Cash
Scattered Pearls – Casiotone for the Painfully Alone
Old Panda Days – Casiotone for the Painfully Alone
and more…

And now, a picture that I saw at Open Studio by an artist I really like. She uses a lot of sad bastardisms as well.

Title credit: Muther-effin Gin Blossoms!, 29

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2 comments
  1. Ian Wolcott said:

    I never read Sheldon’s Lunch as a kid but my wife saved all her books and we use the pancake recipe in the back at least once a month. I do make one edit: rather than mixing the blueberries directly into the batter, I drop them onto the pancakes while they’re just starting to cook in the pan. Keeps the berries from bursting and the pancakes from getting runny.

  2. ali said:

    you know, i can’t remember if i posted a hbd ry for you on your day. probably, yeah. funny, from waaaay out here on the west coast i had no idea there was another one of us out there that had to take a deep breath before talking over the last year (for me, the deep breath started in june, and rolled along until january). i totally didn’t know you were sick, because i have never seen a photograph of you where you weren’t smiling larger than what seems possible.

    anyway. its a little late, but i’m with you on the solidarity of being 30. 30 is renewal. new decade. new life. reset nintendo.

    since i took my own end of my 20-somethings lumps with less grace, while still managing to endear myself to some, a friend made me this (curmudgeon) mix:

    http://dl.dropbox.com/u/2792156/HAPPY%20B-DAY%20ALLISON%20curmudgeon%20mix.zip

    I thought you might like it. I listened to it on my birthday while having a visit with barkley, walking him around in east van, looking at vancouver specials on a quiet cool night. no rain, just tunes, and walking on into the next life.

    miss you friend.

    xoxo

    a

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