I live in a city obsessed with history: Washington, DC is, in many ways, entirely focused on preserving it, interpreting it, making it, and sometimes even rewriting it. It's strange, though: The history we focus on here only goes back, at maximum, 400 years. When I was living in London, I was constantly overwhelmed by just how old everything there was. And that was nothing too -- when I was in Jerusalem, everything was even older. All that history makes me feel somewhat comforted as I'm heading into another birthday.
The years that end in zeroes and fives are the most stressful. And this time, I'm about to be in another age bracket -- the victim of an unwarranted demographic shift. All of a sudden, I am less valuable to advertisers. But I feel so young -- except when I look at the gray hairs, or when I hear my back and my knees crack and creak when I get up in the morning, or when I realize that some of the people I knew in high school now have teenage children. How did this happen? And, more importantly, how did it all pass me by? When did I become middle-aged? It seems like I was just having my mid-twenties crisis, but no, I'm far removed from all that and instead, getting closer to a sports car and an inappropriately young lover. (Does that even apply to women?)
I passed by Ford's Theater today -- the place where President Lincoln was shot. All of a sudden, I was brought back to my eighth grade trip, to standing on that very corner, with a cast on my arm and a pink denim jacket. Who was that thirteen year old girl? Where has she gone? What transformation could possibly have turned her into me? How did I possibly get here?