by Phil Houseal as published in the Kerrville TX Community Journal & Boerne TX Hill Country Weekly - March 24, 2010
Birthdays are beguiling commodities.
Early in life, they take too long to arrive for the youngster aching to be a teen, to drive a car, or to legally get in a club. By midlife, they become a nuisance - nagging milestones keeping track of how far we’ve come and how little we’ve done.
Past age 50, birthdays tumble upon us like marbles hitting a washtub - hounding us toward another year of uncovering new aches with irritating persistence.
Similarly, the raiment of birthday celebrations evolves. As children, we expect the world to stop and celebrate, though simple math shows we share our birthday week with 140 million others.
In midlife, we still expect accolades simply for being born two or three decades before, and admit feeling slightly hurt if we get through the workday without sufficient birthday wishes.
At our acme, more of us go out of our way to hide the day’s arrival, but curses - computer calendars and smart phones mark our day with chimes and ringtones.
I used to toy with how I reported birthdays. When my students asked the indelicate question of my age, I would respond with correct but confusing numbers. That is how I went from age 39 to “thirty-ten,” “thirty-eleven,” and so on. That worked until they learned enough math to penetrate my deception.
Why discuss birthdays? Well, March is my birthday month, and I started thinking about that when my cousin reminded me (via Facebook) that our ages overlapped (Thank you, Mary Kay).
It got me to thinking that as we travel through life we should worry less about the odometer and more about enjoying the adventure.
As a lad in my early 20s I remember debating my brother about when was too old to learn to play guitar. He maintained you had to learn skills as a child, invoking the “old dog/new trick” argument. I disagreed, arguing that if as an adult we worked as hard at learning as we had as children we could learn just as much, just as quickly. Think back. As a 10-year-old, though we loathed practicing, we did it for hours, daily. As adult learners, we pick up the instrument once a week for 10 minutes and expect a chair in the orchestra.
Good thing I disagreed. Because if I had stopped learning in my 20s, I - along with many of you Club Ed compadres - would today be missing the joys of tap dancing, playing violin, acting, and even writing this column, all skills I did not even begin to pursue until I was long past “twenty-eleven.”
Club Ed has lots of learning left, both this year and for years to come. For information or to sign up, click www.clubed.net, or call 830-895-4386.
Club Ed is the Community Education program of the Kerrville Independent School District. Each year, we offer more than 400 classes throughout the Texas Hill Country, along with online courses, business and individual training, and after-school and summer camps. Comment online at clubedcomments.blogspot.com, or follow us on Twitter @clubedtx.