On Turning 37

It was my birthday on the weekend, a birthday I spent the previous week trying to forget existed.  I did not want to turn 37.  In fact, I still feel uncomfortable now admitting that I’m 37.  I have no idea what it is about 37 that I dislike so much. When you look at it logically, 37 is really not that much different to 36, but in my mind it is a much disliked number.

So, with my hatred of 37 firmly established, I planned to spend my birthday ignoring it and hiding out at home, preferably eating a metric ton of really unhealthy food.  If emotional eating was an Olympic sport I would be a gold medallist. However, when I woke up on the morning of my birthday, I decided that moping around the house just simply would not do and instead I would tackle my ‘one day’ list.  Everyone has a ‘one day’ list, it’s a list of all those things that you will do one day but never seem to get around doing. Mine is quite extensive.

Therefore, the things I crossed off my ‘one day’ list were:

1. Buy a bike.

Realistically speaking this had moved from my ‘one day’ list to ‘perhaps this month or maybe the next’ list and I had gone ever as far as doing some research, but it was something that I had no real deadline for doing. So, I went and did it.

Bikes, like swords, must have names, so this is Arya – named after one of my favourite Game of Thrones characters.

Isn't she gorgeous?

I’ve ridden her every single day since I got her and have quickly discovered that I’m unfit and I can’t steer. However, I am committed to riding her to work every day (a 10km round trip) to improve my fitness and bike riding skills.

2. Get a hair cut

This is something that I really needed to do, but was scared to as my German language skills are sketchy at best.  I was fortunate to find a place that could fit me in and with quite a few hand gestures, I was able to get what I wanted done across to the hairdresser.  My hair is a little shorter than I wanted, but that’s the fault of my hair rather than the hairdresser.  I forgot that my hair bounces up when it doesn’t have so much weight on it. Oh well, it will grow and the shorter style is quite good for bike riding.

3. See if I could change my phone plan

When I first moved to Germany, I owned my own Android phone so I got a sim-card only phone plan.  However, my poor little Android just wasn’t coping (it was quite an old model) and I really wanted to upgrade to an iPhone plan but wasn’t sure if I was able to.  To my surprise I was able to go to the Vodafone store, explain what plan I had, ask if I could upgrade to an iPhone, sort out all the details, sign the contract and get a new phone – all in German! I have no idea how I did it, but I have a wonderful shiny new phone as a result.  As is always the way, I had a complete language fail 5 mins later, when I went to the Apple store to buy a case for it.

None of these things are really momentous, but it is surprising how much they have already changed my life for the better. I’m committed to riding my bike to and from work in order to get fit and lose weight, I have a hairstyle I like rather than one I hate and I have a brand new phone that does everything I want it to. In short, I’m happy and I feel positive.  Now, if I could just come to accept being 37….

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17 thoughts on “On Turning 37

  1. Kudos for you for hitting your “one day” list. And for getting yourself up and out on your birthday. I can completely relate. I turned 39 (!!!) in January and that, coupled with all of the other crap that seems to have hit as of late has kept me down and depressed for about the past month or so. Uggghhhh…

    Anyway, love the bike, and don’t sell yourself short. Any expat learning a language as difficult as German knows that those were actually very momentous acheivements. :)

    • I can totally recommend getting a bike and riding around the city to get yourself out of your ‘birthday and other crap’ funk. The Germans may be onto something with this obsession with fresh air.

  2. Happy Belated, my love!

    Sounds like you made your day into everything you wanted it to be. I am massively envious of your bike and think her name is perfect.

  3. What a totally brilliant idea, to spend a day you were dreading totally kicking the ass of all the things you’d been putting off. I’m hugely impressed, and I hope it’s also, as a very satisfying bonus, given you a bit more faith in your German-speaking abilities. Kudos!!

    And p.s… Happy birthday :)

  4. Good for you! You faced your challenges head on and won! You may end up enjoying 37 after all these (and many more!) successes.

    Happy birthday. Hope your new life year brings you all things wonderful!

  5. I hope you make friends with 37! I’m 39 this summer, which I really can’t believe. (Someday I’ll be tempted to lie about my age and I won’t be able to ’cause I’ve admitted to it all over the internet.)

    Also: I am so impressed by all of these milestones. Sounds like a wonderful way to spend a birthday.

    • I wish that I had thought to lie about my age on the internet.
      It was indeed a wonderful way to spend my birthday and felt extremely productive as well.

  6. Wow, what a fantastic birthday! I am the queen of procrastination, so I know how amazing it must have felt to tackle all those challenging projects — way to go! Just shows we are usually more capable than we give ourselves credit for. :)

    • Me too. I just love procrastination, but I decided that at some point you have to stop procrastinating and just do. My birthday seemed to be a good day to do it.

  7. Congratulations! :) I turned 40 this January and was certain it was going to be horrible, but so far, being this side of the big decade has all been good! :)

    I’ve been meaning to buy a bike, too… I had one when I lived in France but it got mangled on the move here and instead of just going out and buying a new one, I planned and planned about getting the old one fixed, which is pointless considering I bought it second-hand for €50 and just replacing the wheels will probably cost me more than that! So, I shall take your day as a good example and find one for myself, too!

    • You should definitely buy a bike. Hamburg is a really lovely city to cycle around and so far I have not felt unsafe. I just love that most of the bike paths are on the footpath.

  8. I’m another one who just turned 39 a few months ago, so I can relate. I think the problem with 37 is that it’s the beginning of the shift from “mid-thirties” to “late-thirties.” Now that I’m 39, I’m officially classed as “pushing forty,” which regrettably has no extra combat attributes.

    I’ve been meaning to buy a bike as well- Regensburg is incredibly bike-friendly, but I’ve just been waiting for the weather to get a touch warmer. Did you go to a bike store for Arya, or buy used?

    • I think you are right, I think my objection is to my rapidly fading youth rather than the number 37.

      I got Arya from a used bike store. It’s the best of both worlds in my opinion as these bikes have been inspected and fixed before being sold so you know it isn’t going to develop a whole host of problems a month after you buy it.

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