So apparently, it’s my birthday today.
I say apparently not because I’m unsure, but because the calendar says March 8th, which is the date of my birth so it’s therefore apparent, that today is my birthday.
How do you feel about birthdays? Do you still get as excited as the kids do because finally you might get that Fit Bit you’ve been wanting or a pair of new Doc Martens that happened to appear in your inbox? (Hint hint Boatman ;)) I used to get really excited about birthdays, but the last few years have been a bit meh. I was kind of hoping that this would be the year I put boring birthdays behind me and started some fun new tradition, and who knows, it might still happen — but honestly, I’m not expecting much.
The reasons are three-fold.
One. Birthdays have generally begun with my Dad calling at a ridiculous hour of the morning to sing happy birthday. He obviously won’t be doing that this year, which is a bit of a bummer.
Two. I’ve absconded from home and headed to Melbourne for Bible Camp. It’s part of the new study I’ve decided to so this year. After Tafe discontinued my course, some soul-searching and planning was in order. I’m sure I’ll blog about it one day.
Three. I’m turning (or I suppose have turned) 33. It seems a very un-momentous number to turn.
I’m not sure why I’m against 33. As far as numbers go it’s not too bad — alliteration-wise it’s perfectly acceptable.
It just seems so… ordinary. 33. It’s not quite early thirties nor mid-thirties. Not quite young enough to say ‘Oh I’m only just in my thirties’ but not old enough either to be all stoic and comfortable with your place in life. It’s just 33. An ordinary number that suggests an ordinary year.
Of course, I have no intention of living an ordinary life and there are many others like me — people who have done fun things at 33 despite their age. So I did a quick google and came across this website that tells you what people did at a certain age. It was quite entertaining. For instance…
In 1792, English writer and philosopher Mary Wollstonecraft wrote A Vindication of the Rights of Women. Mary wrote a few other things in her time, but A Vindication was important because in it she argued that women were not inferior to men and only appeared so because of their lack of educational possibilities. (I’ll admit I read that and thought ‘Oh that’s why today is International Women’s Day!’ And then I realised that the date and the birthday had nothing in common. It’s just that I was turning 33 on International Women’s Day. Self-involved much? 🙂 )
Also in the theme of very cool women doing very cool things, it was at the age of 33 that Amelia Earhart flew solo across the Atlantic, being the first female to do so. Interestingly, Amelia, like Mary was an author as well.
Speaking of authors, in 1959 at the age of 33, John Knowles published his first, and most successful novel A Separate Peace. Disclaimer: I have not read this book and have no idea what it’s about, but apparently it’s quite momentous. Regardless, I’m just gonna say good on ya John for getting published. I would happily do that at 33.
At age 33 Jesus was crucified. As much as I like Jesus, and will happily spend my birthday at Bible Camp, I’m hoping to not replicate this particular achievement this year.
Cyrus West Field was 33 when he retired from his job to lay the first transatlantic telegraph cable. Said cable would allow Queen Victoria to send President Buchanan a message in morse code. I wonder what Mr West Field would make of the fact that now queens and presidents can just tweet each other.
Other notable achievements of people who have also turned 33: Spina Bifida sufferer, Robert Hensel set the record for the world’s longest wheelchair wheelie, Paul Raposo started studying watchmaking, and some other guy apparently had a life changing experience. (True story. I felt like perhaps the website was reaching by that point.)
My favourite, though, was the two lines attributed to a woman named Susan Presley. I have no idea who this woman is: I tried finding out more about her and her son, but there seemed to be very little information apart from what was on the age website. According to that, at age 33, Susan took her ten-year-old to Texas to help him clean up after a tornado so he wouldn’t think it was just a cool thing on TV. That, according to the internet is Susan’s claim to fame.
It’s definitely not a book on women’s rights or a solo plane trip. It’s no crucifixion or telegraph laying. In actual fact, it seems kind of mundane and useless, except, that of course, it’s not. Because any time a parent does something to teach their child compassion or about what really matters, it has deep significance.
Really anytime we make any effort to be compassionate and help another person it has deep significance, and let’s face it, you can do that any day and at any age.
And so I think that maybe I won’t mind 33 after all.
Did you do anything significant at 33?
Any age-related numbers you think looks dull?