Another year older, another year closer to death

I turned 26 yesterday. Man, that could be one of the most depressing statements I've ever heard.

It's official, I have reached the age when birthdays no longer hold significance, they are merely excuses for attention, presents and sex.

I passed my last "YEAH" birthday last year, and now pretty much the only birthday that matters is the one before I die. Sadly, I won't be able to commemorate that birthday because, alas, I don't have psychic powers.

Let's take a trip in the way-back machine and remember how important our birthdays used to be. Adding that one single year to your total was so critically important that you'd add half years just to seem like you were getting closer.

When I was 12, I couldn't wait until I was 13.

Thirteen: "YEAH, I can be rude, all-knowing and indignant to my parents!"

Ironically, it was about this time that my dad's hair started to get a slight gray tint.

At 15, I desperately wanted just one more year and cursed my parents for not conceiving me earlier.

Sixteen: "YEAH, I can operate a large, moving weapon!"

Dad's hair had definite gray undertones.

Eighteen: "YEAH, I can vote! YEAH, I can smoke! YEAH, I can play the lottery! YEAH, I can be drafted and sent overseas to possibly die, but I don't care because I can smoke and gamble!"

Dad's hair? Mostly gray with flecks of brown.

I walked into a bar at 11:59 p.m. on the night before my 21st birthday. For the first time, I was going to walk up to the bar and order a drink. I don't even remember what it was. It was blue and had vodka in it, I think. Hell, it could have had roofies in it for all I cared.

Twenty-first: "YEAH, I can't feel my fingers or see straight!"

Dad began receiving the senior citizen discount at restaurants without asking for it.

After that, the YEAH-train ended. Birthdays became more "eh" than "yeah," and I soon realized that my best birthdays were behind me.

Then, I got a small reprieve last year. "YEAH, I can rent a car and my insurance went down!"

Now, I can hear all the artificially happy people trying to find a "positive spin" on this whole "being born" situation, but trust me, there isn't one.

The big milestone birthdays I have left offer me no rewards, no YEAH moments other than "YEAH, I'm not dead!"

The only thing being 30, 40, 55 or 65 does is serve to remind us of how content we have become with our lives.

"But Jarid, the peppy people will say, at 55 you start getting free stuff."

Fifty-Five: "YEAH, I get to eat cottage cheese and bland chicken at 4 p.m.!"

Um, not so much a benefit, but thanks.

Thirty has to be the worst, because your societal role changes. In your 20s you are sowing oats, sleeping with whomever, abusing your body with long hours and excess stress on the belief that you will become something.

But at 30, you realize you are not that something. You are no longer supposed to do stupid things. You are supposed to be looking for steady relationships and scouting houses in good school districts.

Kill me, please, just kill me now.

I turned 26 yesterday.

As I looked in the mirror this morning, I repeated that sentence to myself, hoping that I wouldn't come to the realization that birthdays have become nothing more than road markers on the journey to death.

"Wait, what the hell!?! Is that a gray hair?"

Haaaaappy birthday to meeeeee, haaappppy birthdaaaaaay to....

Had a bad birthday? Tell me about it on the Party of One blog at

• Jarid Shipley is a reporter for the Nevada Appeal. Contact him a or 881-1217.


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