Reggie Jackson's number on the Yankees.
Five years into the "forever 39" phase of my life.
The age my mom was when I got engaged and the age I am now.
In two years, I'll be the same age my father was when a massive heart attack cut short his life and the same age my grandmother was when I was born.
I'm thinking about those people who are gone.
I'm thinking about what birthdays even mean.
This is not a significant number, but on the other hand, birthdays seem to gain significance as I get older.
I'm thinking about Meg Ryan in "When Harry Met Sally", crying about turning forty and Billy Crystal is incredulous because she won't be forty for eight years. I am the Meg Ryan in this scenario.
I am thinking about ice cream trucks; the miracle I thought they were when I was seven and the smelly, speeding, overpriced nuisance I think they are now.
I am thinking about how long the summer seemed when I was a kid, even as a teenager who slept away beautiful, fragrant days and how short it seems, now.
I am missing the days of homemade cards written in just-learned letters by chubby boy hands.
I am hearing that line from a Billy Joel song; a line he probably wrote on a birthday of his own: "The good old days weren't always good; tomorrow ain't as bad as it seems".
It's comforting, in a way.
It's not so bad.