In 2006, I adopted my dog, Hank. He was a 3 month-old border collie mutt that was a brownish blackish puffball with big eyes and a calm demeanor. He looked more like a toy than an animal. I used to walk him down the streets of Chicago, and he would stop traffic. I remember being late to meetings because so many strangers wanted to pet my puppy.
As he grew, he became far more intelligent, playful, and even empathetic. But as a full-sized dog, strangers didn't want to pet him anymore. I remember him being confused when we would pass people on the sidewalk, and zero ear scratches were given.
(I learned then that canine depression is a real thing.)
Anyway, I often think of Hank's confusion and how it resonates with me. This week was my birthday, which just happens to fall 2 days after my 4 year-old daughter's birthday. As you might expect, we had a giant party for my kid: I got her a piñata, presents, and I even made a 6-layer rainbow cake. For me? Well we ordered a pizza so I didn't have to cook.
Happy birthday to me.
And don't get me wrong. I wasn't expecting more, and I tried to enjoy my day. But it got me thinking about how much energy and attention goes to the young--who will barely remember things like birthdays--and how that attention fades as we age. We get used to the idea that we're less relevant the older we get. The phenomenon seems to run rampant in several walks of life: I once had a talent agent in Nashville tell me I couldn't 'make it' as a recording artist past the age of 30.
Apparently--in Nashville--one's outward appearance affects their singing abilities.
Reader, I'm not sure what causes us to find youth adorable and age unremarkable. As far as I can tell, the older we get, the more interesting we become. Our personalities are defined. Our character is honed. Our experiences are richer and our emotions are tempered. Do we need a people to fawn over us to make us feel special? Absolutely not. But should we will remember to continue to care for ourselves more as we receive less care from others?
I leave you with a picture of this absurd cake I made for me daughter. I threw her one heck of a party, because she's young, and she needs it. Tonight, I'm booking myself a songwriting retreat, because I'm old, and I need it. When the world stops scratching your ears, you gotta learn to scratch em yourself. I'll see you next Monday. -Em