Monday, January 02, 2006

Birthday Musings

I turned 39 today.

I'm not the biggest birthday person in the world (unless we're talking about Zach's birthday, in which case I make a really big deal of it), but this year I felt even more low-key about it than usual. (Low-key does not equal depressed—just mellow.) I think it may be because it was supposed to be an anticlimactic birthday, not only because it doesn't end in 0 or 5, but also because my 40th birthday was going to have extra significance, thus making number 39 seem extra-insignificant.

Many of you know that four years ago, I celebrated my 35th birthday with unusual fanfare—a big party at a beautiful downtown lounge with incredible live music—a few a cappella numbers sung by Zach and some friends and fellow alums of the Princeton Katzenjammers, followed by a smoking performance by the perennially brilliant Julian Fleisher and his Rather Big Band. My birthday fell just a few weeks after I'd finished nearly nine months of treatment—surgery, chemo, and radiation—so the party was a double celebration. It was also a fundraiser for the wonderful Mount Sinai Breast Health Resource Program. (A renewed thank you to all who helped us raise more than $11,000 for this amazing organization!)

Since then, I've been looking forward to my 40th birthday (yes, really). That's because it would have coincided with an important milestone in the world of cancer—for the statisticians out there, I would have moved into the very desirable "five-year disease-free survivor" category. And, as far as the statisticians are concerned, being a five-year disease-free survivor is tantamount to being cured.

So, yeah, I was really looking forward to my 40th birthday.

And you know what?

I still am.

Because by this time next year, I should be very nearly done with my treatment.

Because by this time next year, I should finally need a haircut again.

Because by this time next year, I should have a diploma from the Columbia University Graduate School of Journalism.

Because by this time next year, I should be spending weekends in Phoenicia, with Zach and family and friends.

Because by this time next year (er, week), I should have a lovely new bathroom. (See post below.)

Because by this time next year, I should be starting to look forward to my 45th birthday, and all the ones beyond.


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