Thoughts on Turning 45

- February 9, 2012

"I thought it might be fun to delve into the mysteries of the number 45 and explore its many meanings..."

Did you know the atomic number of rhodium is 45? Or that 45 is the sum of all the digits (0+1+2+3+4+5+6+7+8+9=45).

On February 7, I turned 45 years old. Although this wasn’t really that frightening a prospect, it is a little weird to think that I’m now closer to 50 than 40. To distract myself, I thought it might be fun to delve into the mysteries of the number 45 and explore its many meanings, uses in pop culture and significances throughout history.

The first place I looked, like any Santa Fean worth her crystals, was Numerology. Apparently, 45 is my compound number and as a result I am brilliant, powerful, creative and commanding and should carry out my own ideas and plans. The numbers 44, 45 and 46 have been called the trinity of the human life, and 45 specifically symbolizes the cosmic solidarity which is expressed in the life of all beings. Hey, so far this is kinda fun!

St. Francis of Assisi died at 45. Boooo, good thing I’m nowhere close to a saint.

Herman Cain is obsessed with the number 45 and thinks it has magical properties. Ummm… I’ll just skip this one.

The year 45 BC was the first year of the Julian calendar and followed the "year of confusion,"which was 445 days long, among other strange calendrical (is that even a word?) anomalies. Really for me, every year since 1978 has been “the year ofconfusion.”

In the year 45 AD, King Kushtashpi III of Hatti died in a battle against the Sarmatians. At first I thought “Sarmatians” was “Samaritans” misspelled, but in fact, the Sarmatians were ancient Iranians living in what is now Russia and the Ukraine between the 5th century BC and 4th century AD. Their modern day descendants are the Ossetians who are still struggling for some kind of independence from Georgia.

In the 45th essay of the Federalist Papers, entitled "The Alleged Danger From the Powers of the Union to the State Governments Considered," James Madison argued that the strength of the federal government under the proposed United States Constitution would not pose a danger to the individual states. Some things never change; this debate still rages on between the Dems and Republicans to this day.

The “45” or 45 RPM 7” phonograph record had its heyday in the 1960s. Some of my early favorites: “Brandy” by Looking Glass (1972), “Rubberband Man” by the Spinners (1976), “Dancing Machine” by the Jackson 5 (1973), “Hot Child in the City” by Nick Gilder (1978), and “Ma Sharona” by the Knack (1979).

Some persons of note who are 45 right now:

Dave Matthews

Benicio del Toro

Gillian Welch

John Popper

Lisa Bonet

Judd Apatow

Jamie Foxx

Halle Berry

Vin Diesel

Will Farrell

Luis CK

Paul Giamatti

Laura Dern

Steve Zahn

Dave Navarro

Adam Savage

(there are, of course, many more, but these were the coolest)

I tried to find some legendary sports heroes who wore the number 45, but kind of struck out (pun totally intended). Michael Jordan wore it when he played baseball for the Double-A minor league affiliate of the Chicago White Sox, the Birmingham Barons, in 1994, and again for one year when he announced his return to basketball with the Bulls in 1995 (since his number 23 had been retired).

In the end, turning 45 is just fine. I live in one of the most beautiful places on the Earth, have a dream job, and am surrounded by a slew of interesting, warm, brilliant, and funny friends and family. Besides, F. Scott Fitzgerald, Billie Holiday, and Heavy D all died at 44, so I got that going for me.