This is Me at 53

For a few years now, I’ve  been taking pictures of myself on my birthday.  It’s a sobering undertaking. I can scroll back and watch myself get younger (and in some cases thinner). I can see how good I was feeling about life by whether or not I’d had a good haircut recently. I don’t fix myself up — it’s not who I am — and I almost always take them myself. Here’s this year’s slightly blurry extended arm selfie.

Here I am at 53.

I have no birthday plans this year. It is a Wednesday and the holidays have just ended. I always feel a bit of holiday fatigue guilt around wanting people to eat cake and celebrate that I exist. I mean, millions of people just did that for Jesus, either directly because they’re deeply religious and want to celebrate their spiritual guide, or peripherally because in the Christian dominant West we participate some way or other — if its our tradition or not. It spills into our ears out of supermarket speakers and the neighborhood is populated with giant blowup figures wearing Santa outfits, and that’s not because of the solstice, pal, that’s Christmas.

I realize this is veering into sounding like an anti-Christmas screed, which it isn’t. I love Christmas trees and the glittery lights of the holidays and I hope your celebration of the tilting of the globe was grand. Also, my birthday comes right at the tail end of all that, plus, the New Year, and people are tired and just trying to figure out where to start with all that unanswered email. Me too.

Image: Werner Wittershelm via Flickr (Creative Commons)

If you wanted to do something for me — and it’s not just for me, it’s for those coal miners who didn’t understand and anyone with a pre-existing condition and the self-employed and the list is very long. You can help a lot of people by doing this.


Call your elected officials and insist they fight like hell to save the Affordable Care Act. Call Paul Ryan, too, and sit through that stupid message about the ACA and press the right number when the survey asks you if you support the ACA and then, leave a voice mail message, too. Start by saying, “I support the ACA…” because at least they have to listen to that part before deleting your message and pretending they didn’t hear it. Oh, hey, here’s Paul Ryan’s number: (202) 225-0600, go on, it will take you five minutes. All I want for my birthday is to hear that you’ve picked up the phone and called your reps.

I have babka cooling on the counter and a smallish dog that could use a walk and belly scritches. I’m political and asking for help. Thank you.

This is me at 53.  Ask me anything.

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7 thoughts on “This is Me at 53

  1. Called Paul Ryan. Twice.

    Muzak selections while holding had me singing “The Ants Go Marching In” and “God Save Our Gracious Queen” silently to myself.

    Not out loud. That would have frightened the dog.

  2. I called my Congress critters. Luckily, they’re Ds, and good ones, but I called them anyway.

    I also called Paul Ryan, that weasel.

    Because I love you. Because it’s your birthday. And because the ACA is how I have affordable health insurance for my family.

  3. I just called Sen Murray and Rep Jayapal. It was super awkward and I hate the phone but I love you and affordable health care more.

    Whoever answered the phone at Jayapal’s office wanted my info – Sen Murray’s office did not.

  4. I was able to reach Senators Cantwell and Murray and Representative Jayapal, but I could not get through to Jabba the Paul. I tried his Speaker’s Office number (the one you have listed above) and his individual office number (202-225-3031) and got the busy signal on both numbers, multiple times. I don’t know if that means he’s getting tons of calls or if they’ve taken his phones off of their respective hooks. Will try again later today.

  5. At 60-plus, mirrors remain part of my morning, mostly scanning for zits. (I thought that ended long ago! Oh, well.) I’ve never had the courage to keep an annual photograph. Mirrors are scary enough. Happy belated birthday. Keep writing, and don’t squelch your thoughts about Orange Julius Caesar. Also, I’m doing my part to encourage legislators to visit our local docs and hospital. They’ve got good thoughts and aren’t being listened to.

    • This is a GREAT idea, Doug. So obvious, and also, so underutilized. Emergency rooms, free/low cost clinics, those kinds of places would be great places for our lawmakers to visit.

      Hard on the people there — they’re already stressed, right? But their stories matter so much.

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