Tomorrow is my birthday and I turn 36. Walking Tolstoy along Baltimore’s Inner Harbor tonight, I had a long moment of beauty–the water rippling under summer zephyrs, this moment in my life, insistent Tolstoy on a leash. I thought, I should write.

Since the last time I’ve been here, I’ve started graduate school, gotten engaged and obviously bought a dog. I haven’t really read or written in almost two years, my life’s meaning–always mercurial, impermanent– now eclipsed by the relentless purpose of a PhD.

Walking back up into my building I thought, what is the difference between purpose and meaning? My life now and before? Loneliness before, peace now.

I also think I’ve become a different person, under the cover of age, geography and a man. For some people in my life, this is difficult to accept. I think more so the advanced degree in clinical psychology has some scared that I read minds, am (even more) pretentious and know things that they don’t know. This is mostly accurate.

Almost every year since I’ve had any money, I’ve bought myself a metal object for my birthday. For a long time, it was gold. When I turned 30, I bought myself a knife, with a handle made of mother of pearl.

This year, I get married to N. Yes, the N. from the last post who is allergic to wool but wore a wool jacket on our first date. I have been thinking a lot about our future, marriage and our children. I have also been thinking about why failed romances are such good fodder for art. Is it because they are fin and thus immortalized?

My mind wanders to the hedonic years in New York, spent mostly with Frenchman, but also the Doctor and E. There was also that super, spectacularly beautiful cipher, Otherthan. How much fun that was and how did I have the energy to drink so much and to fuck like hell?

The Frenchman got married to the girlfriend I met in London. The Doctor now has three children and is most likely the same. I expect a swan song from him any day now. E. still texts me from time to time and always seems surprised by news that I’ve already told him. I think he is sad that he is ending and I am just beginning. I think he is afraid that in the course of my life, his part will be proportionally small and my part in his life will be the last chapter.

For my birthday tomorrow, I am in class for 12 hours. I’ll go home around 9pm and sit with Tolstoy on the sofa, who will be batshit crazy despite his dogwalker walks. No one will sing me a song or toast to my age. I am thinking how unusual it will be this birthday tomorrow versus the birthdays before and the birthdays after, like I am right in the middle.