Milestones Ahead

((looks at weather forecast, casts eyes to heaven, cues Ivonova moment)) You are having entirely too much fun at our expense.

Well, Erin did it! She sent off Ghost Maps to the publishers. The poems had reached a point where they were all finished, but for a little tweaking. When you get to this stage, you'd better send them off, because if you wait for the tweaking to stop, they'll never get sent. And if you tweak your work and the publishers accept your manuscript, what are they going to do? Demand that you not change one comma?

Like a marathon runner who has finished a race, Erin finds herself at a bit of a loose end. A classic case of "I'm done, now what?" syndrome. She's filling the hole by helping me with the Rosemary and Time synopsis and proofreading the Tr enchcoat Farewell Project, but she's going to need another project of her own to keep her nimble and happy. I'm sure something will come up in the next few days. Until then, I don't mind the attention.

I'm turning thirty in three days; Erin turns thirty in two weeks. Everybody's treating this as a big milestone, but I don't see it. I didn't feel a great sea-change when I became old enough to vote, and since I don't drink, there was no great change when I became old enough to get drunk. My mother once said, when contemplating her fiftieth birthday, that the world seems just as exciting and frightening a place now as when she was ten, and I know how she feels. I don't see as a date should have special prominence because it happens to fall on the thirtieth anniversary of the day I was born.

On the other hand, I sometimes get flashes of feeling my age when I compare myself to other people. The first time I really felt old was when I realized that our receptionist was twenty years old. That alone wasn't the problem, although I would have pegged her at twenty-five. No, what got me was the fact that this woman, working our phones, keeping this office running, and planning her wedding, was born in the year 1980.

I remember 1980. That was yesterday. How is it that people who were newborn infants yesterday are suddenly productive adults today? That made me feel the oldest I'd ever been.

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