Monday, April 20, 2015

A Birthday Filled With Promise

The following is an excerpt from my personal journal, two days after my twenty-seventh birthday.

April 12, 2015

I turned twenty-seven years old on Friday, April 10, 2015, and had a very pleasant weekend, indeed. The first thing to strike me was the fact of my age: that I am actually three years from thirty, actually a decade past seventeen and six years past twenty-one. What I've realized, however, in all this surreality, is that what any age means is, developmental considerations aside, completely arbitrary. I don't need to be where anyone else is at twenty-seven; my twenty-seven is what I make it. And so as a twenty-seven-year-old I am serious and sober, funny and fun loving, responsible and reserved, goofy and garrulous. I am a series of contradictions that add up to something lovely.

The passage of another year is, of course, a time at which I naturally reflect on where I've been and where I want to go. Of late, perhaps exacerbated because my twenty-nine-year-old cousin Perfect just gave birth to her first child (a little girl), I've felt a great yearning for companionship and then children. Children aren't something I desire in the immediate future, mind you, but they're something I can just see on the horizon, something by the time I am exiting my early thirties I imagine I'll be very ready for. I dream all the time of those children, of what they'd look like and what personality qualities they'd have, what their interests would be and what kind of life I would provide for them.

And I dream too of a husband. Of a boyfriend first, but definitely of a romantic partner. Someone who'd hold me and tell me I was beautiful, someone to whom I could confide anything, someone who would hear my victories and my sorrows and care for both, and someone whose victories and sorrows I would care about in turn. Occasionally I wonder if I'm holding out for the perfect man, searching for something I can never find, but then I ask what's so unreasonable about wanting a man with whom I'm compatible. What's so unreasonable about wanting a man I'm attracted to? What's so unreasonable about wanting a man with career goals? If I can find those three things, I figure I'm in a very good position. I'm so scared we'll never meet. I ask God every time I pray to bring us to one another.

I hope one day I will have my little daughter, the daughter I've dreamed of so long. I hope she might be joined by a few others.

The long-term considerations are what they are, but the actual weekend of my birthday was unequivocally nice. Mom was away all week, and so on Friday night Thomas, his girlfriend Jewess, and I hosted my friend Redbeard, his girlfriend Lithuanian Girl, a classmate of mine, and Peruvian Girl for a night of white wine, meat-lover's pizza, raucous talk, and inappropriate jokes. Everyone got pleasantly tipsy and by about 12:30 in the morning everyone had left. I don't think it could have gone much better. In fact, it went weirdly well between Thomas and Redbeard, the latter turning out to be a metal fan of some seriousness, and the two of them chattered on about this band and that while we womenfolk exchanged looks of desperate boredom. Saturday was quiet and filled with reading, and then today came a perfectly suited late birthday present: Hillary Clinton announced that she is running for president.

The big reveal came via a campaign video released on social media, and marked in my view a major break from the approach she took when initiating her 2008 bid for the presidency. Then, she was seated at home at the mansion Whitehaven and boldly proclaimed she was "in it to win it." Now, she has affixed her seal to a two-and-a-quarter-minute campaign piece that doesn't show her until a minute and a half in. The focus is instead on a group of representative Americans: a Hispanic woman raising her young daughter; a black couple expecting their first child; a white retiree and a white factory worker; a gay couple preparing for marriage. What they all have in common is that they are all trying to build lives. Her promise to them, and her rationale for running, is that she will help.

Overall I thought the piece was savvy. She seems to be courting what she is intelligent enough to realize is the emerging demographic and cultural coalition in this country, and she's doing that not just by featuring them in her ads but by considering them in her policies; at one point she concedes that despite the gains of the Obama years, "the deck is still stacked in favor of those at the top."

Even eight years ago that statement (and the cast beside which it was delivered) would have been considered controversial, maybe even radical, but we've moved into a different time. I don't trust her. I think she has at her core good motives that are sometimes compromised by her personal ambition. That being said, Secretary Clinton's propensity for maneuvering to wherever the votes are could be, in terms of practical outcomes, a very good thing provided she understands where in fact the votes are. It is the new coalition that will dominate. If she sees that, and molds herself to them--to us--then she'll have pursued a good agenda for impure motives and that, all things considered, should be seen as a win for everybody involved.


naturgesetz said...

It doesn't sound to me as if you're holding out for the perfect man. There's plenty of room for imperfections beyond the things you listed. On the other hand, it will take time to get to know someone well enough to realize that you're compatible. Mutual attraction may be present from the start, or it can grow slowly from a less explicit friendliness. Just keep meeting people, and don't create deadlines.

Do you realize that photos from the rear, with your long hair, are as much a giveaway of your identity to anybody who has met you and comes across the blog as your face would be?

Belated Happy Birthday! I'm glad it was a good one.

Jay M. said...

I get the whole reflection thing, and we are not that different in our desires (and not just for MEN). Naturgesetz is right, you can specify perfect, but you are likely to be disappointed, and there are lots of us out here. I think your post is dead on. If you have no dreams and direction for your life, it's awfully easy to simply march in place. I've followed you long enough to see your development into a confident, capable young man (and 27 is still young!).

And I do LOVE that hair! Give-away or not. Happy birthday!

Peace, my friend, and <3

Arizaphale said...

Hilary seems a whole lot more sensible than the turkey we Australians currently have to endure as our Prime Minister....
On another note....happy birthday. You are in a good place. All the things you hope for are within reach. Now comes the patient waiting time.....

J said...

Happy Birthday! I enjoyed reading a few of your recent posts because they are so well written and engaging. Regardless of age or circumstance, we are all basically the same as humans. I think we readers recognize so much of ourselves in your posts - expressed far better than most of us are able to do on our own!

Angel The Alien said...

Happy birthday! I like your attitude of no pressure to be at some certain point just because you're 27... your 27 is YOUR experience! I will try to remember that for myself as I approach my birthday in a few weeks!
As for waiting for the "perfect man," it makes sense to wait for someone that you really connect with, A lot of people get married or make commitments to someone just because they think that is something everyone is supposed to do and that they're running out of time. But getting married means you are connecting yourself to someone else in many ways, so it is important that the person be pretty close to "perfect"... not that they won't have any faults at all, but if a guy is the right person for you, the faults will hardly bother you and might even become endearing!