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And another birthday bites the dust

September 23, 2012
Weirton Daily Times

Another year has come to pass for me. But anymore, to me, birthdays have become just another day of the year. I have passed all the fun ones that mean anything, until I reach 40, but let's not talk about that.

A first birthday no one remembers except from what they see in pictures. Smashing cake in your face, up your nose and in your parents' faces, if they'll get close enough. Fun stuff.

Then what? Thirteen, when we cross that line from kid to teenager. The only thing that birthday meant to me was more awkardness. Boys make fun because they don't know how to say "I like you." Girls are just beginning to be mean to one another, and that lasts well into high school. Great birthday. One I'd like to forget.

Then comes "sweet 16" and a driver's license. Freedom to drive wherever you like. Wrong. Chances are, at least in my day, you didn't have your own wheels. So you still had to depend on mom or dad to lend you the car. But nevertheless, when you did finally get those keys, the road was yours. Until curfew.

Sixteen is shortly followed by 18. Again freedom from parents. Wrong. If you can't afford to move out on your own, there is no freedom. On the up side, you can vote. And you can get away from parental control somewhat, if you go away to college.

Twenty was a big birthday for me. I was no longer a teenager. That was sad to me, not that I would go back. I hated being a teenager. Girls were mean. Boys were boys. And life was hard. Looking back, I don't really see why I was all that upset about it. I should have been glad to see the teenage years end.

Then comes the big "21." Drinking age. I can honestly say I never had a drink of anything until I turned the legal age, unless you count "church wine," which is really just juice any- way. It really didn't matter much to me to turn 21. I never had any desire to drink and still don't really. I don't see the point.

Twenty-five means a break on car insurance. Yahoo! Finally something that could save me money instead of costing more.

From there, you're on the downhill slide to 30. Another horrific birthday for me. I liked my 20s and hated to see them go. I graduated from college at 23. I got married at 27. I bought a house at 28. It was a good decade.

But with the 30s came my son at 31 and another baby to come now that I am ... gulp ... 35. So I guess this decade hasn't been all that bad, so far. I am officially, however, now on the downhill slide to the dreaded big 4-0.

I'll try not to think about that.

(Letusick, a resident of Rayland, is a copy editor for the Herald-Star and The Weirton Daily Times.)

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