My birthday last year was as it is supposed to be: Climbing San Diego’s Black Mountain with my fine sons, drinking champagne at the top. Evening of Russian food with my annual shot of cranberry or cucumber vodka. Nice yes? Accompanying the lovely occasions, activities and events of 2019 however was my evil twin, constantly reminding me I was now…officially…old. (Many might think I earned that label several years ago…you were wrong). It took a little work all year long to chase away intrusions of age-related gloom.

My birthday this year was considerably calmer, less glamorous. An hour around the streets of my San Gabriel neighborhood with son Steve. Drinking leftover morning coffee when I got home. Midday, accepting my first ever grocery delivery and immediately thereafter eating a fresh chunk of chewy bakery baguette from Whole Foods piled with butter. So who or what is accompanying me in 2020 as work my way through the Covid-19 pandemic? How was my birthday mood today? You know…it was just fine. Good mood, optimistic, busy. My evil twin must be hiding in a cave in the Sandias. Scaredy cat.

Why the change in mood…2019 to 2020? Last year I was deathly afraid of my new age. This year I’m deathly afraid of not getting even older. Same thing you say. In a way. Somehow the perspective feels very different. Being afraid of getting older versus being afraid of not getting older perhaps could be restated as feeling dead-in-the-water/stopped/the-end versus being excited about a future…to climb Black Mountain again, finish my book, visit new African countries, return to Norway, discover Cuba. So begone you damn virus.

If that all sounds confusing…it’s really not. Think about it.

Enough…I’ll tell you about my sweet and imaginative family and friend birthday greetings and the pleasures of this day…tomorrow. Since I really won’t have that much else to talk about…here at home…writing writing writing.

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