The word for “life” in Hebrew is “chai” (pronounced more like “hi” than like the kind of tea). The two Hebrew letters that make up the word “chai” have the numerical values of 8 and 10, so “chai” equals 18.
As a result, on special occasions like weddings and bar/bat bitzvahs, many Jews like to give gifts in denominations of 18.
In keeping with that idea, today, on my 36th birthday, I’m celebrating double chai — or in English, my double life.
No, I’m not outing myself here as a secret agent or a superhero, or revealing some deep, dark secret about myself. I’m just saying that lately, I’ve felt like I’ve been living a bit of a double life.
Some days I’m happy as a clam, stress-free, and optimistic. A joker. A guy who likes to have a good time and make other people smile. That’s the Martin that most people see, and that I’d prefer people know me as.
But in true Gemini style, I’ve also got another side of my personality that’s, well, not those things. And too often this year I’ve felt bored, frustrated, lonely, annoyed, and just plain old down.
It’s weird. 2009 was such a great year for me, and as predicted, 2010 has not been so great.
I can’t quite put my finger on why (or maybe I don’t want to), but I’m feeling stuck in a kind of confused, “in between” state right now.
Is this where I thought I’d be when I turned 36? Not at all.
When did things take a detour? Could I have done something differently? What happened?
So no joke, quite often in the past couple weeks, when I’ve thought about what I want for my birthday, I’ve found myself saying, “I want to go back and live the last 15 years of my life all over again” — sort of another take on the “double life” concept.
So today, to be totally honest, I’ve got mixed emotions about my big day. (What a difference a year makes, eh?).
And instead of the time machine, I’d like lots and lots of cupcakes, maybe some ice cream, and some good friends to celebrate with me.
Lest you forget, it’s the Day of All Days, and that’s reason enough for me to be happy.
So bring on the celebration. Here’s to a great day and a bigger, better year ahead!
Happy 36 to me.