Funf! Funf! Dry-Sig!

I know, of course, the years and dates that my parents and siblings were born.

So if you were to ask me, for example, how old my dad was when I was born, or how old Jonathan was when I started college, I could very easily do the math and tell you.

But there are somethings I just know.

Like how old my mom was during my freshman year in high school.

You see, all throughout high school, I took German as my foreign language, much, initially, to the amusement of my father, who believed that speaking German properly was less about vocabulary than about volume and saliva.

I can still hear his delivery of one of the lines from the first dialogue we studied in the class — “Ick VOE-nuh da DROO-bin. UND DOO!?” For clarity, the capitalized parts were loud. The regular parts were loud. The capitalized parts were louder, and, ideally, involved spitting.

And so another phrase that got immortalized by my father’s delivery, and the rest of the family’s gleeful adoption came out something like “Funf! Funf! Dry-sig!”

More accurately, it was fünfunddreißig, my mother’s age at the time of the class. Thirty-five.

Today, I am fünfunddreißig.

I’ve been dreading this one.

People get upset about 30. Thirty didn’t bother me at all. Ages don’t bother me at all. Except for fünfunddreißig.

Because I can remember so well where my mother was in life at this age, it’s been a milestone looming on the distance for a while. My mother had a son in high school. My youngest brother, Matthew, was three months old when my mom turned 35.

The former? What have I accomplished? My mom had a son in high school at my age. OK, one, that makes me feel old. I don’t feel old enough to have a child in high school. But, two, yeah, it makes me feel relatively immature, like I’ve done less with my 35 years.

The latter? A little bit of hope dies today. All my life, however unlikely it’s been that I would have children, it was still possible. How long do I believe that? Well, my mom was almost 35 when Matthew was born, so until I’m 35, I can hold on to that. To be fair, I know that’s silly. People have children older than that. Granted, that’s a more personal milestone, but it overlooks the fact that my dad had been 36 for months when Matthew was born.

So why did I set the marker at 35 instead of 36? ‘Cause it’s fünfunddreißig, and I remember that. There’s one to tell the therapist. “Why do you feel like you’re too old now?” “Because my dad believed speaking German should involve spitting.”

But here I am. Fünfunddreißig. Thirty-five. The days of our years are three score and ten, and I’ve used half of mine.

Which just means that I’ve got half left, right? To be sure, maybe more, maybe less. But there’s a chance that the amount of life I’ve lived, I still have left to live.

Time to get started.

3 Responses

  1. Happy belated birthday! Thirty-five? Really? Man, I keep forgetting how much younger you are than all of us who are over the hill.

    Seriously, though, I’ve had more fun since, a) my divorce and b) I turned 40 than I did in the 10 years before. Mainly because I started doing those things I’d always wanted to do but never would, which you’ve already started doing. And, honestly, I probably get more enjoyment out of those thing than I would have if I’d done them 10 years ago. Some of that is circumstance. Some is just life lived between then and now.

  2. Thanks for your honesty, David. I’ve recently known several people who were about my age (32) who died: cancer, murder, unknown causes. It really has made me think about how I spend my time, because those hours…days….weeks add up to how I spend my life. And I don’t want to waste what I have left! (I wasted enough for the first twenty-odd years, sadly.)

    Happy belated birthday, BTW. I enjoyed your post. 🙂

  3. Thanks! Yeah, that’s been something that I’ve been working on — I’ve lived most of my life putting a lot of things off until “someday,” and I’m reaching the point where it’s about time for some of those somedays to start arriving.

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