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18 June 2006

Turning 41

Aging publicly. Image source: Isra Ramirez

How not to hide from birthdays.
Image source: Isra Ramirez's e-mail to the world of humanity

THE FIRST messages on my mobile phone last Friday came from my ten siblings around the world. This is how the family remains connected, wherever we are. We commemorate the events of our lives with timely messages across the seas in phone calls, text messages, or e-mails to one another.

June 16 counts amongst those several “most special” days for us. Forty one years ago, as our eldest sister Kathleen was celebrating her eighth birthday, Mama gave birth to me. I never asked Kathleen how it felt for an eight-year-old—and the eldest child at that—to receive a new-born brother on her birthday. The dual celebration must have been thrilling for the family that day. It has always been since then for Kathleen and me, together and apart. To begin with, with a family as connected as ours, how can we miss it?

For the first time last Friday, I marked my birthday without the physical familiarity of family and old friends. There was none of the frills and musical surprises that Filipinos are so adept at. My passage into the middle ages came without fanfare, and it was good.

My passage into the middle ages came without fanfare, and it was goodHmm, these middle ages. I am now officially part of it. The toughest part is behaving like one. I stopped counting my age after hitting 35 (and I stuck to thinking I was 35), so I am not sure how a 41-year-old must act. Perhaps I can take my cue from some unusual things that have been happening lately:

  • While attempting to climb the staircase to the ninth floor under two minutes, the landing on the third floor always becomes breathtaking, so I stop to admire the beauty of the landing. In the process, I take a breath (forty deep breaths, in fact). Then, I decide the landing is so beautiful that I take the elevator . . . to the ninth floor.
  • My bed pillow is filled with happy, fashionable creatures that paint hair strands a silver-gray overnight.
  • The weather changes, from glaring sunny skies to a delightful fog, every time I remove my reading glasses. Who needs this pesky apparatus perched on the nose anyway?
  • I have acquired an esteemed status in society, as men and women (who look like they went to school with my nephews and nieces) call me ”Sir“ in obvious (and sinister) manner. They even bow to me, here in India.

If this is what being 41 is all about, then there is loads of fun to it. Expect me to stop counting age . . . and getting stuck to being 41 for the next ten years!


sweec said...

Happy Birthday Paul and Kathleen!
41?? are u sure paul??? i thought you were at least 42 :P
just kidding! you are still very youthful! Hope you had fun.

Seebz said...

*she sings*
Happy birthday to you, Happy birthday to you, Happy birthday to dear Paul Ancheta, Happy birthday to you..

You seem wiser every year and as gorgeous as ever.


Paul Ancheta said...

The twin Asian dolls of Archives Extension 2nd Floor speaketh!

Thank you for the greeting. Please proceed to the Fifteen Shekel Kebab Place in Hadar, buy yourselves kebab sandwiches and cola, and I will pay for them as token of my gratitude and love.

Anonymous said...


Paul Ancheta said...

Manijeh for president of AVD Alumni Association.

TheBehst said...

Happy birthday Tito Paul,

Be right back! Ok I am back, I just went to bake you a cake. Now it is cooling.

Be right back! Ok, I am back, I had to put frosting on the cake.

Be right back! Ok, I am back, I had to put all those candles on the cake.

Make a wish!Make a wish! Hurry, the candles are melting, they are melting, Paul.

Be right back! Ok, I am back, I had to put out the fire. Does anybody want some cake?

Be right back! Ok, I am back, sorry if the words are smudged. I am typing with chocolate icing on my fingers.

Oh, speaking of AVD Alum, I met one in San Antonio. Of course, I cant remember her name right now.

Woe is me. Whither has gone the younger Pauls? okaybye

Matt said...

Paul Ancheta! As I read your birthday report, I am reminded of your days in the Holy Land when word would get that it was someone’s birthday, and inevitably, you would not miss the chance to serenade that poor individual by singing (quite loudly, I might add) “Happy Birthday” in the dining room. It’s a shame you couldn’t be here on your birthday for all of us to return the favor…

Anonymous said...

doesn't it feel good to have fans all around the world pancheta?

Paul Ancheta said...

I still need your hourglass figure to figure this all out.

Oh goodness. Remember when I stood in the middle of the crowded Dining Hall during Fast dinner and tried to negotiate everyone to sing for David McKinney? Half of the room started singing until the third line . . . when Krissia happily announced in her baritone voice that it was *not* David's birthday.

Of course, I shrunk. It was all your fault.

It was also your fault. But then again, you're married to a Filipino, so you are forgiven.

You started all this.

Paul Ancheta said...

Mike! Have you met up with the Broomhalls yet? Are they actually passing by Oz?

Journalism is not coming along, regrettably. It must happen within the next six months, before you crucify me. Well, there is really nothing much I can journalize about here in Mumbai, so I must create the news. Didn't you teach us how to do that?

Anonymous said...

at first i thought - wow 12 comments, but then i realised that half of them were for you.
i will never email you again though - only leave comments on your blog.

Anonymous said...

Happy belated birthday Mr. ANcheta! Hope everything is good khob for you my friend.

Anonymous said...

you are a sweet one

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