I’ve developed a new value in having certain milestones to experience and look back on. I have never been one to put much stock in made up things such as birthdays, etc. However, in difficult situations, these seemingly silly things help give you a timeline and a feeling of continued history. They’re also a good excuse to guilt all your friends into coming over and drinking your beer, while making them say generally nice things about you, unless you provide too much beer. It truly is nice and worthwhile to keep up with old friends and a good wife. This is something easily overlooked and put off.
By all physical measures, my situation would be rated as much worse now than it was in the previous two birthdays. By mental measures, it is much the same, and perhaps a little better. Things are of course sucky, disappointing and worrisome at times, but I’m generally a little more at peace with the process, at least a good bit of the time. The process is continual. Something that makes downward adjustments a little more difficult is the powerful human tendency to cover for our deficiencies by seeing ourselves the way we want to be, not the way we actually are.