I was just wasting my work day on Pinterest, when I came across a quote from “The Great Gatsby”, my favorite novel. “Life starts all over again when it gets crisp in the fall.” That’s a great writing prompt.
Today is my 41st birthday. In my twenties I used to read “The Great Gatsby” every year in the week leading up to my birthday. Near the climax of the book there’s a moment where Nick Carraway remembers that it’s his birthday. He’d been so caught up in everyone else’s drama that he’d forgotten. He says, “‘I just remembered that today’s my birthday.’ I was thirty. Before me stretched the portentous, menacing road of a new decade.” I loved that bit. So every year I read it, right through the drudgery that was my twenties, waiting to see that stretch of menacing road at thirty. That bit of the road is now well behind me, and I’ll say it wasn’t as menacing as Nick led me to believe. After thirty, I’d out grown Fitzgerald. I was older than the protagonists of most of his stories. I still have my well worn copies of all of his novels and short stories. They sit on my shelf as dusty memories of my own private jazz age.
Now safely in my forties, I find myself passing every new birthday feeling generally blah. This morning I went for a run. It was nearly eighty degrees, humid and still. I thought how much I can’t wait for the Fall. I love my morning runs in the Fall, especially those first mornings when it’s in the fifties and the sidewalks are littered with leaves. That’s when I come alive again.
So seeing that quote from Fitzgerald hit me right in the feels. That’s exactly where my mind was this morning and into today. I’m not feeling blah because it’s my birthday, I’m feeling blah because the summer has once again overstayed it’s welcome. My birthday isn’t the new beginning I’m waiting for. It’s the first sound of the breaking of the chrysalis. And it’s not menace up that road at all. It’s Fall. Just up the road is life’s crisp new start. And when it comes, you can bet your ass I’ll be running right through the middle of it.