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“Birthdays are good for you. Statistics show that people who have the most live the longest.”

– Larry Lorenzoni

That’s the silver lining, right? I’m ordinarily very blase about age. I see no reason to be coy about revealing how old I am, and birthdays don’t bother me. Usually. I freaked out a little at 27 for some reason, but 30, when friends were distraught as the age odometer flipped to a round number, had no effect on me. It helped that I was in preparations to move to a country where I knew no one and didn’t speak the language a week later, which was something of a distraction. Plus, as my brother would say, it’s only the accident of our base 10 number system that gives any special importance to another decade. (Yes, my brother might be even nerdier than me.)

This year I was on my way to being freaked out. I’m now closer to 40 than 30. But only a little closer. Actually as close as you can get to 30 while still being closer to 40. Really, it’s almost like I’m 29.

Fortunately, I was distracted again by an accident of timing which has put me on holidays in Seattle, visiting a crazily fun (and, let’s face it, just plain crazy) friend of mine from across the continent who happens to be here on business. So I’m sleeping in and exploring the city while she works, then we get to hang out evenings and this coming weekend, too. Tonight was yachting night – the hotel where she and her hordes of coworkers stay when they travel schmoozed them, and by proxy me, with a trip on a giant sailboat. I could get used to that life. (And if I were home, I’d pop in a Sports Night DVD because a quote is nagging at me and I can’t quite remember it … Dan’s talking about yachting as the sport of the common man, and Casey says something like “yeah, all you need is a million dollar boat and a dream.” I miss Dan and Casey. Studio 60 on the Sunset Strip better be good.)

I had a little flashback to my 16th birthday, which I spent in France on a school trip, staying with a family who belonged to a sailing club. It was my first time on a sailboat so they taught me how to pull the rope on command and duck when the pole thingie (I believe that’s the technical term) came whipping across the boat to the other side. Then the father threw me off, into the middle of the lake, as I shrieked and giggled. After they pulled me back in, he said “It’s a good thing you can swim.” (At least, I think that’s what he said – I never did get very good at French.) It occurred to me then that perhaps he should have thought to ask before shoving me in the water. I believe the sailing club’s motto was “Life jackets are for sissies” but that may just be my poor French again.

That was exactly 20 years ago, which is frightening and wrong and starting to freak me out about the age thing again. Oh … wait … no, 29, so it was only 13 years ago. I feel much better now.