I put on my fat pants this morning. They were tight. Happy birthday to me.

If you ask me how I feel about my birthday, I would say it’s no big deal. A part of me must feel like it’s a big deal, though. I was at a morning networking meeting where no one knew it was my birthday — because, I mean, how would they know it was my birthday? — and I felt oddly disappointed. I ran some errands afterwards and more people kept on not knowing. Of course, friends and family knew, and they made sure to Facebook me, send me texts and sing “Happy Birthday” over the phone. I suppose I have the luxury of thinking it’s no big deal because in my heart of hearts I know the important people will remember.

I can’t tell you how I felt about my birthday last year, or the year before that, but I can tell you that I feel a sense of melancholy this year. I am 39 today, and this is the year I have dubbed my 40 Eve. Getting older doesn’t make me sad. I would not trade the years already lived to go back to any point in time, no matter how fondly I remember it or how much I wish I could change it. What makes me sad is the aloneness. I was never one to approach my life with a premeditated time line but I guess I thought I would be married with kids by now. Maybe I would feel this aloneness even if I had companionship or a family of my own; the walk of life is ultimately a solitary endeavor, after all. But it would be nice if someone else pulled me out of bed in the morning sometimes, decided my birthday should be a big deal and told me I looked nice even if I did have to squeeze myself into my fat pants.

Today, I forced myself out of bed, sat through meetings and appointments incognito as not-birthday girl and drove myself to H&M to find something decent to wear instead of indulging in the solace of draw-string sweatpants. I also treated myself to Fun 39 Hair, even though I wanted to pull a brown paper bag over my Cheeto-eating, beer-swigging face.

In the full spectrum of Fun Hair, what I got today is nothing crazy. It did upset my mother, though, and I think that is a prerequisite for bona fide fun hair. And I wasn’t alone — my sister and one-year-old nephew came by, with my brother-in-law making a last-minute guest appearance. Plus, I was in the trusty hands of the divine Miss Christina Held at Double-O Salon.

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It’s the little things that keep you going sometimes. Happy birthday to me.