Happy Birthday, You Old Geezer

Congress needs to pass a law that we all get to take our birthday off work. You get to lounge around the house, visit your favorite coffee shop or tavern, and treat yourself to a special day. If your birthday falls on the weekend, you get to take the Friday before.

For me, it's the most special day to me in my entire existence, because — to paraphrase Brooke Shields — "if you don't have a birthday, then you have lost a very important part of your life."

So, on my birthday, June 27, I take the day off every year to celebrate it and pamper myself. This year, I'm going to read and enjoy a quiet coffee at my favorite coffee shop, have another coffee with my daughter, and then get a massage, thanks to an early birthday present from my mother-in law.

Mind you, I was given a gift card for the massage. I am NOT receiving a massage from my mother-in-law.

This year, I turned 46 at the stroke of midnight when Wednesday, June 26 became Thursday, June 27, 2013. And not just because midnight is the start of that day. Rather I was born at exactly the stroke of midnight on Tuesday, June 27, 1967. For the last 30 years, I have stayed up until midnight on June 26th to ring in my exact birth moment, because I was born at midnight.

Whenever I tell people that, they say "that explains a lot."

As I've gotten older, taking my birthday off has become more important. Instead of bounding out of bed and racing out the door, I need a little more time to get ready. Every morning, I stare in the mirror at the three hairs clinging to life on my head, and pull out the fistfuls that sprouted out of my ears overnight.

My knees make a gravelly sound when I go downstairs. It would help if I would lose weight. But it would also help if I hadn't beat the hell out of my knees in my teens and 20s playing soccer and racing bikes, and hurling my body around at Ultimate Frisbee well into my 30s.

My birthday is not that significant in world history though. I mean, I'd hate to think that June 27 peaked with my birthday. I'd like something notable to happen, but not terrible, so I can share that day with history. So far, here's what I've found.

On June 27, 1702, Peter the Great defeated Charles XII of Sweden at the Battle of Poltava, and I think we all know what that means.

On June 27, 1967, the first ATM was installed in Enfield, London making me as old as machines that dispense money.

On June 27, 1973, John Dean told Congress about Richard Nixon's Enemies List. I was not on it. And despite my best efforts, I have not been on any president's Enemies List thereafter. However, a few years ago, one of my neighbors really didn't like me, so I feel pretty good about that.

I share birthdays with Helen Keller (1880), Captain Kangaroo (1930), and Ross Perot (1930). And I am the exact same age as Sylvie Fr├ęchette, the French-Canadian synchronized swimmer who won gold in the 1992 Olympics.

I'm approaching the age where 20-somethings roll their eyes and think I'm past my prime. I work in an industry that's populated by people who graduated from college three years ago. These young punks hassle me for being "so old," but I'm not that old. (And yes, I recognize the irony of me complaining about my age to a readership made up of mostly Baby Boomers who are my parents' age.)

My age shouldn't be an object of derision, it's to be respected.

Because I survived.

I made it to 46. Given everything that's going on in the world, that's quite an accomplishment. I've outlived a lot of people, many of whom were young and on top of the world and didn't trust anyone over 30.

Jim Morrison, Jimi Hendrix, and Amy Winehouse died when they were 27; Heath Ledger was 28. I've lived an entire person who can vote longer than they did.

Making it this far means I won. What does it mean for the 20-somethings?

You've got 20 more years. A lot can happen between now and then.

I've got the scars, the stories, and the skills to show these punks I'm not getting old, I'm better at what I do than you are at what you do.

And when they get too cocky, I just gesture at my body, thinning hair, and bad knees and tell them, "Take a good look. This is you in 20 years."

That usually shuts them up.

The second edition of Branding Yourself: How to Use Social Media to Invent or Reinvent Yourself (affiliate link), and my other book, No Bullshit Social Media: The All-Business, No-Hype Guide to Social Media Marketing are both available from Amazon, Barnes & Noble, and Books-A-Million, or for the Kindle or Nook.


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