Birthdays are great. Every year I look forward to mine, and today is that day. I've never talked about it here on my blog, though there's no particular reason for that. I guess now is as good a time as any.
Nigel outdid himself to give me a great birthday. We had some people around for a BBQ last night, then today he and I went out to dinner at our favourite Thai restaurant. He gave me all kinds of cool stuff for my podcasting, too. In truth, even after all these years he still amazes me.
Birthdays are more than meals and presents, fun as they are. Many years ago, when I reached the point that Christmas stopped having my meaning for me personally, I looked toward New Year as the height of the holidays. I always thought they were filled with so much hope and optimism—a beginning filled with opportunities. To me, everything felt new again at the New Year.
So I was lucky to have a birthday only three weeks later. Birthdays are kind of like a personal New Year, and being so close to the main one, I had three weeks of that optimistic feeling. I still do, and it takes most of the year to grind me down to the numbness of day-to-day life.
However, getting older can kind of dampen down that enthusiasm a bit. One becomes aware, as the birthdays pile up, that they are finite and that there are consequences to getting older. But I've always said that getting older beats the alternative, because there's only one way to stop having birthdays.
My Dad reached a point, as apparently a lot of people do after a certain age, when he stopped celebrating birthdays. “I just observe them,” he said. Every year my mother would make him a cherry pie and whatever he wanted for dinner. The dinner choice was something we all got on our birthdays, but I don't remember my mother having any special choice. Maybe I've just forgotten.
Anyway, I'm different from my Dad, though the years have revealed unexpected ways in which we're alike. While he observed birthdays, I still celebrate them and I still have the optimism I always felt, now tinged with a certain relief at having completed another year.
But the main thing is, this was a good birthday. Again.