I look into the mirror, my reflection is mustering me with curiosity. I look old, crosses my mind.
The last 4 years I didn’t really celebrate my birthday. I traveled alone to Iceland, spend a day in Los Angeles, made a multiple-day hike, or explored Berlin with Bridget during the first weeks of the pandemic. It all felt right and I felt good with it.
This year is different. This year I feel I am reaching a new milestone and I really miss having my friends and family around.
I remember when I turned 30 I thought life’s over. I was devastated for days in advance. I felt so so alone the whole evening approaching midnight. Well, gladly life wasn’t over that night. I picked myself up again, looked for new role models, and set out on a crazy ride through my 30s. I think in all the years before I haven’t changed and experienced as much as in the last 5 years of my 30s.
40 was my new mark to aim for and I made the mistake to intertwine it with a big decision: to have kids or not. Partly because I never wanted to be “an old dad”, partly because I wanted my parents to still be able to enjoy the grandchild. Getting into work with Circular Berlin, the climate crisis topics, and all the knowledge about the state of our planet was a real bummer. For the last two years I circled around the question “can I allow myself to put a child into this world, knowingly that they might not have a bright future?”
It took some time and some distance to the never stopping information flow. Finally I rooted myself back in trust and belief into a positive future and – hello! – the 40th birthday is around the corner. And I haven’t made a decision yet.
I stare into the mirror, scruffy hair pulled back in a hair band, searching for signs of age. I pull my phone out and look at pictures from 4 years ago, when I met Bridget. Yes, I have aged. No, it’s not Bridget. Is that a bad thing? I lean forward and look closer. I do like the fine silver streaks in my hair. I do like the soft wrinkles around my eyes. I always felt people should have more wrinkles around their eyes because I imagined it to come from laughing and smiling a lot.
What makes this upcoming birthday different is that I haven’t been with my friends in such a long time. I am used to get on a train and see and talk to them in person on a regular basis. Do crazy things together or just talk the whole night during a sleepover with way too many people in one room. The last 12 months were different and if I actually miss one thing it is this.
So, instead of walking with Sandra through Zurich, hiking to Andechs with Sophia, Cynthia, Franka, and my friends in Munich, jamming with Dom, strolling around Hamburg with Marie-Christine, sitting on the couch with a hot coffee and Larissa, Bunny, or Jenny, or spending time with all the other beautiful humans, I am here in our Berlin apartment, staring into a mirror and thinking about life, getting older, and making decisions.
There will be a big birthday party. Maybe this autumn, maybe next year, or when I turn 42 – which is a great number. There will be more time with friends again. And there will be eventually a decision about a kid or not.
After all 42 is a great number and the answer to life the universe and everything.