It sounds more poetic when Byron says it! Also, of course, he was only 36 — and I think that was the last poem he wrote, whereas I certainly hope this is not my last post! There’s nothing particularly poetic about turning 49, in any case. It’s not a landmark age, and I’m not doing anything in particular to mark it: pizza and a beer, probably, and I made cupcakes yesterday that Maddie should be frosting as I write. Then probably last night’s episode of The Good Wife, and time to call it a night! Sounds relaxing. Sounds middle-aged. Sounds about right!
Birthdays do inevitably prompt reflection, though, more (for me, anyway) even than New Year’s Eves do. I was thinking about numbers this morning: in 2016 it will be 26 years since I moved away from Vancouver (still, in my heart, the place I consider home); 24 since I got married; 21 since I moved to Halifax and began my job at Dalhousie; 19 since I first became a mother. It’s approximately 44 years since I started reading, and since I started listening to opera — still the biggest sources of enrichment and pleasure in my life. It’s 16 years until I reach retirement age…but who’s counting, right? 🙂
Those seem like big numbers! They represent a lot of change but also a lot of continuity: as another poet said, though much is taken, much abides — and at the same time, the old order changeth, yielding place to new: it’s 9 years since I started blogging, 6 years since I joined the editorial team at Open Letters Monthly, and less than 1 year since my first review ran in the TLS. I don’t know what the next year will bring, personally or professionally — as George Eliot says, “Among all forms of mistake, prophecy is the most gratuitous” — but the older I get, the better I understand what I want and don’t want. I suppose that’s progress of a kind, if not necessarily wisdom.
It’s Easter Monday here today, which is not a holiday at Dalhousie, so my classes met as usual. There are worse ways to spend a couple of hours on my birthday than talking about Indemnity Only and Hard Times. It felt good today that I needed my notes so little — that we could keep the discussion going, and keep it interesting. File that under things I want more of in my 50th year: good books, good talk about books. I know some of that will happen here at Novel Readings, so thanks as always to everyone who reads and comments!