Today I am 13, 461 days old.
I like counting my age by days instead of years. It shakes up my expectations of what I should have accomplished by now: I know exactly what I should have done at 36, but at 13,461? It also enhances my feelings of gratitude: I mean, holy cow, I have been given 13,461 days on this earth! How could I possibly be unhappy in the face of such stunning abundance? At the same time, it makes each day more precious: what exactly will I do with you, day 13,461? After all, you will only come once, and 13,462 is already knocking.
Well, what I’ve done with you so far is stay home sick from work, sneezing and coughing and, because this is New York in 2013, still working. And if I remember anything from day 13,461 a thousand days from now, that is all I’m likely to remember.
But so much else has happened: I read a poem by Borges, and an article about the death of Nora Ephron; I welcomed a new actor to the Flux stage (hello, Tarantino); I listened to Leonard Cohen on repeat; I was kissed by my wife in that way that means “you are sick and I wish I could spend all day with you so that you might feel better and if you asked it right now, maybe I will”; I drank coffee made from beans from Honduras Finca Liquidambar, which is so musical a name I think if I said it three times fast and took a sip I might teleport there.
And I had a thought: what if, instead of numbering my days, I named them?
Because my days don’t need me to number them, they do that all too well on their own.
But to name them, to catch a little of that Borges-Ephron-newactor-Leonardonrepeat-kiss!kiss!-Liquidambar in a name, well, that might be something worth doing. Maybe a thousand days from now I’d look back and remember more than I otherwise would. Or maybe the name would be strange to me, like a door with runes I can’t read but are beautiful all the same. And maybe I would more consciously live days worth the naming.
Some days come with names already attached, like The Day Obama Was Elected, and The Day Obama was Elected Again. But most disappear into Monday, Tuesday, Wednesday, Thursday, Friday, Saturday, Sunday. Seven names for 13,461 days doesn’t seem like enough.
So, I’m naming this day: The Day of Naming the Days.
Almost certainly, this act of day-naming will fall victim to the seemingly endless hours of work and play I can’t seem to say anything but yesiwillyesicanyes to; but maybe not. Even if it does, at least I named one of the 13,461 days.
And even if it doesn’t, and I name every day that is to come, there will be no name for the depth of my gratitude for each and every day I am alive with you.