January 6, 2008

On Turning 41

41 is one of those blah birthdays. Like 31 or 27 or 11 it’s a day to be marked and then quickly forgotten. 41 rates a Wikipedia entry which seems impressive at first blush, but so do all numbers under 100. 42’s entry is much more impressive.

My three year old can’t count to 41 yet and calls it a "big big very big number with a 4 and a 1". Nobody bothers to put 41 candles on a cake and as it’s a prime number there’s no easily divisible scaling factor. I imagine some get candles that look like the numbers 4 and 1 or candles arranged into 4’s and 1’s but most of us just get a random set of candles that fill the cake. I got 16 candles spread out in a circle. 16 was something to look forward to. I'm not sure anyone looks forward to 41 which is not to say there's anything wrong with actually being 41, it's just not as fun as 16 when you could get a driver's license picture from the front instead of from the side.

At 41 I’m the age my mother was when I went away to college. I’m a little over double my youngest brother’s age when he died. I’ve lived 14,975 days which is less than I would have thought. Actuarial tables suggest I have about 12,401 days left although family history would suggest something like 19,345 days. Perhaps counting days is morbid but I've been doing it since I was 11. Back then I was probably a little less optimistic than I am now. Back then if I thought 31 was ancient never realizing that the distance that separates 11 and 31 or 11 and 41 is much shorter in many ways than the distance between 11 and 1.

In my 41st year I plan on making things. On my post for 42 I'll resolve to list the projects completed.

related: 40

posted at 12:43 PM by raul

Filed under: personal history

TAGS: 41 (1) birthdays (4)


01/07/08 03:20 AM

Turning 41, like I did last september, is really no big deal. I don't feel like 41. Let's just stop with the whole birthdaything. By the way, I really love your blog, especially your stories.
Greetings from the Netherlands.

01/07/08 03:23 AM

Happy Birthday Raul.

I think life gets more poignant over the decades, and that's why I like older people , who in the main, seem , in varying degrees, to belong to a secret club of noble souls

01/07/08 04:26 AM

I just re-read 40, since I just turned that. I have been thinking about another child lately, I had my daughter at 22 so she is on the verge of leaving and the idea just breaks my heart. I am a bit envious of you and so many of my friends who have such young ones now. but i am also looking forward to doing the things I didn't get to do that they did earlier because I was busy parenting. so...balance. that's what i'm trying for. Maybe I'll stoip living vicariously through your photos and go see the world for myself. Happy 41st.

01/07/08 07:59 AM

Your blog more than any book I have read or person I have met makes me look forward to being an adult, having kids, and so on. From the perspective of 19 you make 41 seem pretty damned fine I also read the archives. I like all your birthday posts, but 39 post is especially wonderful. Here's to a great year. I look forward to reading 42.

01/07/08 07:08 PM

Feliz cumple, guay. Do you think we get more introspective as we get older? "Making things"...What kind of things do have in mind?

01/07/08 09:38 PM

Happy birthday! I enjoy your blog a lot, and am glad you got your internet back.

I too am close to 40, and have small kids, and I enjoy your perspective on kids/life -- I have similar feelings, but can't express them anywhere as elegantly.

01/07/08 11:31 PM

Happy Un-Blah Birthday!

I'll turn 39 next month and that seems to be an equally "hmmph" birthday. But then, I don't usually put too much stock in the specific number meaning much.

01/08/08 01:02 AM

Even though your posts about birthdays clearly show you take them as occassions for reflection rather than celebration, I feel compelled to say HAPPY BIRTHDAY! Force of habit I suppose. I just turned 25 and freaked myself out thinking I'm half a life away from both 12 and 50. I've always thought January 6th was a particularly great birthday. Not sure why. Much better than June 13th.

01/08/08 02:46 AM

I just turned 36, which is kind of cool; it's the first number that's the product of two non-equal squares that are not one or zero. And it's also a square in its own right. (I'm pretty square myself.)

Some birthdays seem to inspire introspection, while others don't. 24 got me thinking, as did 28. And 33. 36 was blah.

Thanks for blogging. And happy birthday; here's to the quiet pleasures.

01/10/08 04:25 AM

Love reading your blog, such a pleasure. You always manage to turn the various events, big or small, of the daily life into such special, precious, memorable and meaningful moments. It sure makes me take on each day more closely and dearly, therefore appreciating all things in life, no matter how minute it is.

Happy birthday, Raul.

01/10/08 10:25 AM

Happy Birthday, Raul!

You've created so much beauty in only 41 years - including those lovely boys.
I count days too...


01/10/08 11:04 AM

We have the same birthday! Day of the Kings! I was born exactly 20 years before you. This makes me feel almost giddy because I'm such a superfan (superlurker as well). I echo what everyone here has said. I found this blog about six months ago and you are such an inspiration- the photography, the writing, your kids, and now 20x200. You are so generous with sharing all the beauty and tragedy around you and it has meant so much to me. I actually get a little shiver of excitement when I see you have a new post up especially if it's your own photography or writing. Happy Birthday to both of us!

01/12/08 09:03 PM

Happy birthday! I turn 40 in a couple of months myself, so I'm not far behind you.

By the way, not to be a hair-splitter, but if you've just turned 41 you're actually in your 42nd year, since you've just completed your 41st.

01/12/08 09:04 PM

Happy birthday! I turn 40 this coming June, so I'm about a year and a half behind you.

By the way, not to be a hair-splitter, but if you've just turned 41 you're actually in your 42nd year, since you've just completed your 41st.

01/12/08 09:06 PM

Weird, I started typing this and somehow two different versions of my comment got posted. Sorry. Anyone, all this best in the coming year. I enjoy your blog, and I love the photos.

01/13/08 01:57 AM

And a belated 41th happy birthday from Olivier. Geez, some people get all the love, all I got on my birthday post was a lovely comment, and I quote, "You are such an asshole". :-)

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