I’m 35 years old today. Mid way through my thirties and rapidly approaching middle age. Not a milestone birthday, per-say, but a marker in time. A number of significance.
Today, I’m officially older than Tim will ever be. He died 3 weeks before 35, never quite making it to this particular age. Birthdays were not a big deal to Tim. As a twin, he was accustomed to sharing his birthday with his sister, Kelli. He was elated to spend a long weekend with her in the days before his heart attack. He and I had talked about planning a trip with her and her family to mark 35. I was planning to make his peanut butter cake with chocolate frosting. Things we thought we would do with the seemingly endless expanse of time that being a 30-something affords you.
Before his death, Tim was 1.5 years older than me. An age difference that worked well in our coupling dynamic. Developmentally, we were in similar places. He had graduated high school and college before me. He was slightly older, but the small space in time between our births left us in the same generation and experiencing cultural events around the same time. I enjoyed our small age gap. My slightly older husband. I’m older now. Tim will always be left at 34, and here I am at 35.
When I turned 34, people who did not know the significance of that age would remark “My, you are still so young”. I would think of Tim dying at 34. Yes, 34 is indeed SO young.
I am young, yet I am old. Older than many living people. Emotionally, I feel I’ve lived several lifetimes. In other ways, I’m completely new to the world. My experiences have aged me by decades, yet shrunk me down to a moody teen. I don’t really fit in to normal society. I can talk to anyone about anything. I feel 85. I feel 15. I’ve seen and done things that the average person can not imagine. I’m 35 with a lifetime behind and a lifetime ahead.
I feel thankful to have turned 35 at 1:11am this morning. I’m thankful to be able to celebrate my birthday with my parents, the people who brought and raised me into this world. To hug my mom and dad and share a meal with them. I’m thankful to celebrate this birthday with my children, quite literally my reasons for being alive. This weekend I will celebrate with my friends, the people who have helped me rediscover my sense of happiness in this life. Another year has passed. And I made it. I’m older than Tim now, and I will continue to be older than him until the day I die. I will continue to carry him with me in my mind a heart, and share his legacy in any ways I can. The passing of time will continue on. These milestones will continue on. And I will continue on.
35 and still alive.