The Yearbook Office
Writings on staying alive
 

Date enough people and patterns emerge. Some people call this “having a type” — you're most attracted to blonds, or musicians, or assholes.

My type is October birthdays. I've dated more people born in October than any other month. It's not purposeful, it's pure coincidence. And nothing is more coincidental than the two people I've dated the longest — an old ex and my current partner — share the same birthday.

How did this happen? Why do such coincidences occur in the first place? Does it mean anything? How many more questions will I ask right now? Five? Twenty-four? Question marks?

The two are nothing like each other. Although I may have loved one at one point in my life, my ex proved time and again he was a bad match. Something about us didn't quite fit. Everything was a struggle, like trying to force a cat to swim. Our relationship soured slowly but definitively. After three and a half years together, I called it quits.

Flash forward to my current happy relationship, which is three and a half years old and stronger than ever. This beau is compassionate, witty, and loving. He likes and does all the same stuff I like and do. Furthermore, he puts up with my anxiety-ridden bullshit like a champion.

They're totally different people in so many ways, and yet they share the same birthday. How?

Truthfully, it means absolutely nothing that they have the same birthday, because everything we do is part of a series of random acts that we desperately hope makes some kind of sense. Yet on some other, unconscious level, it feels as though this coincidence is important.

Maybe it's because of astrology. A friend of mine studied the stars for a while, and used me as a guinea pig. As a result, I know way too much about what it means when Mars is in your ninth house. (It means you like competitive learning, like sports. Or something. I don't know, I wasn't paying close attention to what they said.) Because I have some of this knowledge, I'm aware of what astrology considers good “matches” for mates, and having them share the same birthday makes me think somehow they should share similar traits.

Of course, that's not how it works. Many of these traits of people born in a certain month are things pretty much every person on the planet has the capability to possess, like “sensitivity” or “concern about money.” Astrology is [see part where I said everything we do is part of a series of random acts that we desperately hope makes some kind of sense]. Really, this does not matter. And yet it totally does. But, like, it doesn't. But it, like, totally does.

Maybe it's because of fate. I wasn't destined to be with that first person forever, but this person might be who I end up with for a very long time. And perhaps somewhere, in a place where you can hear the wind softly whisper a name the way a flight attendant casually lowers their voice to let you know those headphones are not free, I am supposed to be with someone who was born in early October. It's like Interstellar, only instead of a future where corn is the only food you can eat, it's a future where the only man I can ever love has this birthday. (Or something. I don't know, I wasn't really paying close attention to that movie.)

The thing is, destiny [see part where I try to explain what astrology is]. Life is not cut and dry like smoked meat. It's intertwining paths that often dead end. You start one relationship with a first date, hoping the sparks that led you to the date in the first place will fly. People falsely believe they can have a fairy tale ending based on concepts like “fate” and “soulmate” and “they didn't run away from me”.

The truth is, the majority of relationships fall apart after some time. Partners in all aspects of the waking world collide and crash, burning into a million tiny embers while they watch the smoke of their old hopes and dreams drift off as a smoggy cloud. It's difficult enough to maintain your weight or retirement account, let alone a romantic relationship. People can be the worst — even people you like! What's that about?

So maybe this birthday twins thing is just a weird thing and I have to live with that. It will come up all my life, like the winning lotto numbers in Lost. It has no rhyme or reason, and certainly no bearing over how to actually live my life, just like Lost. Oddly enough, just like Lost, it's one of millions of questions that will never be answered because I can't predict the future and find a meaningful resolution that will truly pay off in the final season. (Or something. I don't know, I had trouble paying attention after season two.)

I do know this: I left the one man because he was callous and cruel one too many times. All the times he was generous did not make up for the fact that ultimately, I don't think he ever believed in my ability to accomplish my dreams. Deep down, I believe he needed the relationship to be about him, which is the antithesis of a true partnership. That lack of support could not sustain — the infrastructure cracked and crumbled into decay.

Instead, I've stayed with someone who believes in me, who is encouraging, patient, and warmhearted. We will spend all of his birthdays in the crisp autumn air lifting each other up, because love at its finest is infinite.

I'll never know why I ended up loving two men born on the same day so fiercely. What I can say is I understand why I left one, and why I'm still with the other. That, my friends, is the real power of the cosmos, fate, destiny, and astrology: the ability to see the past and the future at the same time, and to choose the path that feels the most true in the moment.

Or something. What do you want from me? I told you I am bad at paying attention to stuff!